Fresh, wholesome, colorful and lip-smacking! These are some of the adjectives that come to mind when you think of Asian dishes. Known to use fresh, locally grown ingredients with a handsome serving of protein and carbs, the Asians definitely understand both flavor and nutrition. We’ve put together a list of the top 10 Asian dishes that you must try when you visit these cities.
1. Samgyeopsal-gui, Seoul
Barbeques seem to be the preferred style of cooking for the Koreans. Served in a minimalistic style, the pork belly barbeque, locally known as Samgyeopsal-gui comes with shredded veggies and an assortment of small sauces and condiments that add oodles of interesting flavors to the dish. From your local neighborhood restaurant to street stalls, the Samgyeopsal is served in thick meaty chunks or tender slices. So find one that suits your preference.
2. Xiaolongbao, Shanghai
Served ‘steaming hot’ in a bamboo basket these soupy dumplings are easily available in the local street corners of Shanghai. It’s a perfect snack or a quick bite packed full with a spicy sauce and a healthy serving of minced pork. You can also have a larger, fancy version of this dish in the fine dining restaurants, but we suggest you try the street variety to get the authentic taste.
3. Pad Thai, Bangkok
A burst of different textures and flavors, the Pad Thai is a world-famous Thai dish made with stir-fried rice noodles, vegetables and crunchy peanuts. This dish almost always comes with a mix of sprouts, scrambled eggs and protein. The most popular restaurant in Bangkok for Pad Thai is a 50-year-old joint called Thip Samar.
4. Chicken Rice, Singapore
Listed among the top 50 dishes of the world, the Hainanese Chicken Rice is a simple wholesome meal that can be had at any time of day. The rice is cooked in chicken broth and the simple boiled chicken is served with fresh vegetables, red chili sauce and an extra bowl of chicken broth as a bonus. While this dish is served by hawkers across Singapore, you must try the Tian Tian Chicken Rice in Maxwell for its taste and quality.
5. Pho, Ho Chi Minh
Synonymous with the place, anyone who visits Vietnam must give Pho a try. This bowl of rich soupy noodles has the most delectable broth made using various proteins and vegetables. Fresh, light and wholesome, all in one, Pho is truly unique to Vietnam. You can try Pho at the ‘Pho 2000’ restaurant, that gained popularity for being the first place where Clinton tried the dish, and he was so impressed that he ordered another.
6. Har Gow, Hong Kong
Wrapped in translucent rice sheets, these dumplings are one of the landmark dishes of Hong Kong. Known to be priced on the higher side, each dumpling has a hearty filling of shrimp and pork. Usually, 4-5 dumplings are served in a bamboo dish and can be had in a single bite. The Din Tai Fung restaurant in Kowloon City is one of the best places to try this dish.
7. Laksa, Kuala Lumpur
Rich, thick and creamy, the Laksa is a noodle soup made with tamarind paste, coconut cream, sambal and a host of sprouts and vegetables. It’s another wholesome dish with a whole variety of flavors and textures. You can find this dish in every corner of Kuala Lumpur, but the China Town variety is the one to try.
8. Sushi, Tokyo
Cooked vinegar rice topped with some of the finest, thinly sliced seafood and wrapped with seaweed, the Sushi is a classic Japanese dish that has fans around the world. Gaining a loyal fan-base due to their delicate preparation and cooking technique, you can heighten the flavor further with spicy wasabi sauce or soy sauce. Tokyo has several top-end, fine-dining eateries, although a bit heavy on the pocket these are the best places to try this dish.
9. Adobo, Manila
The unofficial national dish of the Philippines, the Adobo is made using vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and other spices in which the meat is marinated and then cooked. If your mouth isn’t watering yet, then here’s more. Once the fall-off-the-bone meat is ready, it is served with a large helping of hot, fried rice. While this is the traditional style, today many variations of the Adobo are available at both street food stalls and fine-dine restaurants.
10. Tom Yum Goong, Phuket
Like all Thai dishes, Tom Yum Goong is made of freshly grown ingredients. If you’re looking for a dish power-packed with flavor, then this is a must-try. This sour and spicy soupy dish can be eaten with rice or noodles. For the best Tom Yum Goong, you can visit some of the local restaurants in Phuket town.