Buying fruits from a fruit vendor in Thailand

Food Cultures From Tropical Countries

They say the best way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. We say it’s also true the other way around: a person’s heart shows in their food. And as we take a tour of nations in the tropics, we see the heart of a whole people reflected in their homeland’s unique food culture.


Starting with our very own, the Philippines boasts 7,107 islands bursting with culture. In each region, you will find unique foods that its people are proud of. One example is the world-renowned golden mango that can be found in the Visayas and Mindanao islands. It's also our national fruit, representing Filipinos and their hearts of gold.

Our souvenir shops are filled with sweet snacks like otap, barquillos, pastillas, and yema. This is because of our practice of “pasalubong.” One cannot simply go on a trip without bringing something home for the family. More than food, the pasalubong we bring home show our loved ones that we’re thinking of them even when we’re apart.

Delicious curry laksa


Singapore is known to be a melting pot of cultures. Despite the country’s small size, they’re voracious eaters — which is why their night markets and hawker centers call the attention of tourists from all over the world.

From noodles and rice to chicken and beef, Singaporean cuisine is as colorful as it gets. When it comes to their food, they do not shy away from pronounced flavors born from a bounty of spices. This reflects their history as a nexus of commerce for different nations. Embracing these influences into their food culture, their diverse tastes give a glimpse of a nation very much in love with eating. 


If there’s one thing that captures Thailand’s culture and food, it’s heat. Their summer season can run higher than 30°C, but that doesn’t stop them from creating recipes that pack a sizzling punch. They take pride in their cuisine, as seen in the strong identity of their food even when presented in foreign countries.

Meals for Thais are a social affair. They take their time to savor what they eat, and see the time spent around the table as an opportunity to be with the people who matter to them. Rarely will you see a Thai person eating alone — they’re always with good company. A good practice for next time you have a bite.

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