1. Satay – This is the undisputed King of Asian Foods. The spelling may vary from country to country, may it be sate, satay, satey, or sati. It is basically meat on a stick roasted over charcoal or open fire. This is available everywhere from Singapore to the Philippines, Vietnam to Papua! It’s mainly chicken or beef sticks in the Muslim countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. Thailand is very famous for its organ sate, may it be liver, heart or stomach of pigs or chicken. Satay usually comes with many different dips and peanut sauce is the most popular.
2. Sushi – This is very popular world-wide and of course in Asia. This has been considered as a high-class delicacy and mainly eaten in posh restaurants although ready-made sushi are available in regional supermarkets like Carrefour in Singapore, Indonesia or Tesco in Thailand. Sushi is much more than just raw fish and making Sushi rolls, it has been considered a science by many although it will actually just take the right kind of rice, seaweed wrappers and soy sauce.
3. Chicken Curry – This is the universal dish that can be found in most Asian menus. Curry powder in all kinds of variations, tastes and colors are readily available all over Asia and heavily used in creating all the heavenly curry dishes. The look and taste of curry will depend on the country you are in. Chicken curries of Thailand are made of heavy masala curries which are used by Indians as well. Indonesians love their “Kari Ayam” thinner, with more watery sauces while Malaysians don’t seem to be too decisive about their curry thickness, depending if they live closer to Thailand or more to the south of the Malaysian peninsula. Curry dishes are not only restricted to chicken but those seem to be the most popular.
4. Tom Yum – This watery something in a bowl that was originated in Thailand is now very popular all over Asia especially in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. This can be an appetizer, thin soup or main dish, eaten with or without rice. This has a more spicy-sour tasted with heavy use of smashed lemon grass, tamarind and lime. Different sea foods like prawns, squid or fish pieces can be added. Chicken and vegetables like oyster mushrooms or coriander leaves are already used in mixing.
5. Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng) – This is mainly cooked plain white with coconut sauce or saffron added and eaten fresh or right away with whatever meat or veggies come along. It is a cheap and tasty dish in all Asian countries that comes with veggies and meat. It’s a cheap and tasty dish in all Asian countries and comes with veggies, meat or different sambals. Add eggs, satay, rice or prawn crackers (krupuk) and you can have a full meal on its own which fills you up nicely and brings you through the day. Some would say that Nasi Goreng is the Paella of Asia but the Spanish would surely protest about that. Nowadays, Nasi Goreng in the western world has been connected with any Asian style of fried rice.
6. Dim Sum – This is derived from a Cantonese phrase which means ‘a little broken’ and describes little treasures of food, hidden away in small steamer baskets, various types of filled, steamed buns or plenty of little dishes served on small plates. Dim Sum are mainly served with tea and can have a hearty, sweet or plain taste. The servings are of small portions but with plenty of varieties.
7. Spring Rolls- Spring Rolls are popular in most Asian countries, with China, Vietnam Philippines, Taiwan, with Indonesia topping on the list. These are mainly fried rolled pastries that are filled with all kinds of raw or cooked meats or vegetables. There are versions which are not fried as well, mainly eaten in Taiwan. The most popular ingredients are minced pork, carrot, bean sprouts, fresh garlic chives, vermicelli noodles, shitake mushrooms. Soy sauce, peanut powder or fish sauce are sometimes added to better tickle your taste buds.
8. Hainanese Chicken Rice – This is a simple, plain and straight-forward dish, mainly eaten in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and China. It’s boiled, plain-white chicken served with white rice and condiments like cucumber, eggs or lettuce. Hainanese Chicken Rice is one of the lesser spicy Asian dishes, but nevertheless its creation is a science on its own. It can come with a clear chicken soup or broth as accompanying soup and is one of the signature dishes claimed by more than one country.
9. Laksa – This is a spicy noodle soup, which is claimed to be invented by Singaporeans, although it’s more likely to be derived from Chinese/Malay culture. The origin of the name Laksa is unknown, but it’s now widely popular not only in Malaysia and Singapore, but as far as Australia and beyond. If you tried Laksa, you would know why, as it as mainly an explosion for your taste senses, mixing sweet (coconut) tastes with sour (lemon grass or citrus) influences with more standard fare (thick noodles, egg, tofu). Sometimes Laksa is done more watery like a soup, while some prefer it as thick as possible, with as few liquids as possible.
10. Fish Balls – These are pulverized or pressed fish meat, eaten on a stick or as soup, mainly available at Asian hawker stalls or street vendors everywhere in the region. They are served cooked, fried or steamed and are considered as small, cheap snacks for in between or in some countries even as a ‘poor-man’s-dish’. They are eaten mainly on their own, marinated, dipped in a sauce or when coming in a bowl – mixed with ‘kway teow’ noodles, tofu or even rice. Fragrance and taste is added in the form of vinegar, garlic, sweet soy sauce or spring onions.