Written by a contributing writer
Asian food is one of the most popular foreign foods enjoyed in the west. With delicious ingredients, delicate spices, and smart cooking techniques used to create foods that are fresh tasting and flavorful, it's not hard to see why. So of you’re backpacking across Asia this summer or have a getaway booked to a specific destination on the continent, there are a few dishes you really have to try while you’re away!
Dim Sum is enjoyed in many places across Asia, from Hong Kong to China and Canton, amongst other places. It's definitely something you should aim to try while you're on your trip and is sure to be more enjoyable than takeout options you can get in the west! Dim sum are served as a selection of smaller bites, with dishes including barbecue pork buns, chee chong fun, xiao long bao and lots more. There are plenty of dim sum stalls all over Asia and you'll find it in restaurants and cafes too.
‘Singapore noodles’ is most likely not the first dish that springs to mind when thinking of Asia. (They didn’t actually originate from Singapore and aren’t very popular in Asian cuisine.) However, as noodles are a staple food in many areas in eastern Asia, they’re eaten a lot in different styles, and there are lots of incredible noodle places. From spicy laksa to Hokkien fried noodles and Bak chor mee (minced meat noodles), there really isn't just one type of noodle dish that can sum up Asia.
In other parts of Asia, rice is eaten as a staple food item instead of noodles- so depending on where you're travelling to, you should take advantage and dine on rice too. Traditional rice dishes in central Asia include 'buttered rice under a Shah's crown' which is tasty buttered saffron rice with dried chestnuts, raisins, and apricots served under fluffy bread. Pumpkin stuffed with jewelled rice is another popular dish, something you're unlikely to have tried before! Rice can be served as a side dish or as the main feature. Different kinds of rice grains are used depending on the dish; making something simple into something spectacular.
Across Asia you will come across incredible markets where street food vendors produce tasty dishes without costing you much at all. Great if you're on a budget, but something to experience regardless as they will give you a true taste of authentic Asian cuisine. Some of the vendors in Singapore have actually been awarded Michelin stars- the first time this has happened in the luxury food's guide. If you're visiting Thailand, Phuket is best known for its seafood. So amazing fish dishes amongst other things are often served up by vendors. Use a hotel such as the Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa which puts you at the heart of the action, and makes it easy to visit these kinds of places.
Dessert is well loved in Asia, while you will no doubt be tasting your way through lots of savoury dishes it's not something to overlook while you’re on your trip! Gelato and desserts cafes are becoming more and more popular across the continent. Across Asia you can find a everything from pastries to gourmet cheesecakes and very recognizable traditional classics. Then on the other hand you have Asian and local-inspired creations- some unusual desserts include frozen basil custard and salted egg yolk ice cream!