Aside from culture, food is the other thing that sets one country apart from another. Asia is known for their varied cuisine and flavourful food. Each Asian country has at least one signature dish that represents their culinary culture. If you’re in any of these Asian countries for a holiday, give their national dish a try!
1. Vietnam – Pho
The beef noodle soup, pho (phở bò), is a quintessential Vietnamese dish. This is a dish of flat rice noodles in a clear and flavourful beef broth. The beef is typically a thin cut of steak, flank, and brisket. However, other variations of pho exist as well, some using chicken (phở gà) instead of beef.
2. Japan – Sushi
It’s no surprise that Japanese food is synonymous with sushi. Sushi is a dish of vinegared rice, paired with a variety of other ingredients, usually sashimi (raw fish) and vegetables. There are many different types of sushi, makizushi is wrapped in nori (seaweed), inarizushi comes in a pouch of fried tofu, while nigirizushi is another type of hand-pressed sushi, just to name a few. If you’re not a fan of raw food, there’s always other variations without raw fish such as tamago (Japanese omelette).
Related read: 10 Mouthwatering Japanese Food Other Than Sushi
3. The Philippines – Adobo
Philippine adobo is a famous dish consisting of meat, seafood, or vegetables cooked in a marinade of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and black peppercorns. Chicken or pork is typically used and it’s served with white rice as it goes well with the adobo’s tangy sauce. As the popularity of adobo grew, the recipe has evolved with different variations in different regions of the Philippines.
4. South Korea – Kimchi
Kimchi is a traditional dish and a staple in Korean cuisine, usually served as a side dish. It’s a dish of spicy, fermented cabbage with seasonings such as garlic, chilli powder, onions and more. On its own, Kimchi can taste quite pungent, but you can also eat it in a variety of other ways; it’s included in soup noodles, fried rice, and even Korean pancake (kimchi-buchimgae).
5. Malaysia – Nasi Lemak
Known as the country’s national dish, Nasi Lemak directly translates to “oily rice” or “fatty rice” – but don’t worry, it’s not actually a dish of oil and fat! The name stems from its fragrant coconut rice, which makes this dish rich and creamy. Although it’s a heavy dish, it’s a common breakfast food for Malaysians. The main ingredient aside from the rice is sambal, a hot and spicy condiment. Besides that, nasi lemak also comes with anchovies, cucumber, hard boiled egg, and fried chicken or fish.
6. China – Peking Duck
Chinese cuisine is so varied and diverse, with each region having its own speciality, it’s difficult to narrow it down to just one dish. However, most people recognise the Peking duck as China’s national dish. This dish hails from Beijing and is famous for its thin and crispy skin. Peking duck is served with spring onions, cucumber, steamed pancakes, and sweet bean sauce. The pancake is used to wrap the ingredients, and the combination of these ingredients balances the flavours really well.
7. Thailand – Tom Yum
Tom Yum is a popular spicy and sour soup in Thailand. The flavour of the soup is characteristic of Thai cuisine as it contains lemongrass, lime leaves, chilli, fish sauce, and more. Both pork or shrimp can be used as an ingredient in Tom Yum, but the most popular choice is river shrimp Tom Yum, called Tom Yum Goong. The vivid colour orange colour of the soup together with the aroma of Tom Yum truly makes this an irresistible dish!