East Asia: Cuisine and Recipes
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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
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »