Contrary to popular belief, not all Asian cuisine is intensely spicy. Of course, there are many spicy dishes that originate from Asia but there are also many mild foods that won’t make your mouth burn with heat. Whether you are travelling with kids who are picky eaters or you are sensitive to spice, there will still be plenty of yummy foods you can try in Asia.
On your travels in India you’ll have plenty of choice when it comes to mild food. Try some Tandoori Chicken, which is roasted chicken that is cooked with turmeric, paprika and yogurt. It is often not very spicy – it has a rich savoury flavour with a hit of smoky aroma from the oven it is roasted in.
Chicken Korma or Butter Chicken are probably the most approachable mild Indian dishes. They are smooth and creamy and the chicken is cooked in rich sauce made with butter and mild spices. It has a slightly sweet and nutty flavour. Daal is another great choice, as this simple lentil soup is rarely spicy and has a comforting, mild, complex taste. For pot luck try a Thali, a meal served with a variety of different flavours and there is a good chance that most of the dishes will be either mild or not at all hot.
For more inspiration and information go to our India Holidays page.
While some Thai food can be spicy, it doesn’t have to be. Try Tom Ka which is a fragrant coconut soup that is spice and chili free. The ingredients that give it flavour are lemongrass and galangal as well as kafir lime leaves. Another delicious mild Thai dish is Pad Siew, which is made with thick rice noodles that are fried in soy sauce and vegetables, with or without meat. It is usually cooked with chinese broccoli, kale and greens.
Of course, one of the most well known Thai dishes – Pad Thai – is a great option for anyone who doesn’t like overly spicy food. It is made with thin rice noodles that have been stir-fried with egg, tofu, bean sprouts, fish sauce, dried shrimp, shallots, garlic, sugar and chillies. It is often topped with crushed peanuts and a squeeze of lime juice. You can find it in street food stalls all over Thailand and it’s a very cheap and delicious meal!
Speak to the experts that have lived and worked in Thailand for more information.
Vietnamese food isn’t always spicy, it is often just assumed to be due to the assumption that all Southeast Asian food is hot. Vietnamese food is quite fresh, fragrant and flavourful and is often made with aromatic herbs and crisp vegetables.
Try the Gỏi cuốn which are rice paper wraps that are filled with crunchy vegetables, sauteed shrimp or pork and vermicelli noodles. They are usually served cold with a peanut sauce for dipping.
Of course, you can’t go to Vietnam without enjoying a big comforting steaming bowl of Pho. This noodle soup is much more hearty and rich than spicy, as it is made from a rich animal bone stock with rice noodles, meat, spices and vegetables. It is usually flavoured with fresh coriander, basil and lime with Sriracha and chilli on the side so you can adjust the heat to your taste.
For further inspiration visit our Vietnam Holidays page.
Enjoy trying these mild Asian dishes on your travels, so that you can savour the great flavours of the local cuisine without the crazy heat.
Our consultants have not only travelled extensively to all these destinations but have lived and worked in them too! We are here to answer your questions.