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Hot Topics 2022-03-14

The Most Unique Dishes You Should Try in Asia - TW/TH

Are you planning to travel around Asia but still struggling to find the most authentic local food? Follow in our footsteps to become a real expert in Asian food cultures!

> Find more local cuisines in other Asian countries here.


Beef Noodle/ New Row Mian

Speaking of must-try food in Taiwan, beef noodles never disappoint! Throughout decades, beef noodles have won over tourists of different ages, genders, and nations. Composed of broth, beef, and noodles, a single bowl of beef noodles may look quite simple to make, but you may be surprised at how these elements are prepared with dedication before perfectly combined together. Beef shanks - especially with some tendons to enrich the texture - would be sauteed with fermented bean paste and chili paste first before stewed. This is how Taiwanese restaurants always make the beef so tender and springy. Traditionally featuring thick noodles, the noodles provide a chewy texture that you may feel like they’re dancing in your mouth! Some restaurants even use hand-made noodles.

Beef noodles in Taiwan can be categorized into two types: braised beef noodles and stewed beef noodles. Cooked with spicy bean paste and soy sauce, braised beef noodles are generally richer in flavor. On the other hand, stewed beef noodles feature clear and refreshing broth, as the broth contains the essence of beef and is flavored with Sichuan peppercorn and pepper. Both types of beef noodles have their supporters domestically and internationally.

Minced Pork Rice (Lo Bah Png)

Crowned as the king of street foods in Taiwan, lo bah png, or minced pork rice, can be widely seen in every corner of this island. Chop pork belly into little pieces or use minced pork, and stir-fry the meat with shallots, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice wine, and pepper - there you get the perfect minced pork sauce to serve with rice!

In the northern part of Taiwan, people prefer to make lo bah png sauce with pork belly, and thus lo bah png has a greasy yet smooth texture. In the south, lo bah png is also known as rou sao fan, and the southern people use lean meat instead to produce a refreshing taste. You can also add some mushrooms, spiced corned eggs, and fried bean curd in the sauce, and serve it with rice, fried noodles, or fried rice noodles, whatever you fancy!


Kin Tiew Kan Noodles

Strolling along canals in Thailand, you can easily find some little boats full of people eating something. But upon a closer look, you’ll be surprised to find piles of finished bowls stacking up high in front of each person. Are they having a competitive eating contest? It turns out to be Thailand’s common scene- the boat noodles! As canals are everywhere in Thailand, Kin tiew kan noodles, or boat noodles, are typically served on boats instead of in restaurants. To avoid spilling out the noodles while boats rock on the canals, each bowl of kin tiew kan noodles is made of a smaller portion, and thus people would naturally have dozens of bowls stacking up high.

Unlike kway teow soup, a distinctive feature of kin tiew kan noodles is the rich dark brown broth, made from stewed beef soup and pig blood/ beef blood. Kin tiew kan noodles are often served with ingredients such as meatballs, bean sprouts, and fried tofu skins, and people can choose to have beef or pork atop. The ultimate way to enjoy kin tiew kan noodles, is to blend the four Thailand seasonings for your taste: fish sauce, sugar, chili powder, and chili vinegar. Therefore you can create different flavors for every bowl and even develop your own “secret ratio”, which is why there is so much fun in kin tiew kan noodles!

Pad Thai

Just as Taiwan has lo bah ong as the best street food, pad thai is undoubtedly the national dish of Thailand! Also known as kway teow pad thai, pad thai is mainly made with rice noodles and is believed to be created during World War II. When Thailand suffered a shortage of rice during the wartime, the Thai government promoted noodles as the main dish, which led to the widespread of pad thai. Nowadays pad thai has become a signature dish of Thailand.

A common recipe to make pad thai is to soak rice noodles until soft and wet, and stir-fry with tofu, eggs, dried shrimps, and bean sprouts. To make it more authentic, you can add some fish sauce and chili to bring out the flavor. With a unique sour and spicy taste, pad thai also gives a hint of sweetness. It’s also recommended to put a finishing touch by adding peanut powder and lemon wedges.

How do you like our local guide to Asian food? Time to pack your suitcase and book a flight to Asia to try out these dishes!

YT Chang
YT Chang
Editor, World Gourmet Platform

Enjoy time for myself when having a walk, traveling, writing, and having a sip of alcoholic drinks occasionally.

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