Asia's Essential Eats 2015

By ExtremeFoodies on March 25th, 2015

The ExtremeFoodies (formerely known as Chowzter) Asia Awards were held in the hip Wild Rocket restaurant at Hangout Hotel in Singapore. Phil Donne hosted with his signature standup comedy.

Across 13 categories from soup to sweets, dumplings to fine dining, ExtremeFoodies's network of the continent's most celebrated food experts and writers rewarded locally sourced and freshly prepared items that reflect the local culture, history and traditions of their cities and countries of origin. These unique discoveries are highly curated and undergo a rigorous local and international process.

The winners are:

Tastiest Overall Item: Fishball Noodles - Fishball Story, Singapore


At Fishball Story, a stall at the Golden Mile Food Centre in Singapore, passionate young hawker Douglas Ng starts at 4 a.m. each day to hand-make fishballs using his grandmother’s time-honored recipe. What sets him apart is the fact he uses only fish meat and no flour. He skillfully assesses each batch of yellowtail fish for its texture, and beats and blends it accordingly to achieve the perfect bouncy bite. The resulting paste is shaped into balls and dropped into a boiling broth to cook. These savory orbs are served in a bowl of light-bodied, salty broth and a hearty portion of al dente noodles dressed with a killer homemade spicy sauce.

Tastiest Sweet Item: Egg Tart - San Hou Lei, Macau


Tart lovers are lured by the aromatic smells that spill out from San Hou Lei in Old Taipa Village. Served straight from the oven, their butter pastry crust is piping hot and crisp, and the caramelized top encases an unbelievably luscious egg custard – soft, wobbly and just short of runny.

Tastiest Breakfast Item: Breakfast - Harvest Espresso, Perth


Brunch fans crowd into Harvest Espresso at Victoria Park in Perth, listed on Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in Australia for 2015. Among its rotating seasonal menus is this powerhouse dish. A generous amount of octopus, cooked perfectly, is balanced on a bed of creamy hummus sauce, with a hamburger-like patty of smoked chorizo and two spot-on poached eggs bursting forward with tantalizing yolk.

Tastiest Regional Specialty: Pork Skewers - Cuisiniers, Manila


At Cuisiniers at Mercato Centrale, Chef Raymund Fabre and entrepreneur Raphy de la Cruz developed a barbecue marinade that is not overwhelmingly sweet and blends perfectly with the meaty flavors of pork and chicken. Premium cuts of tender pork loin are marinated for several days before being skewered, basted and cooked with skill and precision.

Tastiest Seafood: Fried Double Oyster - Toyo-chan, Tokyo


Toyo-chan is often filled with fishmongers from the Tsukiji Market coming in after a long morning shift. Run by a charming mother-son duo, the tiny shop sources its oysters from the legendary market outside. Two succulent oysters are breaded in panko -- crispy Japanese breadcrumbs -- and deep-fried until golden brown. Partnered with finely julienned cabbage as a fresh salad, fans dress it with the house’s sweet sauce -- think Worcestershire and ketchup -- to accent the oysters and cabbage.

Tastiest Pork: Caramelized Sticky Pork - Chin Chin, Melbourne


Tapped twice for the Australian Hot 50 Restaurant Awards, Chin Chin Restaurant in the iconic dining precinct of Flinders Lane is the masterstroke of Melbourne foodie icon Chris Lucas. The signature dish, the Caramelized Sticky Pork, is a “glammed up” version of the popular hawker treat. A rich, sweet caramelized lacquer coats the soft and juicy pork inside while an accompanying sour herb salad -- a mix of Granny Smith apple strips, betel leaves, coriander and mint drizzled with chilli vinegar dressing, lends the perfect balance of tangy acidity to the spicy kick of the melt-in-your-mouth meat.

Tastiest Bird: Black Chicken Soup - Kuryeo Samgyetang, Seoul


At Kuryeo Samgyetang near City Hall, this local favorite is known for its clear chicken broth and high-grade ginseng. The chicken flesh falls apart as soon as you touch it with your chopsticks, and the broth pairs well with the fresh green onion, kimchi and a shot of ginseng wine.

Tastiest Soup/Noodles: Khao Soi Neua - Khao Soi Khan Yai, Chiang Mai


At Khao Soi Khun Yai, a peaceful, open-air restaurant within the old city walls of Chiang Mai, this irresistible combination of silky egg noodles, meat and buttery curry laced with turmeric and coriander becomes a flavorful masterpiece. A spoon of smoky, spicy, fragrant roasted chili oil sauce and a squeeze of sour lime provides the perfect finish to the rich and creamy coconut milk.

Tastiest Rice: Eight Treasure Pig Trotter Stuffed With Rice - Old Jesse, Shanghai


In Shanghai, the largest city in the People's Republic of China, it is not uncommon to spot celebrities waiting to dine at Old Jesse, widely recognized as the best restaurant in the city for authentic Shanghainese dishes. Among the house specialties, and one you must order in advance, is the Eight Treasure Pig Trotter Stuffed with Rice. Old Jesse’s version showcases tender, deboned, melt-in-your-mouth soy-braised pork stuffed with fluffy rice mixed with sweet dates, dried scallops, earthy mushrooms and so much more.

Tastiest Beef: Beef Fry - Sneha, Mumbai


Sneha, open more than 30 years, is a tiny restaurant in Mumbai constantly packed with diners seeking the spicy Kerala cuisine of South India. The house specialty is the slow-cooked beef dish cooked in a medley of caramelized onions, green chiles, pepper and curry leaves. Hungry carnivores sop up the spicy, onion juice of the succulent, flavor-packed meat with parotta, a soft layered flat bread.

Other Awards

Tastiest Dumpling: Banh Bao - Quan Ca Can, Vietnam, Saigon


Unlike most banh bao vendors in Saigon that only serve pork, Quan Ca Can offers a range of non-traditional fillings, including beef, char siu, chicken, vegetarian, a super-delicious "mixed" version and a flat custard-filled dessert dumpling.

Foodiest City in Asia for 2015 - Singapore


Singapore has a voracious appetite. It is not uncommon for its residents to eat five or six meals a day, all dipping into the cosmopolitan city’s culinary melting pot. The depth and diversity of the food scene ranges from Malay stir fries to Chinese noodles to Indian curries, all slurped down with coffee, hot gingery tea, or the sweet and herbal citrus vibe of calamansi limeade. Singapore, seated at the cultural crossroads of a food-crazy continent, is home to 5 million dead-serious eaters, all planning what to eat for their next meal before they finish the current one.

Tastiest Destination Dining: E&O - Jakarta


From the first floor of Jakarta’s Rajawali Tower, acclaimed Scottish chef Will Meyrick crafts his rendition of Indonesian and Vietnamese cuisine at E & O (Eastern & Oriental). Among the menu’s signature dishes: the juicy, fat and tender pork belly served with nam pla prik sauce, a blend of Thai chillies and fish sauce. Blanketed in a crispy skin glazed with a tamarillo and tamarind sauce, the sweet-savory flavor with a hint of sourness is simply too delicious to miss.