For a long time, East Asia is known for its unique and fascinating cuisine that has traveled around the world. As one of the most densely populated regions in the world, East Asia includes countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Mongolia, and North Korea. The traditional dishes of East Asian countries are filled with nutritious, healthy ingredients. Here are some popular foods in East Asia that are healthy and will wow your palate.
Some characteristics of East Asian cuisine
Pan-Asian cuisine offers diners a variety of cultural flavors and mouth-watering choices from across the continent. Asia is divided into 5 distinct regions, each with food similarities and differences depending on their specific culture, available resources, and traditions of their unique region. In particular, East Asian cuisine has become a very unique feature. The most popular East Asian cuisine is from China, Korea and Japan. Although rice is the main ingredient for each type, the seasoning, meat preparation, and cooking methods vary greatly from place to place.
Chinese food includes soybeans, rice, tofu and noodles. With a long history of medicinal use, traditional Chinese food has a major influence on cuisines across Asia. In Korean cooking, you’ll find a variety of ingredients including rice, soybeans, garlic, red peppers, ginger, and legumes. Beef is a precious ingredient in Korean dishes. Japanese food includes a variety of seafood, rice, noodles and miso soup are very popular.
Popular foods in East Asia
Japanese dishes often focus on the inherent purity and freshness of ingredients, less abuse of spices, and retaining frugality, and highlighting the delicate and selective culinary art of the Japanese. Surrounded by the sea, seafood and seaweed dishes have become familiar on Japanese menus.
Sushi is considered a dish representing the country of the Rising Sun, which is famous all over the world. Sushi is a necessary component of Japanese meals, especially during traditional festivals when it is presented on the table in a rainbow of hues and flavors. Sushi has many different ingredients and recipes, but the main ingredient that makes this dish is rice mixed with vinegar combined with fresh seafood such as oysters, abalone, salmon, and shrimp… served with cucumber, pickled radish, wasabi (mustard) and soy sauce.
Miso soup is one of the main dishes in Japanese breakfast. Made from Miso soy sauce with fish juice (Dashi), Wakame seaweed, and chopped tofu to create a sweet, rich flavor. Miso is a fermented condiment made from soybeans and contains probiotics that support good gut health. You can find miso soup at any restaurant throughout Japan.
With the typical climate of the temperate zone, the dishes from Korea are very popular because of their frugality and health, painting a picture of rich nature here. The land of kimchi is famous for many dishes with ingredients mainly from nuts, beans, vegetables, and seasonal seafood.
Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented cabbage that supports a healthy intestinal balance. Kimchi has a strong, attractive aroma, served with dishes that are loved by many people.
Tteokbokki is made from rice flour, cut into bite-sized pieces, then cooked with meat, vegetables, eggs plus spicy chili sauce to create a characteristic, fragrant smell. The soft, flexible rice cakes, blended with the spicy and aromatic taste of the attractive red sauce, captivated many diners.
Taiwan’s culinary culture is known for its diversity and richness, which is a cross between the Chaozhou and Fujian cuisine of China and neighboring countries such as Japan and Korea. With a location surrounded by four sides of the sea and high mountains in the South, providing a nutritious and attractive food source with mainly fresh seafood combined with sea vegetables.
Fermented tofu, also known as rotten tofu due to the special aroma of the dish. Tofu is fermented in a pickling broth composed of meat, fermented milk, Chinese herbs, dried fish or shrimp, bamboo shoots, mustard and amaranth, then soaked for several months. Tofu after fermentation is usually deep fried and sprinkled with sweet and spicy sauce or kimchi on top. Whether it’s deep-fried or steamed, that indescribable flavor makes this dish the national spirit of Taiwan.
This is a definite snack to try when you come! Although the name sounds simple, the ingredients of orh jian are quite sophisticated, including: eggs, oysters, flour, bean sprouts and lettuce, especially using tapioca flour to give the dish a thicker texture. The greasy aroma of eggs combined with crispy fresh oysters will “explode” with cool vegetables.
Chinese food is like a vibrant painting, from flavor to presentation. Fresh ingredients and nutritious herbs are used in perfect harmony in every dish. Here, garlic and onions play a big taste role in the food. The majority are cooked by steaming, baking, or frying.
Botanical eggs are a wonderful dish and appear in almost every Chinese meal, eggs are incubated for quite a long time, so they have a very strange appearance. The outside of the egg is orange or brown and the inside of the yolk is green. But thanks to the very different salty taste, it feels great.
If you come to China and you can’t enjoy Peking duck, it’s really a loss. Because Peking duck is a pride of Chinese cuisine with a unique way of processing, the duck has dark yellow skin, and the meat is evenly seasoned, which will surely make you unforgettable when enjoying the taste of this dish.
Koreans are very proud of their culinary culture. Korean dishes are very special with clear, fresh flavors, elaborately presented and decorated, unmistakable.
Naengmyeon or simply cold noodles is a dish that diners must try when coming to North Korea. Long noodles mean longevity, so they are often eaten during festivals such as Mid-Autumn Festival and birthdays. When enjoying this dish, you should serve it with vinegar, soy sauce and mustard in the amount that suits your personal taste. Many gourmets have judged that cold noodles in North Korea are the most delicious and attractive in the world.
One dish that is always a great suggestion for picky eaters when coming to Pyongyang is Bibimbap (mixed rice). Pork, kimchi, tofu, vegetables and gochujang (a type of chili sauce) mixed with steamed rice and cooked at the table in a hot stone bowl is all you get to experience.
Mongolia is known as a vast steppe region with a unique nomadic lifestyle. Therefore, Mongolian cuisine here is also very unique. Mongolian dishes have distinctive features that are difficult to mix, making visitors unforgettable.
Mutton Kebabs are delicious and attractive grilled lamb skewers. It is known that lamb is the pride of Mongolian cuisine, so the people here take advantage of it to prepare many dishes. This dish only needs to be thinly sliced and then marinated with a little salt, skewered with vegetables and then grilled.
Airag, also known as horse milk wine, is a very popular drink in the vast steppe. Horse milk wine is favored by many people thanks to its rich amount of vitamins and proteins. Especially to get a glass of sparkling milk wine, the maker has to go through an elaborate processing process. The milk is put into a leather bag that hangs overhead. Every day, people have to shake well so that the wine is not too liquid, not too thick. Drinking it has the sour taste of yeast, and the fat of horse milk is standard.
Above is a summary of popular foods in East Asia that we would like to introduce to you. Each country in this region has its own culture, so the cuisine is also very diverse. If you have the opportunity to set foot in these lands, do not forget to try these delicious dishes!