Asian Culinary – Not only the biggest continental area in the world Asia also blessed with plentiful attractions. In so, what else can distract your trip other than foods ?, especially for cuisines which mostly characterized with high spice. If you are going to get Asia culinary trip, make sure to try cuisines mentioned below.
Strong Flavors from South Asia Foods
South Asia foods are characterized with herbs and spices to create a strong and healthy taste. Mostly, the favorite cuisines come from Indian subcontinent which influenced by some Hindus and Muslims practices. You can find them in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. They usually use staples such as rice, beans, also wheat and barley to make chapati. For meat, they like to eat lambs, goats, and chickens, not beef due to Hindu’s beliefs.
The most favorite cuisine is from India which has their special Indian spices, herbs, and vegetables, even nominated as one of the most diverse cuisines. As you might know, Indian curry has been widely adopted around the world. You should try it in origin country with Naan, a flatbread to mop the curry. However, every region in India has their unique foods and taste, especially for curry. For example, as you go further to the south, the curry gets darker. Here are the recommended list of Asia cuisines
- Biryani which commonly cooked in India and Pakistan. It is a mix of rice with chicken, mutton, and vegetables, then flavored with local spices. Biryani is usually served with pickles and plain yogurt.
- Momos which known as dumpling from Nepal and Tibet steamed with veggies or meat fillings.
The famous kebabs from India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, which made from beef, lambs, chicken or vegetables then grilled on the skewer.
- Kottu can often be found in Sri Lanka’s street food. The cuisine is made from shredded Parata bread stirred with meat, vegetables, and special spices. You can enjoy the food with spicy curry sauce
- Fish AmbulThiyal is another Sri Lanka’s modern food. The cut-cubical fish is sautéed with dried goraka (which give the sour taste), black pepper, turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, and curry leaves. This dried fish curry is best served with hot rice.
- Bhutan has unique national cuisine called EmaDatshi. It is a combination of cheese and chilies eaten with red rice. The best option for dinner during cold days.
- There a wide variety of how South Asia people cooked Daals. You can get a taste of daal with rice and parathas.
- Masala dosa is coming from South India which fermented rice batter prepared like a crepe. The flavor is strengthened by delicious potato-onion stuffing then served with Sambhar curry and coconut chutney.
The Popular East Asian Foods
Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisine have been widely known around the world in a way where you can find their restaurants in any country. Rice and wheat noodle are the specialties of this region. East Asia cuisine usually features strong flavors and fat ingredients like vegetable oils and creamy sauces mostly using soy sauces and vinegar.
China is indicated as the inventors of noodles which you can find different cuisine from noodles such as Chow Mein. It’s a stir-fried noodles dish mixed with meat (beef, pork, shrimp, or chicken), onion, and celery. Pecking duck is also the very popular national dish from China, especially in Beijing. The pecking duck is roasted which made its thin skin more crispy and delicious.
Furthermore, you should order the specialty Chuan cuisine, Ma Po Tofu. The milky tofu is cooked with beef, green onion, and pepper to give spicy taste. There is also another must-try list cuisine including sweet and sour pork, spring rolls, gong bao chicken, wontons, and dumplings.
Move to Japan, and you may easily find tempura or raw fish dish here. Tempura is batter-coated seafood such as shrimps and vegetables fried in sesame oil then served with salt and soy sauce. Fresh fish or other seafood can be made to Sushi. Lightly seasoned rice with vinegar with fresh seafood on it can create the different taste. You can also try their Unagi, a grilled river eel on charcoal served with sweet barbecue sauce. Or if you want to eat Japanese noodles, you should try their original Ramen and Soba. Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki, shabu-shabu, tonkatsu, kaiseki, and yakitori are also highly recommended options.
Korean loves to eat grilled dishes, for example, Bulgogi. You can eat very-thin-sliced beef marinated with the sauce made from pear juice, soy sauce, garlic, and other ingredients. However, when you talk about Korean cuisine, you can’t forget about their national cuisine, Kimchi. This fermented cabbage is coated in spices made from hot pepper flakes, pear juice, chives, garlic, etc. When it lasts longer, kimchi create the rich and slightly sour flavor that perfect to make kimchi stew (kimchi jiggle) or only a side dish for meals. Moreover, you should also try bibimbap, mixed rice with gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste), various kinds of vegetables, beef, and raw or cooked egg. People also love Korean japchae, yangnyeomtongdak, da junk, spicy tteobokki, seolleongtang, soondubujiggae, and Heo tteok.
Arabian Culinary Trip in West Asia
West Asia or mostly known as Middle Eastern countries is typically influenced by Arabian custom and traditions, so as their foods. The most popular dish is hummus which usually served with pita bread. Hummus is made from chickpea mashed with tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Tahini itself is a foundation of almost every recipe in Middle Eastern foods. Even simply spread on bread and crackers is already appetizing, while pita bread is one of their staple foods which served in about every meal. However, there is another best dip than hummus called Moutabal which similar to Baba Ghanoush. It’s an eggplant dip that made from tahini and yogurt.
Not only hummus, but Falafel is also another popular food from West Asia. Inside pita bread sandwich, you can find combination fillings of fried chickpeas balls, onions, spices with healthy veggies. For the healthy option, you can choose Tabouleh, the traditional salad made of cracked wheat, parsley, mint, and many other ingredients. Fattoush is another great salad made from the combination of crispy lettuce, diced tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, onion, lemon, olive oil, mint, and crunchy fried squares of pita. Meanwhile, Foul Mudammes can be a perfect choice for breakfast with pita bread. Most of the people prefer to eat this boiled fava beans flavored with spices mashed.
