The Best 10 Traditional Asian Dishes
Asia is an immense continent and is home to diverse cuisines. Still, all Asian food has something in common; it’s delicious! Here are 10 Asian foods to try.
Asia is home to the most exciting flavor combinations and ingredients. The food is always vibrant and attractive and, more often than not, healthy.
Here are 10 examples of Asian food to try at least once in your life. These are the signature dishes of the many Asian countries, and worthy ambassadors for the vast category.
What Are Traditional Asian Food?
Asia is a vast continent. Eastern Russia, India, China, Mongolia, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam and many other countries have unique cuisines. Asian food might just be the most varied in the world!
And although Asia is also home to the largest population, there are still many people in the west who are not familiar with Asian food. Well, here’s a list of 10 Asian food specialties to give you an idea of what you’ve been missing. These are the most representative dishes in Asia.
10 Asian Food Items to Try
From fried rice to moon cakes and everything in between, this is our list of Asian food to try at least once.
1. Soy Sauce
Although not precisely food, soy sauce might be the most significant ingredient in many Asian cuisines, and that alone makes the brown, salty sauce the number one item on our list.
People can use soy sauce as a condiment or an ingredient in more sophisticated recipes. Besides, soy sauce goes back several thousand years, and you’ll find it in Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and many other Asian countries.
Sushi is everyone’s favorite Asian food, and it’s because it’s often as pretty as it is delicious. There are many types of sushi, but most of them combine steamed rice and raw fish. Of course, sushi can be much more complicated than that!
Sushi rolls or maki sushi are perhaps the most famous type of sushi. Here, seaweed binds the ingredients for a tasty one-biter. Nigiri sushi is also familiar, a lump of sticky rice topped with fish or any other ingredient. Sushi’s secret, though, despite the style, is the slightest touch of vinegar rice.
Curries are universal in Asia, not only in India, where curries are most famous, but in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Curries can vary widely. So much they can be completely different in color, flavor and composition. All curries have in common the extensive use of herbs and spices, sometimes including leaves from the curry tree. Hot peppers can be common elements as well.
Curries are sauces or stews to be enjoyed in various ways, often with a protein, whether it’s beef, pork, chicken or seafood.
4. Fried Rice
Rice is a staple Asian grain — it’s the equivalent of bread in the west. The small grain is also versatile and can be part of many types of Asian food. The most satisfying way of eating rice is frying it; it can be tossed with vegetables, chicken or pork and seasoned with spices and sauces.
You’ll find versions of fried rice in China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and India. Since rice is inexpensive, everyone in Asia consumes it often — fried rice is utterly delicious, not only cheap!
Ramen is a noodle dish beloved in Japan, now enjoyed worldwide. The secret is in the Chinese-style wheat noodles, which are firm and bouncy. The broth, though, is a critical element in the dish and often the most flavorful aspect.
Other than a rich broth and noodles, ramen might contain scallions, fish cakes, seaweed, sliced pork, bamboo shoots and sprouts. The composition of the broth is what gives the ramen its name, whether it’s based on pork bones or soy sauce — of course, there are many others.
6. Stir-Fried Noodles
In Asian food, noodles are more than an ingredient in soups; they can be tossed with a great variety of ingredients in hot pans or woks for crispy dishes with no equal.
Beef chow fun is a typical Chinese fried rice, and Pad Thai is Thailand’s signature dish. Lo Mein is an Americanized version of Asian food, and so on. Fried noodles tossed with proteins, vegetables and sauces are typical in Japan, China, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand and, basically, every corner of Asia. No two plates of fried noodles are the same.
7. Chinese Hotpot
Hot pots are attractive dishes, especially in China, and although the dish has humble origins, some hot pots are authentic feasts reserved for special occasions. Hot pots are soups or broths, and they can contain an immense number of proteins depending on the style. From fish and prawns to beef tripe and tongue. From meatballs and tofu to quail eggs and chicken.
Then you have the vegetables, mushrooms, leafy greens, and, of course, the spices and condiments. These soups are complex and sophisticated.
8. Miso Soup
The famous Japanese Miso soup is not as complex as the rich Chinese hot pots, but it’s balanced and always pleasing. It all starts with dashi stock, flavored with miso paste, bonito flakes, shiitake mushrooms and seaweed.
This is the typical Japanese breakfast, and the soup can contain tofu, seafood or pork. Miso soups are considered extremely healthy, as they are light and nutritious. Still, this is also a flavorful soup, and it can be as straightforward or as complex as you want. At least 80% of the people in Japan consume miso soup at least once a day.
9. Satay Skewers
Satay skewers are typical Asian food from Indonesia, although they are also consumed in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
These grilled skewers are made with diced or sliced chicken, beef, pork, mutton or goat. — vegetarian versions exist as well. What they all have in common is their simplicity. The meaty treats on a stick gain flavor from various sauces and condiments, which vary from place to place, from peanut sauce to soy sauce. Japan has its own skewer traditions. Here, chicken skewers are called yakitori.
10. Moon Cakes
On a sweet note, one of the most beloved Asian desserts is moon cakes. These beautiful cakes are typical during the Mid-Autumn festival, and they are consumed in many Asian countries, from Japan and Thailand to China, where they probably originated.
There are many types of mooncakes, and they can contain different sweet fillings. Lotus seed paste is perhaps the most popular, along with the sticky sweet bean paste, but there are others. The crust varies as well, and it can be chewy or flaky, depending on the style.
What are your favorite Asian foods? There’s undoubtedly something for every palate and occasion. This is one of the most delicious types of food in the world!
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