Asian food comprises the rich assortment of foods eaten in the Central, East, North, South, Southeast and Western regions of the Asian continent. Asian foods are more biased towards sweet, salty, sour, spicy and bitter flavors. On the global front, foods from the continent like the Tempuras and Sushi from Japan, noodles, sweet and sour pork and chicken dumplings from China, and the rich and spicy curries from the Indian subcontinent, are the most well known. Although, the foods vary greatly in taste and variety, the cuisine consists of trademark staples like rice and noodles along with spices like ginger and garlic across the region. Asian cuisine is one of the largest and diversified cuisines of the world.
The Asian culinary heritage has been passed down by some of the most ancient civilizations in history. The customs and traditions of these civilizations are reflected in the Asian food palette till date.
Although Asia encompasses a vast geographical region, its cuisine can be very broadly classified into three main categories which include:-
Asian food is marked by the usage of certain ingredients which are commonly found in almost all dishes of a particular region. They are:-
Common Cooking Methods
Asian food is also characterized by certain common cooking methods which include:-
Influence on Western World
There has been a profound influence of Asian food on Western culture with increasing globalization and immigration resulting in a new, pan-Asian fusion cuisine. Considered to be a lighter and healthier option of ethnic foods, Asian fusion cuisine is rapidly scaling the popularity charts in countries like America, which has high incidences of lifestyle diseases like obesity and heart ailments.
Complete Food and Diet Routine
The primary meals of Asian cuise consumed throughout the day can be divided into:-
Breakfast – Breakfast is the first meal in Asia with rice being one of the commonest foods eaten in most of the Asian countries. Toast is rarely seen in Asian breakfast. Idli - sambhar (Southern India & Sri Lanka), Baozi, dumplings (China), Paratha (North India & Pakistan) , Khanom chin namya (Thailand) and rice, seafood and natto (Japan) are some of the commonly served breakfast dishes in Asian cuisine.
Lunch – Lunch is often served around 1 PM in most of the countries. It is the heaviest meal of Asian cuisine. Here also, rice serves as the main staple food that is eaten with almost all dishes. Some of the popular lunch dishes served in Asian cuisine are rice, lentils and vegetables (Indian subcontinent), rice, soup and seafood (Japan), rice or noodles and pork/beef/stir-fried vegetables (China), Khao Tom (Thailand) and Bulgogi and rice (Korea).
Dinner – Asian food is famous for its elaborate dinner, unlike European cuisine where dinner is the lightest meal. It is a three-course meal which includes appetizers, main course and desserts.
Food Habits and Etiquettes
Asian food habits and table manners are completely different from the western culture. Some of the following points may reflect the food culture and hospitality of the Asian cuisine:
Special Asian food items are made during festive occasions. Some of the most popular festival dishes of Asia are:-
Gourmet Food and Drinks
There is no special classification for gourmet foods in asia. However, the following dishes are consumed during celebrations and are highly popular among the Asian population.
Asian food is generally considered to be healthy, primarily due to the high use of vegetables and fruits, presence of lighter fats and healthy methods of cooking, such as, steaming, stir-fry, roasting and grilling. The spices used in the Asian food are also believed to promote general health and longevity. However, in recent times, the confluence of western fast food joints in Asian countries is believed to have increased the incidence of heart ailments and obesity problems among the Asians as well.