There are many existing topics for stereotypes, but food is most defiantly one of the predominant ones. Let’s think about it… Margarita pizza and Caprese Salad? Thank the Italians. Tacos and Guacamole? Gracias Mexico. Traditional dishes are recognized symbols of food and culture around the world. What comes to mind when you think of Asian food? Before, I use to think basic- noodles and rice. However, after travelling Asia I discovered many exquisite and drool worthy meals. Here is a list of 6 Non-Basic Foods You Must Try during your trip to Asia .
1. Khao Soi
What is it and were does this come from you ask? You may only taste this delicious coconut- curry noodle soup with chicken in Northern Thailand specifically in Chiang Mai or Pai. Key ingredients are curry paste, coconut- based broth, chicken, shallots, lemongrass, fresh tumeric, ginger, garlic, makrut lime zest or leaves and cilantro. I’ll warn you, there’s a spicy kick to it, but believe me the tongue-burning sensation is totally worth it.
Suggested restaurant: Kat’s Kitchen
Address: 17 Ratchamanka Rd, Tambon Phra Sing, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai
2. Bún Cha
I’m sure most of us have had chicken or beef pho before. Hey, it’s a great hangover cure. Vietnam is defiantly on top of my list for food and culture. All dishes are made with fresh ingredients and don’t have much grease in comparison to other Asian food. Bun Cha is a Vietnamese dish that can be found in Vietnam’s northern capital Hanoi. It is served with grilled pork belly or shoulder, over a plate of rice vermicelli noodles, ,lettuce and fresh herbs. An important feature is the fish dipping sauce made with sugar,lemon,vinegar, crushed garlic and chill that is served on the side. This meal is so good, it’s a must try! Fun fact – during Obama’s visit to Vietnam, the former president had Bun Cha at a local restaurant. Now, the dish has become so popular that many restaurants call it “The Obama Bun Cha”.
Suggested restaurant: Bún chả Hương Liên
Address: 24 Lê Văn Hưu, Phan Chu Trinh, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam
3. Kimchi Jjigae
Everyone knows what kimchi is, but have you had kimchi jjigae? This dish is a kimchi based stew, that is commonly made with aged kimchi. Kimchi, brown and green onion, shiitake mushrooms,chili flakes and paste, ground pepper and minced garlic are the main ingredients. The stew can be made with different types of meat, or with tofu for those who would rather have a vegetarian option. Don’t forget to have a shot of Soju on the side ;)
Suggested restaurant: Gwanghwamun Jip
Address: 12 Saemunan-ro 5-gil, Sajik-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Sushi and ramen are two of my favourite Japanese dishes, but I absolutely fell for Okonomiyaki during my trip to Japan. This savoury Japanese pancake is absolutely to die for. With some flour, broth, eggs, cabbage, bean sprouts, your choice meat, yakisoba noodles, topped with tempura scraps and mayonnaise you’ve got a flavourful pancake in your mouth. Oh, and how could I forget the best part! Ketchup, Worcestershire, honey, sugar and soy sauce all mixed together- the cherry on top of this mouthwatering pancake.
For feature reference next time you’re in Japan, Osaka is the place to go when it comes to food.
Suggested restaurant: Houzenji Sampei
Address: 1 Chome-7-10 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0071, Japan
5. Ikan Bakar
Ikan bakar is an Indonesian grilled fish. It might sound basic, but the way it’s made and seasoned is what makes it so special. The fish is marinated in sambal sauce sauce, (brown sugar, vinagar, chill paste, fish sauce, sriracha and ginger) then cooked over a hot charcoal fire, which gives it a roast-like taste. Ikan Bakar can be found both in restaurants and on the streets.
Suggested restaurant: Warung Mina Ubud
Address: Jl. Gunung Sari No. 2, Ambengan, Peliatan, Ubud, Peliatan, Ubud, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80227, Indonesia
The Philippines is a South-East Asian country that has a lot of taste-worthy food. Adobo is a cooking style used to make meat, seafood, or vegetables that are marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and black peppercorns. Chicken Adobo is by far my favourite and it is popular amongst many people. Mmmmm absolutely finger-licking.
Suggested Restaurant: Casa Roces Address: 1153 JP Laurel cor Aguado St. San Miguel, Manila
Asia is the largest content in the world, so there is an abundance of food to taste. Each country has it’s own distinct flavours, recipes and cooking process. Forget the basic rice and noodle dishes, don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s totally worth to satisfy your taste buds with something new!