Saturday, July 31, 2010

East asian food and diet

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. Throughout 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 mincing and cooking it, along with a small amount of oil, in a wok.

Within China there are three distinct regional cuisines: Shanghainese, whose regional food is known for its hot and spicy chili pepper flavoring and distinctive 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.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thai Food

An Introduction to Thai Food

A surprising number of us Brits are still very wary of "foreign food". Despite claims that curry is now as much an English national dish as roast beef or fish and chips, there are still many people who are missing out on flavours they never dreamed existed. Whether we like it or not, the British palate is not renowned for its sense of adventure. Our indigenous cuisine is universally regarded as bland and, apart from the odd dash of mustard or horseradish sauce, hot and spicy are not qualities easily found in a traditional British MEAl.

Indian and Chinese foods have gained wide acceptance as recent generations have grown up with their presence. Other spicy foods that have long been popular in the USA, such as Mexican and Thai, have taken longer to become established in the UK. Mexican cuisine is still something of a novelty, but Thai food has enjoyed a veritable explosion of popularity in the last decade.

It is, perhaps, the universal presence of rice that misleads the uninitiated Brit into assuming that all South East Asian food is much the same. This misconception, although typical of the British indifference to, and ignorance of, exotic cultures, could not be further from the truth. The four regional styles that comprise Thai cuisine contain a range of unique and spectacular dishes. While the influence of Thailand’s Asian neighbours, particularly China, is present in some recipes, the richly structured native Thai cuisine evolved from a fusion of many influences. Trade routes brought input from Europe as well as other pats of Asia.

Thai cuisine has elements in common with both Indian and Chinese food, but offers advantages over both. The aromatic flavours are more prominent and varied than in Chinese food, and the majority of dishes are lighter and less fatty than Indian foods.

Rice, vegetables, fish and fresh herbs and spices are essential elements. Some common Thai ingredients, such as turmeric, which has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, are often included in lists of so-called "super foods". When one also considers the relatively small amount of red meat used in Thai recipes, it is not surprising that it is regarded as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world.

But, health considerations aside, the best reason for the timid British diner to try Thai food is its impressive range of flavours. To get the full benefit of the experience, it is a good idea to partake of a meal served in the traditional manner. The company of two or three people is so much nicer than dining alone, so a Thai meal should be a communal occasion. In general, the more people present, the more dishes will be ordered, and the more different things may be tried. As a rough guide, it might be expected that two people would order three dishes in addition to their rice. Three diners might order four, or maybe five, dishes.

When the food arrives, each dinner guest will receive an individual plate of rice, which forms the base upon which she may construct a meal according to taste from the dishes that have been ordered. Each will choose whatever she fancies from the shared dishes and add it to her plate of rice. While eating the meal, soup may be enjoyed as an accompaniment and does not have to be taken as a separate course. This sometimes surprises first-time diners.

Thai food is usually eaten with a fork and spoon; something which greatly reassures those who might have expected to have to master the unfamiliar technique of chopsticks. Chopsticks are actually used rarely, generally only for eating some noodle dishes. As all elements of a Thai meal are usually served in nice, bite-sized pieces, it is easy to eat one’s dinner with dignity.

In some part of Thailand, as in many parts of the world, it is common to eat food directly with the right hand instead of using cutlery. Practicality, and the sometimes rather rigid British sense of propriety make this an uncommon technique to use in restaurants, and it probably goes without saying that the spoon and fork option will be seen as preferable by all present!

Amongst the fare, one might find various snacks and side dishes such as rice cakes, satay (a kebab-like meat snack, skewered with bamboo and often served with a peanut sauce) and spring rolls. General dishes might include omelettes and stir fried or sweet and sour dishes. Soups, curries and various dips are all likely to make an appearance, as is a salad. The Thai salad is, however, often a little different from its conventional British counterpart in the use of sweet, sour and salty flavours along with the spiciness of chillies.

Like many Asian cuisines, Thai restaurant cookery has made the occasional adaptation to take advantage of ingredients local to the country in which it operates. Broccoli, for example, is used in many British Thai restaurants, but it is rarely used in Thailand itself.

It is beyond the scope of this article to describe in detail the flavours of individual Thai dishes. Suffice it to say that there is something to suit every palate. Thai cuisine specialises in balancing spicy, sweet, sour, salt and bitter flavours, and as fresh herbs generally take precedence over strong spices, those flavours are perhaps less daunting than those in some of the fierce curries to be found in Indian food. That is not to say that Thai curries lack fire, but the spice-heat is perhaps more fleeting than that from Indian foods, and thus the palate is more quickly free to enjoy the flavours of other dishes. The meal is usually rounded off with a welcome sweet or fruit desert to contrast with the spices and herbs of the main meal.

