These Are The Different Comfort Foods In Asia
The love for good food is universal.
What's your comfort food? The answer will differ from person to person, and especially country to country. What we tag as our comfort food is often found in our local cuisine. These are in the flavors we're most familiar with, in dishes that use ingredients most common in our area, and most especially, in recipes that have been loved even by our ancestors.
Comfort food brings warmth, that cozy feeling of home, thanks to flavors we intimately know. Thus, having a taste of other people's comfort food tells a story beyond words can.
In this list, we take a look at the different comfort food you can find from all around Asia. Though the tapestry is incredibly rich, with every dish starkly different from the next, what you can be sure of is that they are all delicious!
1 Korean Fried Chicken
Since the 1970s, when this style of fried chicken first popped up in the Korean market, a passion was born. This passion for the glazed, sweet, and spicy fried chicken paired with ice cold beer has spawned enough restaurants in Korea that it's even made its way to our shores. Thanks to the advent of the K-wave, the world is well aware of just how perfect it is to eat on a late night. It really is one incredibly satisfying combo that hits all the notes on your palate, as the chicken is tender, crunchy, and coated with spices, then set alight by bittersweet alcohol. Every bite is an explosion of flavor. You really should try having some yourself.
2 Japanese Miso Soup
With a history going back as far as the 7th century, the Japanese have loved miso soup for a long, long time. They love it so much that 75% of all Japanese people eat it daily. At its core, miso soup is made of a soup stock called dashi and miso paste that make it packed with both umami and protein.
3 Taiwanese Milk Tea
Milk and tea have been in existence since time immemorial, but the craze we're all familiar with wouldn't have come to be if not for the Taiwanese. You don't have to spend an accumulative fortune though, to keep up with your milk tea addiction by making it yourself at home.
4 Thai Tom Yum Soup
"Tom yam" which roughly translates to "boiling, spicy, and sour," is quintessentially perfect for Thai taste buds that love heat on their palate. Swirling in the steam that rises from this hot pot of soup, are a cornucopia of aromatics that weave in its steam that include kaffir lime leaves, ginger, lemongrass, fish sauce, and lime juice. The fragrance, before it even hits your palate, is already a pleasure. It's easy to understand how this delicious bowl of soup brings comfort to Thai people.
You'll certainly love our version of creamy tom yum that comes with quail eggs.
5 Vietnamese Beef Pho
Much like most of the food in this list, the love for this particular comfort food is historic, already woven into their culture since the mid-1880s. The meeting of Chinese and French cooking with the Vietnamese palate birthed the modern-day pho (pronounced "fuh") that is both a dish in high-end restaurants and street vendors.
As a recipe so common around Vietnam, it actually comes in a wide variety of flavors and even noodles, differing from region to region. In our version of beef pho, silky rice noodles and sukiyaki-cut beef are enjoyed with soup infused with lemongrass, star anise, cinnamon bark, basil, cilantro, lime, and chili peppers.
6 Indonesian Satay
Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand also clamor for satay, but Indonesia has gone above and beyond by declaring it as their national dish. This skewered grilled meat is made distinct thanks to an infusion of spices and is perfectly paired with soy peanut sauce.
Much like most traditional recipes though, there are a wide variety of satay dishes ranging from region to region. We have tons of different satay recipes to choose from. In this satay recipe pictured above, chicken is marinated in soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, and red pepper for that distinctive taste before it's served or slathered with creamy, delicious peanut sauce.
7 Singaporean Roti Prata
Roti prata is flatbread that is both Indian and Singaporean in origin, which is reflective of Singapore's immigrant population. Although it can be eaten plain because the simple dough combines chewy, flaky, crispy, and tender textures in one bite, it's also often served with curry for a vibrant boost in flavor, cooked with eggs, mushrooms, cheese, or even be turned into a dessert with condensed milk, red beans, bananas, or chocolate.
You can make roti prata at home! We recommend doing this on a weekend as there's a lot of kneading and waiting involved. We have to say though, that the experience of making it and the delicious end result is very much worth it!
Food, when good and reminiscent of the taste of home, is synonymous to comfort. By tasting the comfort food from different parts of Asia and trying your hand at making them yourself, you really get an authentic spoonful of the best of that culture. Why not expand your horizons and inject these recipes into your own collection of favorite comfort food?
Looking for familiar flavors in your comfort food? Why not check out the different ways Filipinos cook their beef stews here beyond nilaga. These warm bowls of soup are perfect for cold nights. Perhaps you want something simpler for a rainy night or a sick day? Then this lugaw recipe is perfect for you.
Warm up more than just your tummy, warm up your soul as well with these heartwarming stories. Read up on how sinigang brought comfort to these OFWs, and how pandesal cured homesickness for this lola in Canada.