Food has the ability to transport us to different cultures and nations, in addition to providing nutrients. Each food tells a tale and reflects its origin’s history, geography, and traditions. Here are the 20 Must-Try Asian Foods, ranging from hot curries in India to delicate sushi in Japan. Welcome to a global culinary adventure!
We, foodies, are always looking for new culinary experiences, and what better way to expand our horizons than to go on a tour of some of the world’s most delicious dishes?
So buckle up and prepare to experience a world of flavors, fragrances, and textures that will excite your taste buds and leave you wanting more.
Asian Foods You Should Try
The following are 20 must-try Asian foods from across the globe that will take you on a culinary trip of a lifetime.
1. Peking duck
Peking duck is a cuisine that originated about 600 years ago in Beijing, China, during the Ming era.
Initially restricted to the imperial court, the dish gained popularity in the Qing era. It is currently a well-known and popular dish in China and across the globe.
Sushi is a traditional Japanese cuisine that is popular all over the world. Sushi rice is gently hand-pressed and topped with various types of raw fish seasoned with rice vinegar.
Sushi is available in a variety of styles, including makizushi, nigiri, and gunkan maki. Sushi is mostly served with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger.
Korea is well-known for fermenting and pickling dishes, with kimchi topping the list.
Chinese cabbage is commonly utilized; however, other vegetables like cucumbers can also be used. The veggies are brined with salty fish paste, sugar, fiery chili peppers, leeks, ginger, and garlic after being marinated.
They are then fermented for weeks or months to become spicy, sweet, salty, and sour. Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish or starter.
Originating from Japan, ramen is a beloved noodle soup dish consisting of wheat noodles served in a flavorful broth, often accompanied by toppings such as sliced pork, soft-boiled egg, and green onions.
Each region in Japan has its own distinct style of ramen, making it a versatile and ever-evolving dish.
Adobo, the Philippines’ national meal, is cooked using chicken thighs. The chicken is marinated in a specific soy sauce mixture before being lightly fried. The marinade is poured over the top and reduced into a sweet, sticky, and salty sauce.
Subtle peppercorn pops provide a hint of heat to the meal, while garlic and onion provide an umami base and brown sugar sweetness.
6. Dim Sum
Originating from southern China, dim sum refers to a variety of bite-sized dishes traditionally served in bamboo steamer baskets.
Dim sum includes an assortment of dumplings, steamed buns, rolls, and other small savory and sweet delicacies. It is typically enjoyed during brunch or as part of a communal meal.
Biryani’s major ingredients include basmati rice, spices, and meat, eggs, or vegetables, as well as a variety of alternative toppings such as dried fruits, nuts, and yogurt.
Traditional biryani is produced by layering marinated chicken, herbs, par-cooked rice, ghee (Indian clarified butter), and saffron-infused milk.
Satay, one of the top must-try Asian foods, is a popular Indonesian dish consisting of skewered pork eaten with a side of peanut sauce. It is widespread in South East Asia, ranging from Malaysia to Singapore and Brunei.
The chicken is marinated in a herb and spice blend that includes garlic, turmeric powder, dark soy sauce, and coriander powder. Other, more exotic meats, such as crocodiles and snakes, can be employed.
The skewers can be served on their own or with jasmine rice and a squeeze of lime juice.
Pho, a Vietnamese staple, is a comforting noodle soup that features a flavorful broth, thin rice noodles, and tender slices of beef or chicken.
It is often garnished with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and chili peppers, allowing diners to customize their bowl according to their preferences.
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10. Pad Thai
Pad Thai is a popular Thai stir-fried noodle dish made with rice noodles, eggs, tofu or shrimp, bean sprouts, and a tangy sauce consisting of tamarind paste, fish sauce, and palm sugar.
It is commonly garnished with crushed peanuts, lime wedges, and fresh cilantro.
Laksa is a spicy noodle soup from Malaysia and Singapore. It blends rice noodles with a flavorful broth composed of coconut milk, spices, shrimp, chicken, tofu puffs, and bean sprouts. Laksa is a delicious combination of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors.
12. Donner Kebab/Shawarma
Donner kebab is one of many types of shawarmas available around the world and a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine. A mixture of marinated fowl, lamb, and beef is piled onto a vertical rotisserie, which slowly spins, slowly cooking the meat.
Once cooked, the meat is cut thinly off the rotisserie and served in flatbreads like lavash or yufka. Donner meat is served with a variety of vegetables and sauces, including cucumber, lettuce, and garlic sauce.
13. Banh Mi
Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich that showcases the fusion of French and Vietnamese culinary influences.
It typically consists of a crusty baguette filled with various ingredients such as grilled pork, pâté, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and chili peppers, resulting in a delightful combination of flavors and textures.
14. Massaman Curry
Massaman Curry is a Thai curry that features a rich and fragrant sauce made from a blend of spices, coconut milk, and tamarind paste.
It often includes tender pieces of meat (such as beef or chicken), potatoes, onions, and roasted peanuts, creating a delectable balance of sweet, savory, and slightly spicy flavors.
15. Pad Krapow
Pad krapow is popular in Thai cuisine because it is quick, delicious, and inexpensive. It can be likened to a burger or sandwich in Western cuisine.
Fried chicken is seasoned with dark chiles, light soy sauce, and garlic, with plenty of fragrant Thai holy basil imparting a lovely aroma.
Pad krapow, served with jasmine rice and garnished with a crispy fried egg, is one of Thailand’s most wonderful dishes.
16. Khoresht-e Ghormeh Sabzi
Persian food is immensely rich and diverse, with stews being a staple. One of the most renowned Persian stews is Khoresht-e Ghormeh Sabzi. It is usually served at public events and is a family favorite.
Its flavor is enhanced by the presence of five different herbs and red kidney beans.
This dish’s distinct flavor comes from a herb known as shambalileh. When Persians go overseas, the first thing they do is look for a place that sells shambalileh or ask family and friends to send it dried from Iran.
17. Hainanese Chicken Rice
Hainanese Chicken Rice is a famous Singaporean dish that showcases poached chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth and a selection of dipping sauces, such as chili sauce and ginger sauce.
The dish highlights the simplicity and delicate flavors that make it a comforting and satisfying meal.
18. Tom Yum Soup
Tom Yum Soup is a hot and sour delicacy from Thailand. It has a tasty broth infused with lemongrass, lime leaves, galangal, chili peppers, and other aromatic ingredients, along with shrimp, mushrooms, and a variety of herbs.
The soup’s irresistible combination of spicy, sour, and fragrant flavors is truly memorable.
Xiaolongbao, often referred to as soup dumplings, are steamed dumplings filled with a flavorful broth and a mixture of minced meat, usually pork.
These delicate dumplings, originating from China, are known for their thin, translucent skin and the burst of savory broth that accompanies each bite.
20. Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng is an Indonesian fried rice dish that features stir-fried rice cooked with a medley of ingredients such as shrimp, chicken, vegetables, and aromatic spices.
It is typically served with a fried egg on top and garnished with crispy shallots, cucumber slices, and a side of spicy sambal sauce.
Asia is a culinary-rich continent with a vast range of flavors, ingredients, and cooking techniques. Exploring Asian cuisine is a pleasant journey of discovery for food enthusiasts and adventurous diners.
From tasty street food to exquisite dishes served in fine dining restaurants, these 20 must-try Asian foods should be on your bucket list.