Asian food 101: With an area of 17.210.000 square kilometers, Asia includes 49 countries and is the largest and most densely populated continent in the world. The population here accounts for about 60% of the world’s total population.
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From Siberia in the northernmost part of Russia, to thousands of tropical islands in Indonesia in the south; from the vast Arabian desert of Saudi Arabia in the west to the lush, mountainous islands in Japan in the east – regardless of the natural geographical conditions, climate type, or Economically, politically, and ethnically, Asia presents unparalleled diversity. Do you know Asian food? In particular, the food culture in Asia is changing endlessly.
Against this background, isn’t it too difficult to write an all-encompassing guide to Asia, complete with all the relevant and practical tips, and at the same time be authentic and helpful? when! Of course! very!
Disaster! On the one hand, there are delicate, carved Japanese dishes, and on the other hand, Turkish food with bold ingredients and strong flavors.
How to present the different dishes with different characteristics in a balanced manner? If we start with Chinese cuisine with far different regions, study traditional Cantonese cuisine for a while, and experience Sichuan cuisine for a while, will your nerves be able to bear it?
Having said so much, we just want to say that while the breadth and depth of Asian cuisine is worth studying every little detail, it is impossible. Therefore, according to the culinary tastes and the characteristics of ingredients in various regions of Asia, we have divided several geographical regions in space, and introduced Asian cuisine as a unit.
In this way, we can not only have a comprehensive understanding of the complex and diverse Asian cuisine, but also stop briefly in some representative countries to learn more about the local cuisine.
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Do you know Asian foods?
Then grab your passport (or bring a snack) and join us on a culinary journey through Asia!
Unique Asian Food Map
In this guide, we will present you 6 major regions in Asia, introduce you to the most commonly used and indispensable local cooking ingredients, and then learn more about the cuisine in the selected countries.
A small reminder: When it comes to Asia, many people habitually think of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and sometimes South Asia, including India. You will find in a while that we also mainly selected countries in these three regions, focusing on their food culture, dishes, ingredients and cooking methods.
The most important ingredients in the diet of East Asia (China, Japan, Mongolia, South Korea, North Korea, etc.) are generally: rice, soybeans (the most common soy sauce and various sauces made from soybeans), seafood, chicken, noodles, etc.
Although the basic ingredients are the same, the resulting dishes show a variety of flavors due to different cooking methods. It’s easy to spot when comparing Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisines.
Every region in China, no matter how big or small, has its own food characteristics. Adjacent villages, or even neighbors across a wall, will have their own different cooking habits.
But generally speaking, Chinese cuisine can be roughly divided into four major cuisines (sometimes also divided into eight major cuisines). In this way, it will be clearer for foreign friends who want to know that China is okay. China is an ancient country with a vast territory.
The diverse natural geographical and climatic conditions determine the diversity of this country. The various ethnic groups living together on this land and their respective lively cultures have enriched this ancient eastern country together. Now let’s take a look at the important ingredients and dishes in the four major Chinese cuisines.
Southern – Cantonese (Cantonese): Cantonese is the earliest Chinese cuisine to be known overseas. Cooking dishes with onion, ginger and garlic, hoisin sauce, plum sauce, tempeh, and oil consumption has become the symbol of most foreign Chinese restaurants, which are all derived from the culinary characteristics of Cantonese cuisine.
Common Cantonese dishes abroad include sweet and sour pork with pineapple, dry fried beef, boiled shrimp, chicken with soy sauce, shark fin soup, and of course, various exquisite Cantonese dim sum.
Do you know Asian food? Cantonese-style boiled shrimp
Do you know Asian food? Steamed Red Snapper
East – Huaiyang Cuisine: Huaiyang Cuisine is famous for its elegant style, exquisite knife skills and various soup dumplings. Its dishes are light and sweet, not spicy. The focus is on maintaining the original color of the ingredients, so as to present the beauty of the food.
The name of Huaiyang cuisine comes from the Huaihe River and Yangzhou, which may partly explain why Huaiyang cuisine is often synonymous with high style:
Yangzhou was once an extremely important commercial city in Chinese history, with a long and prosperous history. Zhenjiang balsamic vinegar is used in many Huaiyang dishes. It is a famous rice vinegar in China.
It is dark in color and has a unique and strong smoky flavor. The classic Huaiyang dishes include soup dumplings, Yangzhou fried rice, and boiled dried silk.
Chinese Fried Rice
Sweet and sour pork ribs
Northern – Shandong Cuisine (Shandong Cuisine): Shandong Cuisine is generally regarded as the most influential cuisine in China, known for its rich variety of cooking techniques. Shandong cuisine is good at making seafood and is often paired with vinegar. Locally rich corn, peanuts, millet and green onions are also commonly used ingredients in Shandong cuisine.
In addition, all kinds of cabbage are very popular, sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, fruits, etc. can be used to make. Famous dishes in Shandong cuisine include fried sea cucumber with spring onions, braised prawns, and large intestines.
