I start off with a picture of a royal Korean feast. Yeah, this is not for peasants. You gotta be royalty to eat this good - or just have a lot of money. The one thing about eating a really good authentic Korean meal is the panchan - which means little side dishes. You can see an assortment of panchan on this table set for one. Yeah - this is a meal fit for a king. But for all the fame of Korea's ubiquitous barbecued meat dishes, here you see it is really all about the seafood. Sashimi plates on one end and marinated roe on the other. And lots and lots of marinated or pickled vegetables. There are also several dishes of Korea's world famous kimchee in various preparations.
Copyright by KaiChanVong via Creative Commons license
Next, we go to China and have some dim sum. Who doesn't like dim sum? My personal favorites are, Cha siu baau - Cantonese barbecue pork buns, and sesame balls. I can literally stuff my face silly on the stuff. Oldest wanted me to mention that her absolute favorite Chinese dish is Peking Duck. This reminded me of growing up in NY and my parents taking us to Chinatown once a month for our big family dinner. Luckily, my dad can read Chinese so we always ordered off the Chinese menu and not the watered down English menu.
My Dad would order Cantonese Crab and snails in blackbean sauce. I can almost smell the fresh steamed crab in that amazing sauce. I can hear the loud crowded restaurant and the clanging of pots in the kitchen - the din of the diners and the people waiting on the long line out the door and up into the street. Ah memories. Ah drool slobbering down the side of my mouth and pooling into my crotch area making me look like I have peed myself.
Next time I'm up to see my folks, I think we gotta go back down memory lane so I can stop drooling.
Now let's fly to Vietnam, or for me at least, the Eden Center strip mall in Northern Virginia which is nowhere near as glamorous but where you can get the best Vietnamese food on the East Coast. Green papaya salad and baby clam rice hot pot are my go to faves. And for the best noodle soup in the world, I go to Pho 75 in Rockville for my Pho with eye of round steak and fatty brisket. A little bit of Srichacha sauce and I guarantee you that chicken soup has nothing on what I consider the best soup in the world.
I have to say that the most underappreciated Asian cuisine has got to be Filipino food. People have no idea what they are missing. Our babysitter makes lumpia - Filipino egg rolls - that are so good that my kids shove 3 at a time in their mouths. Little piggies. Last time, she made 40 lumpia. Me and Da Man were sure there would be some when we got back. We were wrong.
I wish I could share with you a good picture of Filipino lechon, but every picture I found had the pig's head staring back at me, which made me feel very cannibalistic. So all I can tell you is that if you ever have the opportunity to be invited to a Filipino dinner where they are making lechon, you are one lucky SOB. You never had roast pork this good til you try it - with the skin. Pig never tasted so good. And if you want to see more Filipino delights, you have to check out Moonrat's post here.
I saved one of my absolute favorites for last because anyone who knows me knows I go absolutely crazy for good Indian food. There is this amazing restaurant in Bethesda called Passage to India that makes me weep from Indian goodness. Their garlic naan with cilantro is so good I have nearly bitten Da Man's hand off when he tries to take the last piece. At any good Indian place, I love Chicken Vindaloo, Lamb Curry and Aloo Gobhi (potatoes and cauliflower - and the only way I will ever eat cauliflower and like it!). But what makes me swoon are the grilled lamb chops and their Baingan Bharta - roasted eggplants with stewed onions and tomatoes. So if you come to the DC area and want good Indian - think Bethesda... and give me a call!
I have not covered all the cuisines. I didn't even have time to cover Thai food or Malayasian food or Japanese food (although I did sushi last time so that's ok). But I have run out of time and I regretfully have to say goodbye to May and Asian Heritage month. I hope you all have enjoyed it as much as I have! And remember to try out different types of cuisine and be a little adventurous with food. You never know what you might end up falling in love with.
And I know that I have not covered all the best of Asian food. So feel free to share with me a favorite of yours! Whoever makes me drool the most wins!