You should try, first, large banquet dish for Palestinian and Jordanian called Mansaf. Don’t be intimated by its appearance! Although it’s not quite photogenic, a mix of mutton, yogurt sauce with almond and pine nuts sprinkles make a perfect combination. If you want to something more prettily in appearance, you can choose Shawarma. It’s another pita bread wrap sandwich with skewered chicken, salad, and garlic puree fillings. Or having a bite of Arabian pizza? Yes, it’s Manakeesh. Around bread topped with ground meat or zaatar with cheese.
If you are looking for sweet dessert, Baklawa or baklava should be tried. Middle Eastern usually use rose or orange blossom water as a syrup over baklava, a chopped walnut pie covered with thin bread dough. It’s a perfect snack which usually can be found in Turkey. This country also has locum or typical sweet candies made from sugar and cornstarch that you should try at least once. Close your delicious meal with a cup of Turkish coffee which has the bold and vibrant taste with a hint of cardamom in every sip.
Delicious Flavors of Southeast Asia Dishes
Southeast Asia foods are also used strong spices as their standard ingredients such as coriander, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, cardamom, galangal, and much more. Southeast Asian people also made their specialty curry usually made from coconut milk. However, each Southeast Asia country has their owned specialty dishes.
When you have a visit to Thailand, don’t forget to grab a meal for their Pad Thai and Tom Yum. Pad Thai is nice and soft fried noodle mixed with light and crunchy vegetables, eggs, tofu, chilies, fish sauce, tamarind pulp, and palm sugar. Meanwhile, Tom Yum is a red soup dish made from various fragrant spices and herbs filled with chicken, prawn, and fish. Move to Vietnam; it is famous for Pho, fresh flat rice noodles with clear broth concocted from oxtail bones mixed with ginger, anise, and fragrant beef. Vietnamese spring rolls or Gỏicuốn is also popular street food option.
Cambodia has rice, and a freshwater fish dish called Fish Amok made with kroeung, a Cambodian typical aromatic curry paste. Then, a very rare regional distinct delicacy in Cambodia is fried spiders which may not be popular among locals but foreigners. In Myanmar, you should find the restaurants that serve Mohinga and LahpetThoke. Instead, you can try different dishes in Laos like Kaipen, a dried river algae seasoned with sesame seeds and sliced garlic, onion, or tomato. For dessert, you should try Khao Tom, seasoned steamed sticky rice with black beans and fresh coconut cream fillings then wrapped in banana leaves.
Move to the southern part; you should try Laksa in Malaysia. It’s a noodle dish mixed with rice vermicelli, oyster, and chicken with coconut milk curry soup then topped with bean sprout. Then, get bubur Chacha as the dessert, a sweet dish made from sweet potatoes, tapioca pearls, and soft coconut soup as main ingredients. Different with its neighbor country, Singapore has the special dish called chicken rice, simply made from chicken broth, garlic, and ginger to create the rice fragrant.
Indonesia also has various kinds of national cuisine including Rendang, a marinated beef with coconut milk and spices, and Satay, a skewed stacked diced meat grilled on a charcoal then dipped in a peanut sauce. While in the Philippines, you should try Chicken Adobo, a marinated chicken, seafood, and vegetables in a mix of garlic, vinegar, and soy sauce. Then, it is sauteed in oil, simmered in a marinade, and served with rice.
Appetizing Moments in Central Asia Parts
In Central Asia region including Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, you might wonder what kind of culinary trip you can enjoy here. However, don’t worry because you can expect for something delicious here.
First, Kazakhstan has the traditional dish made from mutton called as Beshbarmak. The lamb is eaten along with dough boiled in mutton broth. The serving is topped with cooked meat, onion, and garlic. The dish is accompanied by smoked meats, shut (ring-shaped dough with pumpkin and carrots filling), tea, soup, a pasta stuffed with pumpkin and carrots, also shubat, broth and milk tonic that often serves in a special feast for guests. Although Kyrgyzstan cuisine is almost similar with Kazakh dishes, the recommended food here is Paloo. It is a mix of rice with meat, vegetables, and spices. There is also Laghman, a soupy noodle dish with meat and vegetable topping.
Do you know Qurutob? It is a unique dish from Tajikistan which a qurut, or dried salty cheese balls, dissolved in water then poured on a flatbread. It’s served after topped with fried onions and fried vegetables. You also should try Gandushkuga, soupy murky bean porridge with fresh herbs topping. Move to Turkmenistan, they have the national dish called Ichlekli. In the traditional method, it is a pie dough filled with meat and then buried in hot sand and embers to bake the dough, but oven baked has been widely used in a modern method. Turkmen people also love to eat head and legs soup of sheep which usually boiled for almost 8 hours mix with various root vegetables.
If you want to make a culinary trip in Central Asia, Uzbekistan must be on your top list. Plov dish from Uzbek, a combination of rice, meat, carrot, vegetables, even fruit, has become the signature of main staples in the region. Traditionally, the plov is cooked in Kazan or cauldron like an oven from Dutch. There is also Manti, a dumpling appetizer made from meat, fat, and onion. Uzbek also famous for its Somsa, a dough stuffed with meat which folded and slapped inside cylindrical clay oven. However, each state in this region has their own Somsa, for example, Kazakhstan is typical with its cheese Somsa, while Tajikistan has Nahudsambusa with chickpea fillings.
Have you ever tried one or more Asia food attractions above? So, which one is your best recommendation? If you get to taste better cuisine during your Asia culinary trip, please do share your experience here.