As a whole, Asian food encompasses a wide range of foods from various regions of the continent. There are many types of foods, each having its preparation and heritage.
As the world’s most populated and biggest continent, Asia is home to various peoples, each with distinct culinary traditions.
Rice, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, chilies, dried onions, soy, and tofu are all popular ingredients in Asian foods. Cooking techniques such as deep-frying, steaming, and stir-frying are widespread.
While rice is a staple in many Asian dishes, many distinct types are enjoyed throughout the continent. It is an integral part of Lao culture, religion, and national identity to eat glutinous rice.
Asian rice varieties include basmati rice (from the Indian subcontinent), jasmine rice (from Southeast Asia), and long- and short-grain rice.
Curry is a popular food in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. Most modern-day Indian curries utilize yogurt as their basis, whereas those from the Indian subcontinent’s southern regions like Sri Lanka and the Southeast Asian nation of Thailand and the Maldives rely more heavily on coconut milk.
Top 50 Asian Food and Essential Eating Guide
Hi, I’m Karim, the grumpy-looking guy who eats all kinds of strange things while dressed in traditional Japanese clothing.
While in Xi’an, China, I stuffed my face with exotic burgers, and in distant Myanmar, I downed some powerful moonshine palm toddy shots.
Even though I seem to be down, this is me at my most content. Weird food and drink, strange locations, and strange people.
This is exactly the kind of thing I’ve done when wandering across Asia for the last five years or so. A lot of fun! As much as I’d want to convey everything that’s been shoved down my throat in recent years, I just don’t have the time.
On the other hand, my Top 50 Asian Foods is all I have time for today. Certain dishes that every visitor to these corners of the globe should sample. In addition, if you haven’t been in the past, you’ll need to do so.
01. CHILLI CRAB in Singapore
Succulent, sweet, savory, and somewhat spicy crab in a tomato sauce. Suck the meat out of its claws with crab crackers.
A mud crab is a popular option in Singapore, although you may get it in many forms and sizes. Despite its recent decline in popularity, the chili crab will always remain a Singapore must-have.
02. KHANTOKE DINNER in Thailand
A typical Northern Thai meal, including several of the region’s traditional Lanna dishes. Chili dips, hot sausage, Northern-style curries, and rice are among the many dishes served in a restaurant or buffet.
Round tables with a hunchback height are known as “Khantoke,” and evenings usually include traditional dances, entertainment, and local alcoholic beverages.
03. CURRY FEAST in Sri Lanka
A curry feast on the Island of Spice is not to be missed, thanks to pieces of cinnamon, curry leaves, and other indigenous spices.
Typically, curries in Sri Lanka are served with a variety of side dishes, such as bean curry, cabbage curry, dhal curry… basically any kind of curry. Sambal and popadom are a must-have accompaniment.
04. MOMOS in the Himalayas
These Himalayan meat and/or vegetable dumplings are terrific on-the-go snacks with evident Chinese influences.
However, momos have spread over the Himalayas, from Tibet to Bhutan and India to Nepal. A spicy chili sauce, dark soy sauce, and a bowl of soup accompany the momos.
05. CANDIED HAWS in China
Slightly sour, little sweet apples. Candies produced from Chinese Hawthorns known as Bing Tanghulu, or candied haws, are a popular street food snack in China.
In addition to haws, the most frequent sweet, there are filled haws and candied fruits of various types.
06. KIMCHI in Korea
The ketchup of Korea, these spicy, fermented veggies are served with every Korean dish. Many different kinds of vegetables and spices may be used to make Kimchi.
The most frequent is the pickled napa cabbage (baechu Kimchi). Try Kimchi fried rice for a complete supper (Kimchi Bokumbap).
07. SATAY (SATE) in Indonesia
Cooked meats, marinated, skewered, and grilled over hot coals. Satay is often served with a fiery peanut sauce; however, regional variations might be sweeter or milder. Authentic satay can only be obtained in Java, Indonesia, where it originated.
08. SILVER WHEELS in Singapore
Originally from India, this pan-fried flatbread made its way via colonial trade channels to Singapore, my new favorite place to eat it.
Find Roti Prata at Indian Muslim shophouse eateries in Singapore’s Little India and Geylang districts. With curry sides and Tiger Beer, it’s a winning combination.
09. NUT ICE in Malaysia
My personal favorite is Ais Kacang, an Asian dessert with shaved ice mixed with fruit, beans, ice creams, and syrups.
Red beans, sweet corn, grass jelly, and cubes of agar jelly are among the traditional ingredients. Singapore and Brunei are two more places where it’s popular.
