East Asia: Cuisine and Recipes

Region | Chinese Market

The countries of eastern and southeastern Asia have a culinary tradition that stretches back over thousands of years. Rice was first cultivated in China in Neolithic times and still forms the foundation of most East Asian cuisines. Rice and wheat noodles are also popular.

Image Creative Commons by sanfamedia.com

Pork, chicken and seafood are favored proteins, supplemented by a wide variety of soy products. Vegetables add nutrients, flavor and color to dishes, with a dizzying array of cabbages, greens, onions, sprouts and mushrooms put to good use.

While many of the ingredients used in cooking are the same or similar throughout, the method and style of preparation varies widely. The Japanese favor simple and delicate dishes, whereas Koreans prefer the fiery punch of chilies. The Vietnamese keep their cooking clean and light, while in Malaysia, rich and full-flavored curries rule the day.

Cuisines of East Asia

China: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | China Image

One of the world's greatest and most ancient culinary traditions, Chinese cuisine is ordered on the Eight Great Traditions —  regional styles that form the foundation of most differences in Chinese cooking. Read more »

India: Cuisine and Recipes

Country | India | Jalebi Vendor

India is almost more civilization than country. It is an ancient and complex society, and not surprisingly so is its food. The climates and cultures of India determine the nature of regional dishes. The northern parts of India are wheat country. Bread of all kinds accompanies meals. In the torrid climate of the south, rice grows best and is on every plate. Read more »

Indonesia: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | Indonesia | Dancer

Indonesia — a vast archipelago often called the Spice Islands — sits at the crossroads of many cultures. Indian, Chinese, Malay, Dutch, Portuguese — all these culinary traditions have influenced the cooking of Indonesia. From snowy mountains to steamy rainforest, Indonesian cuisine is marked by a use of bold spices and herbs, the calming creaminess of coconut milk and the sweet touch of palm sugar. Read more »

Japan: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | Japan Lanterns Image

Japanese cuisine is known for the direct simplicity of its dishes, as well as the striking beauty of their final presentation. Freshness is key, and light, healthy meals with a bold punch of flavor are the norm. Read more »

Korea: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | Korea | Kimchee Pots

Koreans are often called the Irish of Asia, and their cooking has been referred to as "Japanese food with guts." Dishes are hearty and bracing. Garlic, scallions, chilies, soy sauce and sesame are essential flavorings for many dishes. Rice is the main staple, although noodles are popular too. The pickled cabbage called kimchi is a national treasure. Read more »

Malaysia: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | Malaysia | Petronas Towers

Malaysian cooking draws from a wide variety of influences including Malay, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Thai and Nyonya. Rice and noodles are staple starches. Numerous spices, lemongrass, galangal and coconut give a unique flavor to many dishes. Chicken is probably the most popular meat, with beef, goat, fish and seafood also popular. Read more »

Philippines: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | Philippines | Manila Taxi

Filipino cuisine is an amazing amalgam of native, Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian and Spanish cooking. Popular dishes are adobo, pancit, lumpia, sinigang and halo-halo. Filipinos love bold flavors and rich dishes. Abundant use of patis, or fish sauce, soy sauce and sugarcane vinegar give food a bold punch. Rice is a staple. Chicken and pork are favorite meats. Read more »

Singapore: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | Singapore | Skyline

The cuisine of Singapore is a rich fusion of the culinary traditions of the many ethnic groups that make up its population. Malay, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian dishes and ingredients are popular. Singaporeans take their food seriously and talk about it endlessly. This small, affluent city-state is full of excellent restaurants with some of Southeast Asia's best cooking. Read more »

Thailand: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | Thailand | Temple Door

Full of flavor and fiery with spice, Thai cuisine is one of the culinary gems of Southeast Asia. There is an emphasis on fresh meats, seafood and vegetables seasoned with differently flavored curry pastes and the ominpresent nam pla, or fish sauce. Coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal and fresh herbs add unique flavors to many Thai dishes. Read more »

Vietnam: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | Vietnam | Fruit Vendor

Fresh, light and flavorful, Vietnamese cuisine is a perfect blend of fresh ingredients, pungent fish sauce, tart limes and a wide variety of familiar and exotic herbs. Pork, chicken and fish are popular, but there is also a well developed vegetarian culinary tradition. An endless variety of rice noodles are common, most famously in phở bò, the beef noodle soup from the northern part of the country. Read more »