A Thai meal is a visual experience as well as an olfactory one. The presentation of many dishes is colourful and rich in varied textures. The attractiveness of the food, the richness of the flavours and the emphasis in communal enjoyment of the meal make Thai dining an experience that should not be missed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

5 Myths About Asian Food

Myth 1- Asian food is fast food
Fact 1- I have been to America and being an Asian chef myself, I understand why Asian food like Chinese takeaway is akin to takeaway McDonald burgers. In fact, most Chinese dishes can actually be cooked or prepared in a very fast manner like Cantonese fried rice, but it is the ingredients preparation itself that takes time. However there is also a lot of Asian dishes that require extensive preparation.

Myth 2- Asian food is difficult to prepare
Fact 2- Asian foods are gastronomical delights that are mostly prepared in some exceptionally heavy cooking like stir frying, steaming and many more. It is not difficult to find your desired ingredients when cooking up some Asian dishes for your family. There are so many Asian groceries around America that sell some of the common herbs and spices used in Asian dishes.

Myth 3- Asian food is just about Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese food
Fact 3- Asia is a very big region, covering from Far East like Japan to the west Asia like India. Because of the large region Asia actually covers, there are huge culinary world out there in Asian region alone. Asian foods from countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, or even Philippines are so criminally underrated that I hope the tourism boards from these countries should spend more effort in promoting their country dishes. However, Thai recipes seems to cover a larger demographic around the world with their sour and spicy dishes like Tomyam or mango kerabu.

Myth 4- Indian food is curry food
Fact 4- That is one of the most common perceptions that whatever dishes that are curry would have to link to something India. The Indian culinary world does not only cover spicy dish but also some of the greatest vegetarian dish in the world. Indian cuisine also famed for their naan (Indian bread), tandoori chicken (chicken meat skewered in a long metal stick and cooked in a hot pot), sweet candies called ladoo, their famed milk tea called chai and many more.

Myth 5- Chinese food is typically sweet in taste
Fact 5- For some reasons, most of the Chinese foods that I have tasted in America are sweet in taste. That is how the Chinese foods are being perceived, prepared to somehow suit the taste buds for most people. However, if one ventures outside America, to places like Guangzhou or somewhere in Guangdong province of China, area where one could discover the real culinary world of China, you will be able to savor an entirely different taste of Chinese cuisine that actually covers a huge variety of tastes.

Of course there are more untrue perception about Asian foods. Nothing really could beat any Asian cuisines that are originally found in the Asian region itself.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Top 5 Malaysian Breakfasts

Breakfast is the first and most important meal of the day. Breakfast is run, the combination of the two words that can quickly break and generally breaking the fast after the last meal of the day before a meal or boost for the new day!

1 - Nasi Lemak

Jasmine rice with coconut milk and pandan leaves to cook! Often the meaning of sambal, anchovies and peanuts! In addition, hard-boiled egg and cucumber also for decoration.

2 - Roti Canai

Pancake or crepe in Malaysia in almost every restaurant Mamak! Although he served for breakfast, while breakfast can be consumed, lunch or dinner for yourself! Whether Dhall curry or simply white sugar, flavoring, it helps!

3 - Toast

A kind of warm bread that is stronger and can reach more toppings! Normally, jam or peanut butter or Kaya or even better in the elections! Some would even exceeded scrambled eggs!

4 - Half-boiled egg

Commonly referred to as the egg seven minutes to the West! It can be homemade or simply for all coffee-practice! So do you add more flavor, a little white pepper or soy sauce is.

5 - Noodles

A variety of pasta are served in soup, dried or flat! The most famous are fried noodles, Maggi Noodles (Mee Goreng Maggi in Malay), fried or beehoon teow meet the demand for Fried, simply served with an egg and some sweet chili sauce or sambal or even.

Looking at the list, it can look like a pretty heavy meal for breakfast. But that is what favors the Malays. Instead, why not start a hearty meal of the day?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Check Out the Street Food in Singapore

Cheong Chin Nam Street, Singapore

It is a food lover's paradise. If you love to eat you have to be there. Yes, we are talking about Singapore but not just of the glitzy, premium restaurants that are found in the city. Rather, we are talking about the street food--ranging right from the hawkers, foods centers to the numerous coffee shops-that sell food uniquely Singapore, be it Thai, Malay or Indian Cuisine.

To get a taste of why Singapore has the reputation of being Asia in microcosm you must sample the various kinds of food present there. My journey began with the Malay Kebab dipped in spicy peanut sauce that I had for dinner during the first day of my visit to Singapore. Being a firm believer of the fact that one of the best ways to understand a country is to taste its cuisine, I was determined to sample different kinds of food-items best known in Singapore-every day. And being an avid chicken lover I had many pleasures in store cause Singapore is a country where chicken dishes seem to be an all time favourite. So as I merrily gorged away chicken and onion pancake or indulged myself with Gong Bao Ji Ding, which is fried chicken with dried chilli and cashew or even tried out the simple chicken rice; I felt that as a tourist finally I was getting a grasp on the pulse of the nation.