10. NOODLE SOUPS in China
I discover a whole new world of noodles in China with meaty toppings and intriguing local flavors. Sausage, chicken drumstick, and Sichuan peppercorns are some of the most unique toppings on some of the most flavorful bowls. There’s no limit to the possibilities when it comes to customization.
11. SHAN NOODLES in Myanmar
Thin rice noodles topped with seasoned pork and served with the soup liquid on the side are a portion of popular street food and tea house snack in China.
Then gulp it all up. Bean sprouts, deep-fried pig skins, and triangles of tofu fritters are among the most popular accompaniments (napyan gyaw). Enhanced with a dash of chile and a dash of lime.
12. Beef Rendang in Indonesia
Coconut milk with a spicy mixture of ginger, turmeric, and hot chilies are used for cooking the beef. The popularity of beef meals in Asia seems to be waning due to the long cooking periods and short serving times.
The dry, rich, and caramelized beef masterpiece that results from hours of honing is known as Rendang.
13. DIM SUM in Hong Kong
An assortment of steamed dumplings may be served either as an appetizer or as a main course. Steamed in bamboo baskets, dim sum dumplings come in a wide variety of flavors and fillings.
‘Yum Cha’ in Hong Kong, where Dim Sum is served with local tea sampling, is a must-try for foodies in the city.
14. SUSHI in Japan
Cooked vinegared rice is topped with a variety of other components in sushi. Seaweed wrappers, thin slices of fresh fish, caviar, and fish eggs are some of the most popular elements in the colorful world of sushi.
Dabs of soy sauce, wasabi, or pickled ginger may brighten up the delicate flavors of sushi.
15. FISH HEAD CURRY in Singapore
One of Singapore’s signature dishes, this meal is a fusion of Indian and Chinese foods. In this mouthwatering concoction, the Chinese love of red snapper fish head meets a spicy South Indian curry.
The end product is a well-cooked curry. In Singapore, precooked hawker booths provide lesser portions if the entire dish is too much for you.
16. BEERLAO in Laos
When it comes to beer, Laos has a 99 percent market share, making this renowned brand one of the most sought-after beers in the Southeast Asian region.
If you’ve had enough of ordinary Beerlao, you may want to try the Black or Gold flavors. An ideal setting for seeing the Mekong River sunset.
17. NASI CAMPUR in Malaysia
Serving hot, pre-cooked curries and different sides in a canteen-style buffet setting. Stack the rice on the platter, then choose what you want to eat.
Canteens that serve nasi campur (mixed rice) are a great way to taste Malaysian food since they may provide anywhere from 10 to 100 curry variations. Similarly, in North Malaysia, Nasi Kandar is a more Indian-inspired dish.
18. BULGOGI BBQ in Korea
Barbecues at Korean restaurants allow customers to prepare their own meats on built-in charcoal barbecues at their seats.
Serve with ssamjang, a fiery chili sauce, and other traditional Korean side dishes (banchan). Grilled beef, known as bulgogi, is the most popular dish during Korean barbecues.
19. BUN CHA in Vietnam
Noodles are served with pork (Cha), fresh herbs, and a dipping sauce that’s spicy but not overpowering (nuoc cham).
This meal, popular in Hanoi, is a calorie-laden diversion from the most healthful fare of Vietnam. It’s also a great lunchtime option and maybe found best between noon and 2 p.m.
20. EGG TARTS in Macau
The traditional Macau egg tart has a flaky pastry crust, a caramelized sugar top, and a smooth, creamy egg custard inside.
The egg tart is a Portuguese colonial relic among Macau’s numerous Chinese-influenced delicacies. It is the most popular and accessible “Macanese” food item. Eat something warm.
21. BEEF NOODLES in Taiwan
Slow-cooked beef served with Chinese noodles and a side of greens in a beef broth. This substantial noodle dish is popular in Taiwan’s night markets, where it has earned a cult following and its own yearly festival (Taipei Beef Noodles Festival).
22. MANGO STICKY RICE in Thailand
As the most well-known Thai sweet, it helps make up for the country’s deficiency in other sweets. When served with sticky coconut rice, drizzles of coconut syrup, and toasted mung bean sprinkles, this sweet delicacy is irresistible on its own. Intensely flavorful with just the right amount of saltiness.
23. BREAKFAST CREPES in China
Flatbreads and grilled meats aren’t the only options for street food in China, and this is best shown by the variety of street food offerings.
