East Asian Food and Diet – China, Japan, and Korea

China is the largest country in the world and has many different cuisines. Although China stretches across mid-Asia as well as to the east, Chinese food as a whole is considered East Asian food. Through most of China, rice is an important food staple. However, in some regions, noodles rather than rice are the foundation of the diet. Most food is prepared by mining and cooking it, along with a small amount of oil, in a wok.

Within China there are three distinct regional cuisines: Shanghainese, which regional food is known for its hot and spicy chili pepper flavoring and distinct red-colored meats. Cantonese and Chaozhao regions associated with flavorful meat and vegetable combinations. Beijing, Mandarin, and Shandong regions serve noodles and steamed bread dumplings used instead of rice as the foundation of most meals.

Japan is an island nation and much of its food uses fish and fish-based ingredients. Rice is a staple in Japanese cooking as are sliced, salted vegetables. Soy products such as tofu, soy sauce and soy paste called miso are used in many dishes. Foods of Japan also include sushi, meats flavored with teriyaki sauce, and lightly battered and fried meats, fish, and shellfish called tempura.

Korean food is a blend of Chinese and Japanese influence, yet it has its own distinct flavors including soy sauces, garlic, ginger, chilies, pine nuts, and sesame seeds among other spices and foods. Traditional Korean meals include meats and seafood. Most meals include a vegetable dish called gimchi made of grated vegetables pickled with garlic, chili, and ginger.



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