The rich aromas, flashy neon signs, expressive and loud traders – welcome to the far east where the sights, sounds and smells mingle with the wonderful and eclectic flavours on offer by street vendors.
The countries in the Far East such as China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, Siberia, Taiwan, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam are not only rich in culture, but also in food.
Rice is a staple food in Asian cuisine besides noodles and bread. Curries are also widely consumed especially in countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. A bewildering array of herbs, spices and even sauces are used to create the authentic tastes of local dishes. Garlic, ginger, chilli peppers and chilli are also common in many dishes, including soy sauce and fish sauce.
From fiery noodle soups to freshly grilled meats, let’s take a tour to the far east and “sample” what some countries have to offer.
A blissful paradise with beautiful beaches, temples and landscapes, it is one of the best places to whet your appetite. Have a taste of Tom Yum Goong, Thailand’s iconic dish – an aromatic soup with a spicy zing, or Pad Thai, a noodle dish made with shrimp or chicken.
Food from China varies from region to region, and can be sweet, salty, spicy or sour. Have a taste of Jianbing, known as Chinese crepes and is a street food eaten for breakfast. Jiaozi, a favourite among locals and tourists alike, these Chinese dumplings are filled with vegetables or meat and shallow fried before serving.
Typical Vietnamese food tastes salty, sweet, sour and hot and these flavours are achieved through the use of nuoc mam, a fermented fish sauce, cane sugar, calamansi juice, tamarind and chilli. Have a taste of Pho, a hearty bowl of noodles with beef slices – the perfect meal on those cool days. Ga nuong sa is a simple yet delicious dish made of grilled chicken cooked with lemongrass and fish sauce and served on a base of vermicelli noodles.
Influenced by Chinese, Spanish and American cuisine, Filipino cuisine is the epitome of fusion food. Adobo – a popular Filipino dish is made by stewing chicken or pork in soy sauce and vinegar, peppercorns and bay leaves. Another tourist favourite, Pancit Guisado is a noodle dish served with sliced vegetables and meat cooked in a broth, soy sauce and fish sauce.
Cambodian cuisine is also known as Khmer cuisine it’s one of the oldest cuisines in the world. If you are in Cambodia, give fish amok a taste. Diced freshwater fish is cooked in coconut milk, eggs, palm sugar and fish sauce. Beef Loc Lac is a famous dis made from stir-fried beef strips served atop a bed of raw vegetables and topped with fried egg.
Have you tried any other Asian cuisines? Which are your favourites?