Asian cuisine, no matter what Asian country it belongs to, has its own identity. However, most people around the world are familiar with just Indian and Chinese cuisines when it comes to Asian food. Indian food is one of the most popular cuisines in the western world. Similarly, Chinese food has its following. It’s only recently that the western world has grown to appreciate food from the eastern side of the world.
And, with the popularity of Japanese and Korean, anime, manga, and KPop, KDramas, the food of these countries has also become popular. People around the world love eating sushi, Korean barbeque, ramen, and so much more.
It seems like food is once again reuniting the world. We are well versed in Indian, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cuisines.
While even Thai and Vietnamese food have a growing number of admirers, there are still so many hidden gems in South and Southeast Asia. They are often underrated due to the lack of popularity of their cuisines; however, they deliver in their flavors.
The New York Times dubbed Filipino cuisines ” the underdog of Asian cuisines.” And we guarantee you that Filipino lives up to this hype. This cuisine derives influences from Spanish, Chinese, Indian, and even American food. The Philipines is made up of hundreds of ethnic and linguistic group. The combination of their influences and such a variety of diversity makes Filipino food bright and unique.
Dishes you ought to try: Chicken Adobo (braised chicken in vinegar, soy, and garlic), Sisig (boiled and chicken or pork mixed with soy, pepper, chili, onion, and garlic), and Halo-Halo (shaved ice mixed with condensed milk, Ube ice cream and topped with sweet red, white beans, coconut gel, and coconut shavings).
Indonesia is another Southeast Asian country on this list. This island country is home to 300 different ethnic groups in its 6000 islands. Indonesian cuisines derive influences from Middle Eastern, Indian, and Chinese flavors and the abundant inclusion of coconut and peanuts. These mixtures of cultural diversity and influences result in the mouthwatering flavors of this island country.
Dishes you ought to try: Beef Rendang (beef curry slow-cooked with coconut and spices), Babi Guling (spit-roasted pig), and Satay (marinated and skewered meat grilled over hot charcoal).
Now, we are coming to South Asia in our flavor board. Tibet is an autonomous region of China; however, the Tibetan flavors slightly differ from other Chinese cuisines. Tibetan food consists of proteins like meat as food crops, and fishes are scarce at such a high altitude. Hence, food is often warm and comforting in Tibetan cuisine.
Dishes you ought to try: Thenthuk (hand-pulled noodle with vegetables and meat soup), Laping (cold noodle with soy sauce soup and Sichuan sauce), and Sha Phale (fried dough filled with meat and vegetable).
Nepal is another diverse South Asian country on the list. This Himalayan nation draws influence from its neighbor India, China, and Tibet. Nepali food is also flavorful because of the 101 ethnicities of the country. Because of this, the country has a vast number of underrated dishes belonging to different ethnic groups.
Dishes you ought to try: Thakali Thali/Dal-Bhat (a plate of cooked rice with vegetable, meat curry, pickles, and lentil soup), Chhoyela (grilled meat mixed with spices), and Momo (Nepali-Tibetan dumpling with meat, onion, ginger, and spices served with chutney).