Western – Sichuan Cuisine: Sichuan Cuisine is known for its spicyness, and it is cooked with a lot of garlic, bean paste, various peppers, peanuts, and peppers. The combination of these ingredients creates the strong and varied taste of Sichuan cuisine. The eight common flavors in Sichuan cuisine are fishy, hot and sour, peppery, strange, spicy, red oil, ginger juice, and homely. It is reflected in classic Sichuan dishes, such as Mapo Tofu, Boiled Fish, Chongqing Hot Pot, and Kung Pao Chicken.
The best way to get to know the various flavors of Sichuan cuisine is to have the courage to experiment. After tasting it, you will know how the various ingredients and flavors complement each other in Sichuan cuisine.
The current emerging “seasonal” food trend in the global catering industry should be brought about by the spread of Japanese cuisine. Using seasonal ingredients is an important, even supreme, principle in Japanese cuisine. From young bamboo shoots to cucumbers, from chestnuts to sweet potatoes, from unknown types of fish to basic grains, the ingredients available each season are different. These seasonal ingredients are called “Xun” and can only be bought during the season for cooking.
The ingredients of Japanese cuisine are not only seasonal, but also often sourced locally, so that the freshness of the ingredients can be guaranteed. Every season means a different taste, a different texture, but the same freshness. Japanese cuisine is an art of making a lot of money. It is simple but not simple, restrained but still unique, concise but not out of style.
A few simple ingredients, seemingly bland cooking skills, can transform into exquisite dishes with endless aftertastes. Soy sauce, miso, juice, sake, and mirin are widely used flavoring agents in Japanese cuisine. Representative dishes include tempura (vegetable and seafood tempura), various types of rice bowls (such as beef bowl, parent-child bowl), sushi, udon noodles, miso soup, and Japanese dishes that are generally used with rice Stains, etc.
In addition to using the best seasonal ingredients, traditional Japanese cuisine often follows five principles to achieve harmony within each dish, each dish of a combination (such as kaiseki), and bento pairings: use a variety of colors Brings visual enjoyment, sophisticated taste to stimulate the palate, nutritional balance, culinary style skills and variety of flavors (sour, sweet, bitter, salty, umami). Come try our recommended recipes and practice these cooking principles as you cook!
Japanese Seaweed Salad
Beef Don Rice
Avocado Roll Sushi and Salmon Nigiri Sushi
A traditional meal of Korean cuisine consists of rice, vegetables, and meat, accompanied by a variety of side dishes, namely rice dishes, such as kimchi, wraps, boiled vegetables, steamed vegetables, dry stir-fried vegetables, and sauce stewed vegetables. It is not uncommon to have as many as 15 dishes in one meal. In Korea, many people often have a meal together. Each person will have a small bowl of rice, and many dishes will be shared on the table.
The most commonly used seasonings are raw and cooked sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, soybean paste, hot sauce, etc. Different from Japanese cuisine, Korean cuisine is heavy in taste, uses many ingredients, and has rich flavors. It’s featured in classic Korean dishes such as bulgogi, bibimbap, kimchi, and the increasingly popular Korean fried chicken.
Do you know Asian food? Korean Braised Pork
Do you know Asian food? Bibimbap
In most countries in Southeast Asia (Brunei, Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam), the main seasonings used in cooking are: vinegar, shrimp paste, rice, fish sauce, Peppers, various herbs. Let us go from the “jealous” Philippines all the way to Vietnam, where various culinary elements are balanced, and start an adventure through different food circles in Southeast Asia!
If we study carefully, we will find that every cuisine introduced in this article can be used for cultural studies to see what chemical reactions will occur when different cultures collide. The most prominent is Filipino cuisine.
There are as many as 170 ethnic groups living in the Philippines, each with its own traditions and food culture. So Filipino cuisine is difficult to generalize and categorize. In addition, food cultures from Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Spain and the United States also have various influences on the country’s eating habits.
Here you can eat the roast suckling pig brought by the Spanish colonists, and you can also taste the spring rolls brought by the Chinese immigrants. Filipino food is always so unexpected, and the Philippines is well-deserved as the “food melting pot”.
The most important culinary principle of the Filipino diet is that each dish will play a role in balancing the sweet, sour, and salty flavors throughout the meal. The most common ingredients here are various vinegars (mainly oil palm vinegar), rice, coconut milk, Calamansi, and lots of pork. The most famous Filipino dish is Adobo. This dish is prepared by marinating meat, seafood or vegetables in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black pepper, then simmering. This dish is usually served with rice and is enjoyed with a fork and spoon.
Careful cooking, so that sour, sweet, bitter, salty and umami taste harmoniously coexist, is an important part of daily life in Thailand. Most Thai dishes will have specific and strong flavors, but with the addition of fish sauce and various fresh herbs, the strong flavors will be well neutralized, making the whole dish unique but not obtrusive.
