The region has a multitude of fine beers, mostly lagers, with many brands founded in the late 1800s-early 1900s by European colonists trying to acclimate to SE Asia’s tropical climate. I don’t know if you’ve ever ventured to this part of the world, but it’s hot hot HOT. The best way to rehydrate after a hot day working (ahem, sightseeing) in the sun is probably the water of a green coconut. However, popping the top off a beer is much more fun.
Pairing together like Jay Z and Beyonce, like fish and chips, like Nutella and a spoon, and like Chris Harrison and a bright red rose….these dishes and their brews go hand in hand. Feel free to replicate these pairings when you experience this incredibly delicious part of the world!
1. Bali, Indonesia
Food: Nasi Goreng is one of Indonesia’s most notable dishes made with stir-fried rice and a combination of meats, vegetables and fillings, ranging from scrambled eggs, diced beef, strips of chicken, shrimp, anchovies, lamb, crab, green peas, and soy sauce.
Paired with: This pilsner, which for all you beer rookies out there means a clear, bottom fermented lager, is the perfect compliment to your Nasi Goreng.
Setting: Enjoy on the coast of Bali near Jimbaran Bay where the beach meets the sea, and all your problems seem to fade away…
2. Singapore, Singapore
Food: The famous Singaporean dish is made from the tasty crustacean of a crab and served in a thick tomato and chili based sauce. You can’t visit Singapore and NOT order the Chili Crab. Yeah, that was a double negative there, sue me.
Paired with: Enjoy Chili Crab next to this national Singapore beer!
Setting: It’s best enjoyed at a Hawker stall – a place where local cuisine reigns supreme. Note – It’s best to come here with an open mind. Things could get weird.
3. Kuda Huraa, Maldives
Food: A goold ol’ Margarita pizza and fish tacos. #cheatday
Paired with: Singha beer, a national staple in Thai restaurants around the world.
Setting: Okay. So maybe this is a Thailand beer, but I enjoyed it beachside while in the Maldives which is an Islamic country, basically meaning they import all their beer.
4. Chiang Rai, Thailand
Food: Pad Thai. What else? Short answer: nothing.
Paired with: I don’t know if I could choose anything else other than this can with elephants staring me in the face. Not only refreshing, but oh so cute!
Setting: Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Burma and the Ruak Rivers while at Four Seasons Tented Camp.
5. Sibounheuang, Laos
Food: Seared tuna bites and tomato soup. Beer and soup? Why not?
Paired with: Beer snobs and backpackers in Laos have found something to agree on – Beer Lao is the cat’s pajamas. The premium rice beer brewed from a blend of European and Laotian ingredients enjoys the popularity among locals and foreigners alike.
Setting: You can throw a rock at Laos from your perch in Chiang Rai. So what are you waiting for? Make a hop, skip and a jump over the river and through the woods for more beer!
6. Beijing, China
Food: You have permission to start salivating. Bao, buns, noodles, duck and dumplings – basically a whole lotta carbs. Mmmm. Good for the soul, not good for the thighs. Moderation is key in China!
Paired with: Having bragging rights of the oldest beer in China, Harbin beer knows flavor with its crisp and refreshingly smooth finish from a longer aging process. The first glass was brewed in 1900 and has undoubtedly some strong staying power.
Setting: Relax with a Beijing brew while overlooking the skyline, if you can see it through the smog, that is. You’ve made it to China! You won’t be able to sign into social media anyway due to government regulations, so might as well kick back and take it all in.