7 Asian Foods That You Must Try!
Sweet and sour chicken? Aromatic duck? Prawn crackers? If these are all the Asian dishes that you know, read on to find out what you’re missing out on! From hearty and healthy pho (noodle soup), to deep-fried octopus balls (takoyaki) to mango sticky rice (dessert), I’ll guide you through all the MUST try and MUST have dishes. Wherever you are in the world, whether you’re visiting Asia or your local Chinatown… keep an eye out for these dishes!
1.Xiao Long Bao
This is a Shanghainese staple. You can find this dish in any dim sum restaurant that’s worth the penny! It’s a soup dumpling, which means that inside the dumpling wrapping, you’ll find your usual pork filling (or vegetarian) but it will be surrounded with soup – it’s voted one of the best Chinese dishes in the world. However, be careful it’ll be very hot! If you want to document your journey with this interesting dish, I’d recommend taking a video! It’s very hard to capture the moment when the skin breaks and ensuring that you drink the soup in time before everything spills over. Make sure your manicure is on point as your hands will likely make an appearance with the zoom-ins!
Oh pho’ REAL! Yes, it’s a Vietnamese – and very old…very traditional. In Vietnam it’ll set you down $1.50, but in the West you’ll get it for $12. Pho is a beef broth which has been cooked for 10 hours. This ensures that the broth is very flavourful and packs a punch. You can find pho in your local Chinatown (even if it’s not Chinese) and it’s common to add lime, beansprouts and chillies to the mix. I’d definitely recommend going to eat it when you’re feeling sick or you want a detox. It’s a warm, hearty meal which is very low calories (approximately 500 calories per serving). You can usually find pho restaurants that open late in Chinatown, so there’s always time for pho…
3. Hand-pulled noodles with cumin Lamb
These originate from the Shaanxi province. These are freshly made, smooth noodles which are combined with a heavier and rich flavour of slow-cooked lamb. You can imagine it right? Imagining it right now? Yes, mouth is watering! This however, is harder to find and you’d have to hunt for a place that does it by hand rather than pre-packaged noodles. You won’t find that these restaurants open very late because the best ones are always out of stock very quickly! Given that hand-pulled noodles are by its nature, hand-pulled, they can only make a certain quantity per day. So, as far as supply and demand goes… it goes!
4. Tom yum seafood soup
On a ‘see’-food diet? This is a very hot and sour soup which will bring a sharp tangy feeling to your taste buds. Originally from Thailand, it’s a very ‘marmite’ dish… you either love the distinct contrast of the flavours or you hate it! Either way – try it! You can find this in your local Thai restaurant and in Chinatown. Most restaurants do it very well as it’s quite a simple dish to create with easy ingredients like lime, lemongrass, ginger, prawns and so on! Of the foods recommended, this is probably the easiest to make at home, but I’d suggest heading down to your local Thai restaurant to try it out first.
Expensive? Maybe. Yes. Go to a Japanese restaurant on your pay-day (liability for accounting advice excluded!) and try out their sashimi. Sashimi are thinly sliced, raw fish that has been graded (food safety). These are often very expensive as Japanese chefs train for years to perfect sashimi. You can get variations of salmon, tuna – most of the fish you can think of really! You can also get salmon and tuna in varying fatty levels… So, although fish is healthy, it’s also very fatty if you choose to try fatty salmon or fatty tuna. It’s worth every penny… well pounds! Once again, any photos you take of this dish will be close-up, so I’d advise a trip to the nail salon… always nice to treat yourself with both food and beauty!
6. Mango Sticky Rice
Once again from Thailand! This dessert is not very well known, but it’s also quite rare. It must be mango season (June-September) for it to be available in Thai restaurants. Many Thai restaurants believe it’s very expensive to source too, since it must be fresh. So, you might struggle to find this dish, unless you go to more expensive restaurants where they most likely offer it. This is a combination of Thai mango and sticky rice, just as you guessed! Although it sounds very odd at first, the creamy, coconut scented rice supplements the vibrant and exotic mango flavours extremely well. You can make this at home too! It might be hard to make the sticky rice well, but apart from that the mango combination will always be amazing!
These are deep fried dough with octopus inside! Not for the faint hearted, but all that is ‘odd’ is usually really nice! Give yourself a challenge and try something as exotic as this dish. It has a nice mayonnaise glaze on the balls usually which sweeten the dish. You can find this dish in most Japanese restaurants and it is offered as a starter or appetiser. If you want to try it in Japan, it’s best known in west Japan. They’re served in restaurants in Japan or as street food. However, in the West it’s usually only found in restaurants as they’re not popularised with the West enough to be enjoyed as a local snack. Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy!
So, there it is, a comprehensive list of Asian food that you must try! These are great dishes to kick-start your food journey to the orient. Remember to glam up before you take all these photos and videos of your experiences!