To have just one page listing all Asian food recipes would not be very adequate. On this huge continent there are several distinct kitchens that really shouldn’t be mixed up. This page works as an introduction to the main areas in Asia, and also it carries links to specific countries. Under each country you have family recipes submitted by my visitors.
Here I include China, Mongolia, the Koreas, Japan and Taiwan. East Asian recipes almost always include rice or noodles. China is the cradle some of the earliest of our civilizations, several distinct cuisines developed early on and are still very visible. Stir fried and steamed vegetables and meat are among the characteristics inventions from here. The food ranges from quite spicy to bland. In Japan you have a simple and “pure” kitchen much based on seafood and vegetables. The Koreas use a lot of garlic and chilli and can be seen as a bridge between the two earlier. Taiwanese food can easily be associated with influences from some of the Chinese cuisines. Mongolia distinguishes them selves with a red meat and dairy product rich diet, deriving from their history as pastoral. Interestingly enough it seems like East Asian recipes has remained quite intact over the centuries compared to how they have changed in say Europe.
Included countries: Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Viet Nam, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, East Timor and the Philippines. Most these countries have abundant tropical rain forests and a rich flora and fauna; this is well reflected in the Southeast Asian food recipes which are varied and tasteful. In order to understand the different cuisines in this region you need knowledge of their history, both recent and ancient. Chinese, Indian, British, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and Americans are just some of the countries that have influenced both through colonization and trade. It is hard to generalize about the whole region, but the use of rice, spices and fresh herbs and vegetables seem to be dominant in all countries.
Included countries: Burma, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and the Maldives. South Asian food recipes vary quite naturally a lot with region and its biotope. Even in India you have several quite distinct cuisines. One thing in common for most of these countries is how they have been involved in trade for millenia. It was the stepping stone between Europe, Asia and Africa. This fact blended with their ancient histories has led to quite distinct traditional cuisines that has changed ingredients and cooking methods through trade and meeting other cultures. An example can be how central the bell peppers, chili peppers and tomatoes are in many Indian cuisines, all of them post-Columbus additions. In all these countries the history of different cultures and their religions can give rise to quite big differences, some parts of Pakistan would have recipes closer to South Indian cooking while a neighboring region would have their similarities more to Western or Central Asian food recipes.
Included countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Georgia, Kuwait, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Yemen and Jordan. This is a huge region with cultures and traditions that date back to the dawn of civilization. The range of their cuisines differs quite naturally with religion, biotope, history and neighbouring countries. The legacy of the Mediterranean cultures is present in big parts of Western Asia. In the eastern parts you have influences from India and Central Asia. Western Asian recipes many times have rice, types of beans, dried fruits, yoghurt, mutton and nuts are common ingredients. Since pork is forbidden by religious taboos in most cultures it is very uncommon, this as well as alcohol.
Central And Northern Asia
Included countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and the Asian part of Russia. These countries are not famous for their food recipes. Many times they are quite simple, heavy and filling. The nomadic life styles of their ancestors and quite difficult biotopes made growing hard. Thus you have few vegetables, lots of meat and dairy products. Rice is the most common staple, since it transports well it can be bought and transported from more fertile regions. All of these countries, except Mongolia, was once part of the Soviet Union, the old idea ‘divide and conquer’ forcefully moved populations between the different republics. Hence the European Russian influence on Asian food recipes from this region, do not be surprised to find ‘borsjtj’ on a menu in Vladivostok.