For me, Jianbing, a thin egg crepe with scallions, chili sauce, lettuce leaves, and a crispy center of fried dough, is the best street food.
24. BIRYANI in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s version of Biryani is spicier, hotter, and more flavorful than that served elsewhere in South Asia. In Sri Lanka, where the meal is called Biryani (or Biryani), the rice dish is topped with an aromatic and flavorful sauce made from indigenous spices. Biryani goes good with tandoori chicken, but it may stand alone as dinner.
25. MASSAMAN CURRY in Thailand
Massaman, the king of curries, should be revered by all the rainbow colors. Slow-cooked beef and potatoes, topped with pan-fried peanuts, make this Thai curry one of the country’s most popular and beloved dishes.
Even while the Massaman has a distinct Thai flavor, it also has a smattering of South Asian spices, such as cardamom and cinnamon.
26. DURIAN in Southeast Asia
The Durian is both adored and feared in South East Asia, known as the “King of Fruits.” Sweet, creamy, and perfectly ripe fruit awaits those who endure the alien-like outer shell and strong aroma.
The greatest time to harvest Durians is from June through October when the ripest fruit.
27. BICOL EXPRESS in the Philippines
Pork cooked in a spicy mixture of garlic, chile, ginger, and shrimp paste is simmered in coconut milk to perfection.
The Bicol Express is one of my favorite meals in the Philippines because it combines coconut and chili spiciness. At its birthplace in Bicol, the Bicol Express is even more popular.
28. GULAB JAMUN in India
Cardamom and rosewater sugar syrup flavor the curdled milk solids used to make Gulab Jamun, a spongy dough-like dumpling.
These sticky, scrumptious treats are a favorite in South Asia and are a must-try for any sweet tooth. Serve warm or chilled.
29. CURRY FEAST in Myanmar
The image of Myanmar’s food as rough and ready might make dining out daunting. Local curry houses are a wonderful place to start since they provide a variety of meats and a variety of sides.
There are possibilities for veggie soup, a watercress salad, tomato curry, and my personal favorite bean curry. Serving Suggestion: Fish paste on top of rice (ngapi).
30. PHO in Vietnam
‘Fu’ is pronounced like ‘Furby’ Pho is a fragrant, broth-based noodle soup rich in nutritious herbs and local spices.
As a result, it’s impossible to miss it in Vietnam, where it may be found everywhere. Remember that Vietnam must be the soup mecca of the globe, with apparently unlimited soup bowls to eat from. Don’t stop here!
31. BEIJING DUCK in China
It’s known as “Peking Duck” worldwide because of its crispy skin and soft, delicate flesh. Hoisin sauce is an excellent accompaniment to the chilly crunch of cucumber, the salty bite of green onions, and the sauce’s sweetness. As far as I’m concerned, Beijing is the finest place to eat Beijing Duck.
32. SUMMER ROLLS in Vietnam
Tightly wrapped in rice paper with fresh local herbs and vermicelli (rice) noodles and your choice of meat (fresh prawns preferably).
Fresh spring rolls, also known as summer rolls, are one of Vietnam’s most beloved street food treats, especially when served with a savory peanut sauce (Nuoc Leo). I don’t understand how something so healthy and green can taste nice.
33. RAMEN NOODLES in Japan
Noodles are a cornerstone in Japanese food, and Ramen is the finest of the best when it comes to quality.
There are three components to a Ramen bowl: noodles, broth, and meaty topping. Tonkotsu soup and braised pig belly are common additions to popular Ramen bowls (chashumen). It’s very good!
34. DUM ALOO in the Himalayan Region
Fried potatoes and onions in a tomato sauce with just the right heat. Dum Aloo’s roots may be traced back to the Kashmiri area of India rather than Nepal. In the Himalayan regions of Nepal, Tibet, and even Bhutan, eateries are already using it. The best vegetarian meal I’ve ever had.
35. FRUIT RUJAK in Indonesia
Fruits from the area are paired with a spicy, tamarind-flavored sauce in Rujak, a dish that combines sweet and sour with spicy and hot. Fruits such as water apple, pineapple, and sour, unripe mangoes are most prevalent. Singapore and Malaysia are also known for their version of Rujak or Rojak.
36. SUCKLING PIG in Indonesia
Few things in the world compare to a good roast pig, and few roast pigs can match Bali, Indonesia’s. The skin of a spit-roasted pig is thin and crispy, and the flesh is juicy and succulent. Adding the right blend of spices is all that is needed to complete the meal. A breakfast staple, suckling pig, may be obtained all year round.
