Southeast Asian-Inspired Charcuterie Board

My favorite eating utensil: my hands. As a daughter born and raised in Queens, New York from a Thai father and Filipino mother, I had fun introducing friends to my parent’s homemade meals from the motherland, especially whenever we were encouraged to eat with our hands. 

I’m forever grateful for my parents teaching me how to effortlessly scoop and push perfectly-sized bites of rice into my mouth –– without having half of my plate scattered across my lap. My friends were also appreciative of learning my mom and dad’s techniques, as they, too, were equally excited about trying new things. 

My passion for exploring and sharing my culture’s cuisines still remains an important part of my life today. However, as someone who makes food videos for a living, I’m often reminded of some people’s distaste for eating with my hands. 

It first started with online commenters expressing their deep repulsion, along with people I would even share a dinner table with. They had no problem openly discriminating against my cultural practices with statements like, “People need to learn how to eat properly with actual utensils. It’s kind of barbaric”; all while selectively accepting particular “proper” finger foods, like charcuterie. 


What Inspired my Southeast Asian Charcuterie Board

If charcuterie boards, enjoyed mostly with hands, are viewed as fancy entertaining foods, then why is it that Southeast Asian drinking snacks are deemed to be of less quality? 

That close-minded perspective is what motivated me to assemble the “charcuterie” spread of my dreams –– an array of my favorite Southeast Asian snacks.

When I was little, my dad would often prepare small snack plates for the family, filled with savory, salty, crunchy, and refreshing items that would hit all the spots. I couldn’t get enough of the Thai grilled meat skewers and sausages, spicy dips, crunchy veggies, and sticky rice.We would also serve it up with some sort of green papaya dish, like som tom or mom’s Filipino pickled green papaya. It added a zesty punch that brought all the snacks’ flavors together. 

So, why not combine all of my family favorites onto one big platter?

This Southeast Asian charcuterie board brings out the bold, vibrant flavors of Southeast Asia. Everything is beautifully arranged on a banana leaf-lined woven serving basket, inspired by my nostalgia for family snack time. 


Ingredients in a Southeast Asian-Inspired Charcuterie Board

This board has every element of your classic charcuterie board, but with my Southeast Asian twist.

Instead of crackers or crostini, this board features homemade khao tang - crispy rice crackers made from dehydrated and fried sticky rice. 

Then, I loaded the board up with assorted meats like Lao Thai Nam’s fermented pork nam, spicy cured pork sausage, and beef meatballs. The meats are dressed with Thai sweet chili sauce, which brings together this variety of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. 

Add some nam jim jaew for dipping and you’re golden!

For that savory crunch, I went nuts with Lao Thai Nam’s fried pork skin along with fragrant fried peanuts.

Don’t forget your refreshing fixings, like fresh herbs, cucumber, ginger, and raw collard green wraps.


Substitutions and Recommendations

Sometimes, you can’t find all the ingredients. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t equally as good substitutions.

For the khao tang (crispy rice crackers) - If you don’t have glutinous rice, you can also use cooked short-grain or long-grain rice. It’s easy to make, but requires some time (about 1-2 hours) to dehydrate the rice grains enough to fry them well. If you’re short on time, you can substitute with store-bought mini rice crackers.

For the peanuts -  If you can’t find raw shelled peanuts, just use unsalted roasted peanuts – they taste just as great! Kaffir lime leaves are optional but highly recommended as they provide a citrusy, slightly floral flavor.

Most importantly, have fun assembling your Southeast Asian-inspired charcuterie board! Feel free to arrange your ingredients, so that they’re appealing to both your eyes and your taste buds. You can serve this for a date night in, for your next intimate gathering, or just as a special treat to enjoy all by yourself. Grab an ice cold beer, roll up your sleeves, get handsy, and snack happy! 

Southeast Asian-Inspired Charcuterie Board Recipe

Serves 4 
Prep time: 1-2 hours
Cook time: 30 minutes



Khao tang

2 cups

Cooked glutinous rice 

As needed

Vegetable oil for frying


Quick-Pickled Atchara

½ cup

Green papaya, peeled and shredded

½ cup

Carrots, peeled and shredded

½ cup

Red onion, thinly sliced


Garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon

Ginger, grated

Bird’s eye chili, thinly sliced

½ cup 

White vinegar

2 teaspoons 


Salt to taste 

Salt to taste


Fried Peanuts

1 cup

Raw shelled peanuts

Dried Thai chilies


Garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Kaffir lime leaves, sliced

¼ cup 

Vegetable oil for frying

Salt to taste


Nam Jim Jaew sauce

4 tablespoons

Fresh lime juice

1 ½ tablespoons 

Fish sauce

½  teaspoon 



Small shallot, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons 

Cilantro, finely chopped

2 teaspoons 

Ground dried Thai chili

1 teaspoon

Toasted glutinous rice powder


For the rest

Small Lao Thai Nam pork nam, sliced

Lao Thai Nam spicy cured pork sausage

½ cup

Lao Thai Nam fried pork skin

1 bag

Lao Thai Nam pork beef meatballs

2 tablespoons

Thai sweet chili sauce 

Collard green leaves, cut into 3-inch pieces


Fresh bird’s eye chili


Baby cucumber, sliced


Chunk fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

Scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces


Lime, cut into thin wedges


Fresh cilantro


Fresh mint


Frozen banana leaves



Step 1: Make khao tang. Form 1 teaspoons portions of cooked sticky rice into flat rounds using a round mold or your hands. Place on lightly greased parchment paper or silicone-lined baking sheet and dehydrate in the oven at 275°F, until completely dry, about 1-2 hours. Once dried, heat oil in a small pot and fry the rice rounds until golden brown. Drain on some paper towel and set aside. 

Step 2: Make quick-pickled atchara. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside. 

Step 3: Make fried peanuts. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high. Add kaffir lime leaves, peanuts, and dried chili and continuously stir well. Once the kaffir lime leaves are crispy and the peanuts are golden, add the garlic and continue cooking until the garlic is golden brown. Strain everything from the oil and drain on some paper towel. Transfer to a bowl and toss with salt. Set aside. 

Step 4: Make nam jim jaew. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside. 

Step 5: Prepare banana leaves. Thaw the leaves at room temperature, rinse well under cold water, and pat dry. 

Step 6: Lightly grease a grill pan with vegetable oil and heat to medium-high. Grill the spicy cured pork sausages on all sides, until browned and fully cooked. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, thread meatballs onto cocktail skewers and grill on all sides until slightly charred. Brush with Thai sweet chili sauce. Slice cooked sausage.

Step 7: Assemble. Line a platter or board of your choice with the cleaned banana leaves. Transfer quick-pickled atchara, fried peanuts, and nam jim jaew into individual bowls. First lay down the bowls apart from each other, then arrange the Lao Thai Nam sliced pork nam, cooked and sliced pork sausages, grilled meatball skewers, and fried pork skin. Have fun filling in the empty spaces with the rest of the ingredients!  


Recipe by Jen Phanomrat


Jen Phanomrat is the co-founder of Just Eat Life, a lifestyle video production company, where she explores and makes all things delicious, cozy, and empowering. Her vibrant creations are influenced by her culturally diverse hometown, Queens, NY, along with Filipino and Thai roots. 

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Instagram: @jeneatslife @justeatlife
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