The most popular Thai dishes are Tom Yum Goong, Pad Thai, Green Papaya Salad, Thai Green Curry, Raw Meat Salad, etc. These dishes have the fresh flavors and common ingredients of authentic Thai cuisine: garlic, galangal, lemongrass, fish sauce, chili, sticky rice, hor fun, seafood, and a variety of meats, from beef to pork to duck , Thai food can be done.
Do you know Asian food? Thai Peanut Coconut Milk Soup Powder
Do you know Asian food? Thai Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
Thai Green Curry
Similar to Thai cuisine, Vietnamese cuisine also uses a lot of fresh herbs and pays more attention to the color and texture of the food. Vietnamese cuisine pays attention to the balance of the five elements of body, senses and food: gold represents white, umami, smell and minerals, wood represents green, sour, sight and carbohydrates, and water represents black, salty, hearing and water in food , fire represents redness, bitterness, taste and oil, earth represents yellowness, sweetness, touch and protein.
Maybe it is difficult and abstract for ordinary people to reflect the concept of the five elements in recipes, but the next time you cook Vietnamese food with friends or go to a Vietnamese restaurant, you might as well use the five elements system to compare the dishes on your plate, maybe you will have a good understanding of Vietnamese cuisine. A further understanding of the culinary philosophy.
The basic ingredients of Vietnamese cuisine are very varied, ranging from lemongrass, ginger, fish sauce to fresh Thai basil, mint, and lime. Vietnamese food is definitely one of the healthiest Asian dishes. It is low in oil and dairy free, yet uses a wide variety of fresh herbs, vegetables, egg whites, and staples like bread, rice, pho, etc. Some Vietnamese dishes are very famous even abroad.
As long as there are places where Vietnamese people live, there must be these wonderful flavors. Examples include fried shredded rice (with roast pork, pickled vegetables, eggs, fried shredded rice with sweet and sour fish sauce), pho soup (with beef, bean sprouts, fresh herbs, chili, etc.), Vietnamese sandwich (with Baguette-like bread with sausage, pickles, cucumbers, jalapeños, etc. in the middle.
Do you know Asian food? Vietnamese Beef Sandwich with Cilantro
Do you know Asian food? Vietnamese Style Pork Rice Noodles (Bún thịt nướng)
Do you know Asian food? Vietnamese Beef Noodles (Pho)
South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) is different from the previously described Asia. South Asia refers to the entire Indian peninsula, and Indian cuisine also includes the diets of South Asian countries.
Although Nepalese, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and Afghan diets vary in terms of ingredients, cooking habits, range of influence, etc., ghee, chili, certain spices, lentils, and lentils are used throughout Indian cuisine. chickpeas. Beef and pork are less common here, replaced by fillings for curries, basmati and roti cooked with a variety of chicken, lamb and fish. Before introducing other South Asian cuisines, let’s get to know Indian cuisine first !
Like other Asian countries, the differences between Indian cuisines are very diverse according to the geographical environment and economic development. But many dishes start out with common seasonings. Chili peppers, black mustard, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, coriander, ginger, fenugreek, bay leaves, curry leaves are widely available nationwide.
They impart a strong flavour to curry rice, masala crepes, fragrant rice, dumplings, and dal. Other ingredients used in Indian cuisine are millet, dal, dried mung beans, ghee, and different types of rice.
In India, many religious believers strictly follow the canon’s diet. For example, Jainism has strict vegetarian regulations, and Hinduism prohibits beef, and slaughtering cows can even lead to prison sentences.
If you want to try cooking Indian food at home, first prepare a well-organized spice rack, then open the recipes below and use them freely!
Spinach Milk Tofu
Peshawari Chicken Curry
North, Central and West Asia
In North Asia (Siberia in the Russian Federation), the commonly used ingredients are reindeer, fish, and berries, while in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan), dairy products, horse meat, lamb, tea, etc. are commonly used.
In Western Asia, that is, the Middle East (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen), nuts, spices, cheese, bread, beef and mutton are typical ingredients.
To get acquainted with these Middle Eastern meals, try the recipes suggested below and let us know which one is your favorite in the comments!
Almond Honey Cookies
Grilled Halloumi Cheese and Vegetables with Lebanese Garlic Sauce
Turkish Red Lentil Soup
Georgia Cheese Egg Bread
Ultra Thin Lava’s Bread
Roasted Lamb Sticks with Homemade Tzatziki Sauce
A fusion of cuisines from all over Asia
No matter how diverse Asian diets may be, there is one delicacy that everyone shares: dumplings. Dumplings can be steamed, fried or fried. But each region’s dumplings have their own unique shapes, fillings, skins and methods of making. From Permeni in Russia in the north to Samosa dumplings in India in the south, dumplings are found all over the Asian continent.
south korean | basmati rice | dipping sauce | char siu | southeast asian cuisine | xiao long bao | meat and vegetables | noodle soups