37. LAO BAGUETTES in Laos
Aren’t French colonial effects more obvious? The famous Lao baguette is filled with swine liver pate, steamed pork (moo yor), carrot and radish shreds, and cucumber slices, among other ingredients. Adding mayo and a dab of hot sauce really amps up the flavor.
38. TAKOYAKI in Japan
Spicy octopus dough balls are flavored with spring onions pickled ginger, and stuffed with tempura leftovers. Add mayonnaise and a soy-like sauce to make it seem like a “boat” (often compared to Worcester sauce).
While Takoyaki is often served as a side dish in restaurants, it tastes best when served hot and gooey from a street vendor. One of Japan’s most popular fast-food items, yakitori, is found all across the country.
39. THALI PLATES in India
The Thali platter serves as an excellent introduction to Indian food since it includes many dishes. There are various items included in each Thali, such as flatbreads, grilled meats, flavored rice, and different meat and vegetable curries. With chutneys, pickles, spicy dips & popadoms, enjoy your meal!
40. SICHUAN HOT POT in China
If you’re looking for an experience that slams you in the face with chili and Sichuan peppercorn numbness, then Hot Pot is the place for you.
Diners prepare their meat in built-in soup pots at restaurant tables when they order a Hot Pot. Serve hot as a soup and with a variety of toppings.
41. AMOK in Cambodia
Fish amok (amok trey) is perhaps Cambodia’s most popular dish, even though various meats may be used in its preparation.
Thai curry paste and thick coconut cream combine with fresh fish steamed in banana leaves to make this simple snack with a mousse-like consistency. “Steamed curry fish” is the best way to explain it.
42. CHICKEN RICE in Singapore
Hainanese Chicken Rice is one of Singapore’s most popular and sought-after hawker meals, where a whole chicken is boiled and served over rice cooked in chicken broth.
Oily skin, soft meat, and a crucial gelatin layer are all thought to make up chicken excellence. Add a few drops of dark soy or hot sauce if desired.
43. CURRY in Japan
The ideal way to enjoy this unusually Japanese dish is with a pork cutlet and red pickled daikon garnishes in Katsu Curry.
I’m not done with curry yet, since I’ve come across many unusual and delicious dishes. My current favorite, topped with a crisp mozzarella topping on top of a beef burger.
44. TANDOORI CHICKEN in India
Once the spices have been infused, the chicken is then grilled. In a large clay oven, the chicken is skewered and roasted.
The chicken is smoked to perfection when the cover is put on. Crisp and flavorful on the outside, with a soft center. There is little question that Vishnu had a hand in the tandoor oven’s success.
45. KHAO SOI CURRY in Thailand
When it comes to curries, Massaman is king, while Khao Soi is the north king. Coconut-based Khao Soi, which hails from northern Thailand, is served over soft egg noodles and topped with crisp, fried egg noodles. With a hint of pickled cabbage, lime, onion, and chilli. Although it has a slight heat, it is unquestionably flavorful.
46. LAAB MOO SALAD in Laos
Shallots, coriander, and mint leaves are stir-fried with pork mince in this spicy salad. When served with sticky rice, this popular Thai salad perfectly complements the Laotian dish’s signature ingredient. ‘Nam Tok Moo’ with grilled pig bits is a chewy alternative.
47. CURRY MEE in Malaysia
Egg noodles are topped with fried tofu, bean sprouts, and sometimes congealed pigs’ blood cubes in this spicy, coconut-based curry soup.
Instead of the more well-known ‘Curry Laksa,’ I prefer ‘Curry Mee,’ which are egg noodles, to the thicker rice noodle dish.
48. ADOBO in the Phillippines
In Spanish, Adobo means “Marinade.” Adobo is the Philippines’ unofficial national dish, and its roots date back to the Spanish colonial period.
This marinated pork dish is flavored with suka, garlic, black pepper, and soy sauce from the indigenous palm tree. Cooked slowly, this dish pairs well with chicken or pig (CPA).
49. SAKE in Japan
In Japan, “sake” is a slang name for alcohol. Nihonshu, a Japanese rice wine of specific strength of roughly 14%, is what most of us think of as Sake. Try Shochu if you’re looking for a stronger brew (25 percent -ish). Sake is ideally served chilled, although it is often served warm in Japan’s winter months.
50. LOCAL LIQUORS everywhere
When it comes to immersing yourself in the culture of a new place, there are few better ways than boozing with natives.
Rice husks for rice whiskies or palm sap for palm wines are prominent examples of moonshine liquors manufactured by fermentation and distillation of local staples. It’s time to raise a glass.
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