For one thing comes out rather clear when you try Singaporean food. Though they might have an Indian origin yet they have been ideally Singaporeanised giving it an unique blended taste that you can find only in this small island city. Like Roti Prata, an all time favourite breakfast dish in Singapore. This differs not only in name from its Indian counterpart but also subtly as far as the taste is concerned, being a wee bit sweeter than we have at home. Or the curry puff that is an all-time favourite with the Singaporeans. It is difficult to say whether this delicious item was inspired by the Indian samosa or by English Cornish Pastries, yet it can be said for sure that whatever inspired it, it is unequivocally Singaporean.

It is rather a difficult job to recommend a list of must have items that you should indulge yourself in when you are in Singapore. Well going by my own personal culinary experience, I would definitely recommend Hainanese Chicken Rice, which is boiled chicken, served with chili sauce and aromatic rice cooked in chicken broth. Simple, economical yet delightful in taste, this dish definitely is a must try. The Cha Shao Fun, which is slices of barbecued pork with rice and Soya gravy or Hokkien Hae mee, which is nothing butboiled pork and shrimp together with fish cake and bean sprouts in a spiced shrimp soup are a few of the dishes worth try. And if you are a seafood lover there is much to choose from. Try out deep fried turmeric fish, which is crispy up to the bones and can be enjoyed either as a snack or with coconut rice. Sting ray, a spicy preparation of fish that is grilled over charcoal and served wrapped in banana dish is another dish that you possibly cannot give a miss. Even as deserts are concerned there is much to choose from. Be it O Bee Muay or black rice porridge, Tao Suan or Soya been curd; you can take your pick.

And now where to have these dishes? Well the food centers seem to be the better options. True, in every shopping malls you find the food courts that are air-conditioned and a much more comfortable place to eat' but if you want to imbibe the true flavors of this city rich in diversity the place you should head for is the food/hawker centers. For less than five Singapore dollars you would be able to enjoy a full meal at the hawker center which is basically a collection of at least 20 food stalls at the same location which serves a plethora of dishes ranging from, rice to desserts, from vegetarian to halal. This is a very casual place to eat and it is the quality of food that draws the people here. One of the best-known hawkers centers in the city is the center at Newton Circus, which is always bustling with people, and open till wee hours of the morning. In Chinatown, the food center at the Peoples Park, or the hawker center off Tanglin Road are few of the places that serves quality but inexpensive food worth a try. Apart from hawker centers, while visiting the place you can also drop into the umpteen numbers of Kopitiam or coffee shops. Apart from tasting the freshly brewed coffee you could also order for the traditional toasted bread grilled over charcoal with kaya (coconut egg jam as you plan your schedule for the days outing.

The best thing about Singaporean food is probably the fact that not only are they delightful and inexpensive but also even while trying out the local foods at the hawker centers you do not need to worry about hygiene. Unlike many other Asian countries where travelers are forced to stay off tempting street food keeping in mind the hygiene factor, in Singapore it need not be so as all the stalls have an enviable hygiene record. So next time when you are in Singapore indulge yourself and enjoy a mind boggling variety of street food at a bargain price

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Diversity of Asian Food

Eating is one of our basic needs. Besides the fact that the food most of us will be regarded as a passion, and he sees, with some leniency. And the great diversity of people and culture there is such a variety of foods and dishes as well as supply out there to get the palace. Well, because life offers endless possibilities, there is no reason why you should miss out on food and cuisine, each region has to offer on earth to enjoy.

One of the more exotic dishes are available, the Asian cuisine. Asian cuisine in all its color and taste, is always popular and highly appreciated by many Westerners. If the food on the American continent and Europe, Asian food tends characterized by their diversity. The vast majority of Asian countries offer many varieties of foods that are very different from each other. Indian food, for example, to try a wide range of culinary specialties to sample more than life, even for a Food Lover taken it all and enjoy. On the other hand, their own northern India has to offer exquisite examples of Asian cuisine, while South India offers a whole lot more. Do not underestimate the North-East India, and some examples of truly Asian food in abundance. In fact they offer a combination of Burma, Bhutan and Bangladesh food. In addition, western India has never been delayed by carving out a name in the annals of Asian cuisine.

Well, we go a little further in Asia. There is another Asian nation, Singapore, known as a hub for authentic Asian cuisine. An infinite variety of cuisines from different parts of Asia here. There is an authentic Thai cuisine, Chinese cuisine, food, or Nonya cooking world last great mystery. There is also the Peranakan food, which is unique in the strait.

What about the Far East? What can we take? This is the best example is for Asian cooking - is none other than Japanese and Korean cuisine. With regard to Asian cuisine goes, as a genre, Japanese and Korean cuisine has redefined the genre. Why? Asian cuisine is mainly based on rice, is not it? But as you observed, a large majority are Japanese, Korean and Chinese dishes to use in their pasta dishes instead of rice. Another thing is to cook Asian cuisine. But what do you say about Sushi? It is probably by far the most popular food in Asia that is eaten raw.

In fact, any country in Asia to its own unique cuisine, very different, even the kitchen surrounding areas. Food in Asia can not therefore be regarded as a classification of convenience, since these different cuisines are not otherwise classifiable. No wonder why there was an increasing number of fans and consumers of delicious, delicious Asian food.