When it comes to Asian food, you’re more than spoilt for choice. The selection of Chinese dishes alone is bewildering, with basically four main regions all having their own particular way of preparing food. But then you have Japan and Korea both of which are in Eastern Asia and offer a selection of dishes that are out of this world.
In south eastern Asia there’s Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. South Asia encompasses India, Burma, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and so the list goes on.
When it comes to Asian specialities that you have to savour at least once, there are classic dishes known and loved the world over. Asian restaurants serve these dishes to discerning customers who eat out on a regular basis just so they can taste the flavours of the orient – here are just a few of the best Asian dishes in the world.
Duck is an Asian delicacy which is now thought of as a Chinese national dish and it’s one that discerning diners have appreciated since Imperial times. The way the dish is served is quite unique, with slivers of crisp duck skin and a little of the meat being sliced right in front of diners by waiters or even the cook themselves. The crispy duck is rolled in thin pancakes with added hoisin sauce, thinly sliced cucumbers and onions.
Simply put – crispy duck pancake rolls are delicious.
Although the name suggests the dish originates in Singapore, the truth is it is virtually unknown in that part of the world. It’s a full flavour, spicy noodle dish that’s popular in Hong Kong.
The dish is made up of rice noodles seasoned with curry powder and then stir fried with bean sprouts, pak choi cabbage, soy sauce and chillies. Thinly cut chicken, beef, char siu pork or prawns are added to the noodles which makes the dish a meal in itself.
For vegetarians, Singapore noodles is a great choice because the meat or fish can be left out and it’s still just as delicious.
There are lots of varieties of Fried Rice and each one of them is delicious – it’s a tasty dish that forms part of a staple south eastern Asian diet. The rice is steamed and then stir fried in a wok with loads of other ingredients including egg, vegetables, meat, chicken and prawns.
In fact, there are so many variations of this dish with the most famous being Yangzhou and Fujian fried rice – a firm favourite served in many restaurants around the world is Special Fried Rice.
For the last couple of decades or so, Japanese food has become extremely popular all over the globe. These delicious dishes are made with raw ingredients although there’s a nice selection of cooked Japanese food too.
One Japanese delicacy many people love is sushi which is made out of a specially vinegared rice known as shari. The rice is combined with other ingredients, usually fresh raw fish which is then rolled up in sheets of nori, a type of dried seaweed. The long rolls of filled nori leaves are cut into smaller portions and served with Wasabi and Gari, a pickled ginger finely sliced.
All over the world variations of sushi have appeared to meet different Western tastes. Not everyone likes the idea of eating raw fish – so it’s been replaced with crab meat, prawns, and vegetables like cucumber all rolled up in nori leaves.
If you have never tried some Western style sushi, you are missing out because it’s delicious and very healthy too!
If you are heading for the Philippines or eating at a Filipino restaurant, check out if they serve Chicken Inasal. This is a wonderfully tasty grilled chicken dish – a real Filipino speciality.
The chicken is marinated for hours in lemon grass, calamansi (a citrus fruit), salt, pepper and garlic and then brushed all over with achuete oil (made from annatto seeds). The whole bird is grilled and then served with garlic rice and the orange oil the chicken was marinated in.
You might get lucky and find an authentic Inasal restaurant in a town close to where you live!
This wonderfully creamy dish originates from South and Central Asia. Today it’s one of the most popular Indian dishes around. It’s traditionally made with yoghurt, cream, seed and nut pastes or coconut milk with the main ingredient being meat or chicken and often seafood.
Lamb Korma is spicy, it has cardamom, cinnamon, cumin as well as coriander seeds added to the dish and each one of the spices brings its own very distinct flavour that when combined is out of this world.
Served with Basmati rice and lots of other condiments, this is one Indian dish that will have you coming back for more.
Conclusion: Above are just a few examples of tasty and delicious Asian dishes you’ll find served in restaurants the world over. They are popular choices which if you haven’t already tried, then you really should in order to appreciate not only the flavours but why other diners find them so wonderfully tasty.
Written by Tom Reynolds, food specialist, interior design maniac and fancy cookware expert, who finds himself comfortable with everything from wmf pressure cooker to fancy wine glasses and cutlery. So he prefers staying around the kitchen… he spent 3 month travelling from Khiva, Uzbekistan to Singapore, where he had the chance of trying out the many exotic Asian dishes.