I admit I haven't tried the full spectrum of Asian cuisine available. But I've had my share, and here's what I like and what I'm not so crazy about.
1. Thai: Love it. Especially Tom Kha Gai, Massaman or yellow curry chicken, green curries, Pad Thai, Satays, Mee-Krob (if not too sweet), Thai ice tea, sweet rice and ice cream deserts, many seafood dishes including anything with "panang" or lemongrass in the title, and most things on the menu actually, if not extraordinarily spicy. I like mine medium - which means 'spicy' in the US, and mild or medium in Thailand, which I've actually visited (so I can attest to the fact). Watch out for those red and black peppers! Yummy, but they can ruin your whole day...
2. Chinese: Also love it. Egg-drop soup, egg-rolls, spring rolls, chow mein, chow fun, Szechuan (Sichuan) beef, pork fried rice, fried wings and drumettes with sweet and sour sauce and hot mustard, orange or lemon chicken (white meat), beef with broccoli, cashew chicken and snow peas, imperial prawns, garlic prawns... I could go on and on. Again, I like most things on the menu. Only a few things I don't care for (note: this is USA-Chinese, which surely varies from what what be a much wilder 'true' Chinese menu).
3. Vietnamese: I've had this less often than the previous two types, but I've always enjoyed it. I love the noodle bowls with virtually anything in them, and the deserts. It seems some French ideas crept into this cuisine during their time of occupation, which makes for an interesting twist. I want to try more. Have had nothing but good experiences so far.
4. (tie) Korean: LOVE Korean BBQ; can't remember much else besides that. Pretty ignorant on the whole flavor palette, but again it's something I'd like to be more acquainted with. Need to drive to San Jose and try all the cheap but authentic holes-in-the-wall there! I remember having some really good soup too... I wish I could remember more actual names of the dishes.
4. (tie) Japanese: I'm very fond of tempura (especially) and teriyaki, as well as soba noodles and miso soup. Everyone else in the world seems to have latched on to sushi or even sashimi... but my couple experiences with truly raw fish and seafood were not that pleasant. Maybe it's my preconceptions? I try to have an open mind. Of course I love California rolls and anything cooked and wrapped in rice and seaweed (and avocado never hurts). It's just the texture of truly raw fish that I have yet to acquire a taste for. Plus, it's expensive =S ...not to mention trendy.
Others: Malaysian, Cambodian, Laotian, Singaporean, Filipino, Bruinei-cuisine, Polynesian.... well, you have to draw borders somewhere. Polynesian could include Hawaiian cuisine, which is another category surely. Also, by saying "Asian" you could include Indian and Pakistani, Tibetan, Nepalese, Bangladeshi, and Kurdish cuisines here if you wanted, even Turkish and Armenian! But I won't. To me, that's a whole other ball of wax. Or ball of flavor... which is also very yummy... but I'll save it for another post.
What are some of your favorite "southeastern" Asian cuisines (like the ones I listed above)? Which countries and which dishes? Which don't you like? Which have you never had but would like to try? I'm interested as always in what all you guys think, and what recommendations or cautions you may have. Thanks! These posts are the most fun when people reply and it becomes interactive.
Tuesday, July 28
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