There is a never-ending list of reasons to visit Asia but if just one had to be chosen, it is safe to say that many would vote for the food. Nothing is out of reach when it comes to the dinner table, everything is on the menu and always served on the back of centuries spent perfecting each ingredient.
A food tour throughout Asia will, of course, satisfy the stomach to the point of bursting; however, perhaps more importantly, it will truly satisfy the soul. The kindness and passion shown by top chefs in Michelin restaurants or street vendors plying their trade on busy corners will amaze and delight all who have the good fortune of sampling their cuisine. Here are ten of the best places to visit when you are feeling ravenously hungry for joy, culture and of course, delicious food.
Don’t be shy when it comes to eating with your hands in Laos, because the dietary staple of steamed sticky rice calls for just that. The delicious delight is so integral to life in Laos, it is often said to be the glue that holds communities together no matter how far they travel from home.
Other traditional dishes include a splendidly spicy mixture of marinated meats occasionally served raw with varied combinations of vegetables, herbs, and spices. Papaya salad is also extremely prevalent and a perfect match for the warm days that descend on Laos more often than not.
Food lovers will find themselves in heaven when visiting Thailand. The options are so varied and so delicious that even the fussiest eaters won’t be able to fault the cuisine.
There is, of course, the coconut milk curry that the region is famous for, but also gracing the Thai menu are noodle soups, perfectly fried rice, char-grilled meats, still crackling pork, roasted vegetables, every method of fish preparation, and so much more. Most meals will have the added kick of a strong spice so those with a sensitive pallet will need to be careful. If you don’t mind the heat, brave everything on offer and you will never live to regret it.
Every day in Malaysia begins as though the dreams of the previous night never ended. The instance nasi lemak hits the table, you will be questioning if you are awake or still sleeping. A mix of coconut rice, peanuts, egg, occasionally a serving of chicken, and an aggressive helping of fiery sambal sauce - there is no better way to start the day!
Waiting in store throughout the afternoon is Mie Goreng noodles, the incredible roti canai, fish balls, tossed vegetables, and possibly Asia’s tastiest iced coffee to wash it all down. Not only will you always eat heartily in Malaysia, but you will also eat economically, with most meals costing next to nothing.
7 Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a country that makes it incredibly hard for you to find anything other than a wondrous meal. No matter which restaurant or food stall you stumble upon, chances are they will serve up some of the finest food you have ever tasted.
Don’t miss the sour fish curry, dhal curry, jackfruit curry, and so much more as you journey around the many incredible districts that make up this unique and delightful country. Once up north, an absolute must try is crab curry. Just one taste of this culinary wonder will have you licking your lips for a lifetime.
One of the largest countries on the planet and containing over 20 unique and diverse provinces, China has a rich history that has seen the birth and perfection of limitless dishes always destined to travel the globe.
A single day can see the hungry traveler consume red-hot kung pao chicken, juicy dumplings of every flavor, sweetly roasted duck, crispy spring rolls, and, of course, succulent rice and noodles dripping with character. Meat is always on the menu, with pork one of the most common, but vegetarian mouths will uncontrollably water as well thanks to fresh and generously sauced greens available at most restaurants.
The food in India varies not just from city to city but door to door. With so many flavors and styles to discover across this vast country, the pursuit of each dish is a wonderful adventure all on its own.
Devour a huge helping of a coconut-laced curry, use warm naan to mop up the remains of a heavenly biryani, and have a drink on hand to calm the fire of a smooth masala. And, that is only the beginning! If a snack is all you require, there is always the incredible chaat on offer, as well as handmade samosas that will hit the spot no matter the time of day.
4 South Korea
A result of centuries of social and political change, South Korean cuisine is primarily constructed around rice, vegetables, and meats. Furthermore, it is a true joy to discover.
Something that will find its way into most of the meals is kimchi, a salted and fermented vegetable that is a traditional accompaniment at the food table. Another South Korean classic is bibimbap, a dazzling array of rice and vegetables destined to have visitors giving thanks for opting to tour South Korea. On that note, be sure to learn the phrase Koreans utter before eating which roughly translates to: ‘Thank you for preparing this, because of you I will have a good meal.'
The highest quality food can be found at any time of the day or night in Cambodia thanks to street stalls, roaming vendors, and markets that punctuate every twist and turn of the country. Feast on fried noodles, juicy dumplings, bubbling curries, fresh fruit, and everything else you can imagine, while taking in the tragic history of this remarkably positive corner of the world.
For breakfast, there will always be a num pang, or baguette sandwich, on offer. Something not to be missed is the national dish made up of fried noodles dripping with sumptuous fish curry
If eating truly starts with the eyes rather than the mouth, then Japan is likely to fill you up before a meal is even ordered. The streets are filled with artistically arranged foods. Restaurants display their wares with mechanical precision and astonishingly vibrant colors.
The never-ending list of Japanese cuisine features fresh sushi, ramen noodles, miso soup, tempura in all forms, gyoza, seafood cooked in every way imaginable, and a great deal more. Food in Japan is always prepared meticulously, presented thoughtfully, and consumed passionately. Food lovers could spend a lifetime here and never want for anything more.
Street food. Not much more needs to be said when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine. No matter if you are in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, or somewhere in-between - the bustling streets open up to reveal some of the tastiest food you will ever eat.
Rare beef pho, crispy spring rolls, rice paper rolls, or bánh mì; you will find them all roadside and every bit as tasty as from the finest restaurants. Perhaps an entire turmeric-infused fish is more to your taste, or a hot pot boiling over with the finest seafood and vegetables the region has to offer. If a lighter meal is craved, don’t miss the fresh rambutan being sold on the fringes of most markets.