Asian Cuisine

What defines Asian cuisine?

One could fly to Southeast Asia for a vacation, go restaurant-hopping in China Town, or try the various Asian looking take out menus in their district, and still not figure out what defines Asian cuisine.  Unlike other specific types of food like Italian, Cajun, or All-American, it’s difficult to pin down Asian cuisine.  This is mainly because of the different regions in the area, all of which have their unique characteristics and cooking styles.

Gourmet chef John DenBoer recommends looking at essential elements of Asian cuisines when trying to identify which region the cuisine comes from.  Rice, for example, is a widely used ingredient for most Asian cuisines. It has various arrangements on how it is consumed.  In Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, rice is a staple partner to meat and vegetables while other countries like Japan prepares it differently.

Curry is another widely popular dish in East Asia, South East Asia, and South Asia.  Having origins in India, this meal comprises of a coconut milk foundation, meat, vegetables, and different types of spices.  However, other countries like Northern India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan use yogurt instead of coconut milk.

Noodles are also a staple for several Asian countries, most notably in China, Taiwan, and Japan.  These countries serve their noodles differently.  John DenBoer observed that Japan’s noodle-based meals usually come with a broth soup while Chinese noodles are often served moist.

Asian cuisine has been so popular that every other culture has tried its own combination or fusion with Asian dishes.  Although the definition of what Asian cuisine remains vague, those who try and make an attempt at pinpointing specific elements can narrow it down to specific ingredients like rice, soy sauce, and noodles, while other people look at the different cooking methods used to create Asian cuisine, notes John DenBoer.