History and flavour: a journey through the time-honoured flavours of Asian food
In recent years, eating seaweed, raw fish, yakisoba, gyozas, Chinese spring rolls and Vietnamese nems has gone from taboo to a daily reality for many Europeans. Asian flavours have won over Western palates and have not only made their way into our most exotic restaurants but have also reached our dining tables at home. These days, you can prepare a wide variety of Asian products at home in just a few minutes. Want to learn a little more about Asian food? Read on!
Asian food: packed with nutritional benefits
Owing to the prominence of vegetables in most Asian recipes combined with their low fat content, the Asian diet is one of the healthiest in the world. Everyone has heard about Asian people’s longevity, not to mention their lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and other pathologies.
Aesthetics of Asian dishes
Apart from being renowned for its ingredients, Asian cuisine is also admired for the presentation of its dishes. In this type of cuisine, equal importance is placed on the colour, aroma and flavour of each dish. In China, for example, it’s customary to combine three to five different colours in the first course. This is achieved by choosing ingredients that are light or dark green, red, yellow, white, black or caramel in colour. Other components such as tableware, cooking methods and, of course, eating with chopsticks rather than with cutlery are given equal importance. Still don’t know how to use chopsticks? We promise you it’s just a matter of practice.
Gastronomic cultures of Asia
You could say that there are three types of food culture in Asia. These are divided by geographical area (Southwest, Northeast and Southeast) and they share common features.
China is part of the Northeastern culinary culture. It’s thought that Chinese cuisine originated in the 15th century BC. Over the centuries, two very influential Chinese people (Confucius and Tao) helped shape their country’s cuisine. Confucius concentrated on creating harmonious dishes by mixing ingredients, while Tao was more interested in the nutritional benefits of recipes.
Along with China and Korea, Japan is also part of the Northeast region. In the 3rd century BC, Korea passed its rice-growing techniques on to the Japanese. Korea also introduced Buddhism to Japan in the 6th century BC, which led to a ban on eating meat.
India is one of the Southwestern countries. Its culinary principles were established by Persian and Arab influences. Vegetarianism prevailed for hundreds of years. Due to Hinduism, cows were used only for milking. Muslim influence changed eating habits by introducing different types of meat and India’s famous curries.
Thailand is the leading representative of Southeast Asian cuisine. Its primary ingredients are rice and noodles, which are curried or sautéed. Its main objective is to combine the four classic flavours: bitter, salty, spicy and sweet. Hinduism was also present during the development of Thai cuisine and left its mark through flavours including curries and hot spices.
Asian specialties and flavours
Thailand is the Southeast Asian country that’s best known for its curries. A good example is chicken curry noodles. Yum!
Has this journey through the history of Asian flavours got your stomach rumbling? If it has, let Ta-Tung guide your discovery of the most traditional oriental dishes. Enjoy oriental food at home and prepare your favourite dishes in just a few minutes!