Delicious spread of food
Delicious spread of food

Foods You Have To Try In Asia

If you're preparing to embark upon an Asian adventure and you're curious as to what foods might be on offer, we're here to help. Each country has its own style of cooking and preferred flavors, and there are some incredible gastronomic highlights as well as street food delicacies to seek out in every corner of this continent. With this in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorites based on the destinations we can take you to...

Japan: Taiyaki

If you find yourself in Japan and you have a bit of a sweet tooth, you might want to seek out the adorably shaped taiyaki. This waffle-like treat, which is made to look like a fish of the same name, can be found at street vendors and in cafés alike. Filled with a sweet red bean paste, which is typically the most popular filling, they can also be stuffed with matcha cream, chocolate and custard. Batter is poured into hot metal fish-shaped moulds - with one half of the fish on each side – and the filling is put into one half, and the mould is then closed. 

Book:
Japan Lite - Power and Spirituality in Nara and Kyoto
Japan - Temples, Treasures & Traditions

China: Instant-mutton hot pot

During a trip to China, head to Beijing for a delicious hot pot experience. Steaming and seasoned to perfection, this communal dining encounter sees hungry revelers cook thinly slices pieces of mutton in a boiling broth made from chicken stock, water, mushrooms and shrimp. Known in the city as 'instant-boiled mutton', when you order this dish it will come with a range of accompaniments (pictured right) and the dipping sauces that appear on the table are made from a mixture of chilli oil, chives, spring onion and sesame oil. The pot containing the cooking broth is usually made from copper and has a coal-burning stove housed underneath, which heats the liquid. 

Book:
Western China - Relics of the Silk Road

India: Kulfi

A popular frozen dairy dessert that originated during Mughal India, kulfi is a traditional type of ice cream that is usually flavoured with pistachio, rose, cardamom or mango. It is much more dense than ice cream because it isn't whipped, but it is a truly delicious treat – and a welcome one when dealing with India's heat. Kulfi is prepared by slow cooking flavored, sweetened milk and stirring continuously to keep it from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. It reduces and thickens, and is then frozen in sealed moulds. 

Book:
Northern India - Maharajahs and Mughals
Southern India - Sanctuaries and Spices

Vietnam: Gỏi cuốn

If Vietnam's heat starts to take its toll, pop into a restaurant a grab yourself an order of gỏi cuốn. A truly refreshing dish, an assortment of thinly sliced vegetables are mixed with either pork or shrimp along with vermicelli noodles and they're all wrapped together in rice paper. These little snacks are served with a dipping sauce of peanut or fish, and are eaten at room temperature. You may already be familiar with gỏi cuốn in the form of 'summer rolls'. 

Book:
Vietnam Lite - Northern and Central Cultural Delights

Cambodia: Ang dtray-meuk

There are definitely some more adventurous food items on the menu in Cambodia, including red fire ants and fried tarantulas, but something you should try in order to 'eat like a local' is ang dtray-meuk – fresh grilled squid. In coastal towns, you won't have to look far to find vendors carrying around portable ovens that can cook this seafood for you on the go! Markets also sell this delicacy and it's often served with a chilli dipping sauce. 

Book:
Myanmar & Cambodia - Burmese Empires and Khmer Kingdoms


Previous story Next story

Foods You Have To Try In Asia was published on March 22 2019