Tuesday, July 28

What kind of Asian food do you like?

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.


Mist said...

Don't remember many details and have never been to Asia and tasted real original Asian food, but generally speaking it's definitely a big favorite of mine.

1. Nepalese - Sooo delicious! Spicy without destroying the taste buds. I can't remember specifically any names for you though.

2. Sushi - I might not have eaten the fish you've run into, but most of the sushi I have I have just loved. I love wasabi. Sushi is usually pretty expensive so I don't eat it very often.

3. Thai, Indonesian are very good, but I haven't eaten those very often despite that there are lot's of these restaurants here.

4. Chinese - Always nice, you almost always get what you expect, it's IMO not a big variety of flavors, but it's still delicious.

Metamatician said...

Thanks for the reply :)

Nepalese is indeed yummy. I love the flat bread especially. I know two young guys who work at the local 7-11 who are both from Kathmandu, and I enjoy talking to them about life there. They seem surprised I'm interested and can talk about cricket (the sport) all day! Lol. Probably not too many customers talk to them much - I'm sure it's the same way in Europe, most people just lump Indians, Pakistanis, Tibetans, Mongols, and Nepalese together.

Furthermore it would probably take them some time to even locate these countries on a globe, not to mention SE Asian countries like Indonesia, which is only the largest island chain in the world and has the world's fourth largest population after China, India, and the US.

I do want to give (true) sushi another go, maybe from a different place. It didn't help that I got a big gob of wasabi (which I like, but in small amounts, like horseradish) in my mouth with one of the first few bites and I couldn't keep my eyes from watering for the next hour!

Mandula said...

Picking from these, I like suhsi the most - my favourite is the maki filled with duck liver, unfortunatelly amog the several sushibars and japanese restaurant in Budapest, there are only 2 of them who make this type of sushi. But i like the salmon (especially smoked salmon), flatfish (which is the first, as you know :))) ), avocado, etc. filling too. The biggest part is rice, but sometimes i cut my makis and eat the fish separatelly from the other stuff. Or the duck liver, what is delicious (I dont know how authentical japanese but simply marvellous). I dont eat sushi very often cos i am blighter and as you say, this food is frackin expensive. :( But very healthy!

I like the japanese bbq too, and miso of course. And wok food, from them and the chinese too. From chinese food i like the hot-and-sour soup, the sechuan stuff (mild, not flaming hot, as everything), and my fav is a chicken which original name i dont know (sian su chi, or kinda stuff), its meaning is about balmy(fragrant?)-and-chrisp(short? friable? it means very soft)chicken. It is chicken brest covered with a special liquid pasta (like raw pancake) and fried in oil in wok. And i like spring rolls too. What i dont like and never eat is fried pasta (when you cook a spaghetti for example, and then fry it in oil, yuck).

Wiatnemese noodlebowls, of course i love, fav is the garlic and onion flavoured, and the shrimp, and the hot chicken and hot beef... i used to boost them with some liquid cheese, ham/salami flavoured is the best, or smoked. :)

I dont think i ever ate thai or koreaian food...

Indian yes, I like it, and we have one tibetian restaurant, with chefs from Tibet and Nepal, and i LOVE that food. They use ginger a lot.

Note, Ive never been to Asia, any part, I tried all of these food here in Budapest. I was in an authentical (or told to be) chinese restaurant and eaten so delicious foods i dont remember the names, it was so different from the chinese fast food, but i like the fast food too. Smiling chinese faces. :) And we have japanese sushi chefs in most of the sushibars. We have pakistani restaurant (never tried, but planning to), morocco, persian, jewish, vegan Krisna-priests' place... i will try them all, it is only a matter of time (and money). :)

Metamatician said...

Thanks for such a great answer, Mandula! I can smell and taste all the things you talk about. Mmmm :-)

I don't have much to reply but it was a good description of the flavors and tastes of Asian food. Thanks again.

Taoist surprise 1
Taoist surprise 2

Metamatician said...

Oh and Mandi you must try Thai food if you haven't had it! It's a great blend of sweet and savory that is just magnificent (assuming the cooks know what they're doing). Seafood and other meats (or just veggie even), rice or noodles, lots of broths based on sweet coconut milk, curries, garlic, and chilies. Yum!

billybytedoc said...

I have recently eaten at a Vietnamese place near work. Never had it before. Very good!

Of course Chinese for many years and Thai many fewer years.

Not familiar with others.

Metamatician said...

Chinese probably MORE than you've wanted it, eh? Lol.

Thanks for the comments.

Katbili said...

Nice topic! I am hungry ;)
In order of preference, I love Japanese (not wasabi though) and Thai food (not that expensive in London, so I can always enjoy as much as I like) then Chinese and Indian. Turkish is also really good, mildly spiced and very similar to Greek (at the border of Europe and Asia)

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