A Quick Guide to Healthy Dishes in Southeast Asian Cuisine

healthy southeast asian dish

For years Southeast Asian cuisine has been a go-to for the health-conscious and those looking for a flavorful vegetarian option.

It has also been a major draw for adventurous foodies looking for holidays which revolve around tasty treats.

So, here are some of the best, healthy dishes from Southeast Asia to get your taste buds revving and kick your wanderlust into high gear. 

Pad Thai

This is the dish most people think of when someone mentions getting Thai. Made up of stir-fried noodles with egg, vegetables, some type of meat, and either fish or soy sauce it only racks up about 600 calories and is a super healthy, and flavor-packed, option. However, if you remove the meat, it becomes an even healthier option.

For a truly authentic experience, skip getting it at a restaurant and get it straight from a street food cart. This is where the locals tend to order theirs. And even if you do get it from a restaurant, it will still be more intense and robust than what you have sampled in Thai restaurants around the world.


This soup from Vietnam is a staple of the diet from this Southeast country. It is both hearty and versatile. Though the base is rice noodles and herbs, it can, and often does, contain some sort of meat and vegetables.

Like Pad Thai, when you order it from a street vendor, it is often far more flavorful and robust to its restaurant counterpart. However, if you want to eat it in a more traditional establishment, consider a place which specializes in Pho, which is all over larger cities like Hanoi. 

Loa Fondu

It is a real shame that Loas food isn’t more popular. It differs from other Southeast Asian cuisines in that it tends to be more on the bitter side rather than the slightly sweeter side. However, it is packed full of veggies and tends to be super healthy.

So, don’t let the fact this dish on our list is called a fondu. You won’t find any cheese or chocolates here. Instead, it is a variety of raw meats, vegetables, and noodles which you cook at your table creating a soup type dish.

Yum Tom

This is one of Thailand’s signature dishes. It is a healthy medley of spicy, salty, sweet, sour, and bitter. The mix of all these tastes is said to assist digestion, improve circulation, and boost your immune system.

It basically just lemongrass, galangal, and Kaffir lime leaf but meat can be added to make it a little heartier if that is what you are looking for. The best part is, it is available pretty much everywhere from street-side vendors to fancy hotels. And at roughly 290 calories a serving you can over-indulge all you want.

Southeast Asia Cuisines

This is just a small sample of some of the amazing offering Southeast Asian cuisines have to offer. A person could spend a lifetime touring the region and still not have enough time to sample every dish.

For more tips on how to stay healthy while touring the world, check out some of our other travel guides. Happy and healthy journeys!