Asia is one of the ultimate destinations for travelers and foodies alike. Each country in this continent prides itself on its rich history and tradition, including the dishes they’re best known for. You can eat your way through a particular region or country, and never get bored with the unique tastes they have to offer. Chances are, you’ll find yourself immersed in their food culture whichever way you go.
If you’re a huge traveler and a foodie, you’ll enjoy traversing these destinations for their culinary delights. Here’s a rundown of the must-visit places in Asia and the respective dishes you should try when you go there. Let’s dive into it!
Must-try dishes: sushi, takoyaki (octopus balls), okonomiyaki (cabbage pancakes)
If you always find yourself dining in Japanese restaurants whenever you go out, you might as well visit the country if you plan to go to Asia. Make sure to stop by Osaka, also known as “the country’s kitchen” because of the plentiful street food scene and top-notch restaurants. The area of Dotonbori, in particular, is famous among tourists.
From variations of takoyaki to taiko-Manju (a Japanese baked sweet), you’ll never run short of exciting dishes to try in this part of Japan.
- South Korea
Must-try dishes: kimchi, galbi, hoeddeok, tteokbokki
Apart from fashion trends, skincare and cosmetics, K-pop, and K-dramas, Korea also offers a delectable range of cuisine that people from around the world can enjoy. When you dine at a restaurant, don’t be surprised if your table gets filled with side dishes before the mains are served, since side dishes are customary in Korean cuisine.
If you want to try traditional Korean dishes and street food, hit up Insadong Street in Seoul. For hip and trendy dining choices, you can visit Itaewon instead. When in South Korea, don’t forget to get a taste of legitimate kimchi, as well as their other iconic dishes like bibimbap, Korean barbecue, and japchae.
- Hong Kong
Must-try dishes: dim sum, beef brisket noodles, Peking duck pancakes, char siu bao
If you’re up for a dim sum adventure, Hong Kong is the ultimate place to be. It’s also one of the top Asian destinations for all food enthusiasts. This is where you can find the famous budget-friendly Michelin star restaurant, Tim Ho Wan, which is best known for its barbecue pork buns and steamed pork dumplings.
Must-try dishes: stinky tofu, pork sandwiches, peanut ice cream, Taiwanese-style hot pot, milk tea
Taiwan is a culturally-diverse country and food heaven. Check out the night markets like Shilin Market for Taiwan’s street food, where you can find a variety of choices in the middle of a bustling atmosphere. In the city of Taipei, you can find small eateries, teahouses, and fine dining restaurants that serve traditional Taiwanese dishes combined with other nation’s influences.
Must-try dishes: chili crab, Hainanese chicken, char kway teow, kaya toast
Singapore is another culturally diverse country and a one-stop destination for some of the most delectable food in Asia, including Thai, Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisines. You can easily find the best local dishes at hawker centers.
The most popular dish in Singapore is perhaps the chili crab. The dish is served with sweet and spicy chili sauce that melts into the crabmeat. If you’re big on seafood and all things spicy, this is a must-try.
Must-try dishes: paneer tikka masala, samosa, lamb skewers, naan
If you’re into spicy dishes, prepare to be blown away with an explosion of flavor and spices with India’s cuisine. One of the best places you can travel to for a variety of food choices is New Delhi. It’s an excellent place to try out Northern Indian cuisine, and it’s also a famous spot for people who enjoy spicy flavors.
Must-try dishes: pad Thai, yum goong, mango sticky rice, noodle dishes
Undoubtedly, Thai cuisine is well-regarded for its aromatics and flavorful dishes, usually integrating sweet and spicy tastes. Their meals are often served with a combination of herbs, spices, and sauces such as lemongrass, ginger, and fish sauce.
You can visit Bangkok for a wide range of authentic Thai food. This is also where you can find local wet markets, where vendors sell fresh seafood dishes from their boats.
Must-try dishes: sisig, sinigang, kare-kare, chicken adobo
Travelers would find it difficult to choose what to eat first when it comes to Filipino dishes. The Philippines is known for its adobo, cooked with either chicken or pork (or both) that is stewed with oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic.
When you had a chance to visit the Philippines, there are several budget restaurants in Manila that will satisfy the food junkie in you without costing you much.
Summing it up
A good part of traveling involves trying out your destination’s local food and the best dishes to experience the place thoroughly. Forget about cooking and the need to organize the kitchen afterward whenever you travel and hit up the well-known spots for authentic local food scenes for a gastronomic treat.
Hopefully, the food destinations in Asia above can help you figure out where to go and which dishes to try when you trot around Asia. Happy travels, and enjoy the food trip!
Meghan Roces is considered a social butterfly due to her overwhelming energy and charisma, as proven by people who get to meet her. She also loves traveling and has been to a few amazing places around the world. However, one can only have such energy, and sometimes, Meghan would opt to lie low and have an alone time—curled up in bed with a really good book.