Just because you’re pale as the blasted sun doesn’t mean you should limit your Asian dining experiences to Teriyaki chicken and ramen noodles.
There’s a world of great stuff you’re missing out on, and I’m about to show you the fucking ropes.
I think I’m pretty qualified to write this since I’ve probably cooked and consumed more Asian food than any other white dude alive who isn’t married to an Asian woman.
I’m not sure why. I’ve just always loved it.
I’ve sucked down noodles in Singapore and I’ve closed down private karaoke rooms in Vegas. I’ve eaten authentic Korean BBQ in New York and roasted duck in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
So pay attention and maybe you’ll learn a thing or two:
American-Style Chinese Food: It’s stuffed with sugar and MSG and all kinds of other shit you shouldn’t put in your body.
View this like McDonalds… Only eat it if as a last resort, or if you’re hungover, or it’s a rainy day and you’re craving comfort food.
And probably not even then.
Authentic Chinese Food: You’ll know you’ve got the right place if you’re the only white people there, and they have roasted ducks hanging in the window. Another good sign is if they also serve Dim Sum.
This is good shit and if you can find a place like this where the sauces are made by hand and they offer all kinds of clay pots and noodle dishes, you’ve struck gold.
As an added bonus, many places like this also offer your favorite American-Style Chinese dishes (General Tso’s, Lo-Mein) only made with better ingredients and more care.
And a lot less diarrhea.
Japanese Food: There’s lots to cover here, but for this post, I’ll stick with sushi. I hate to tell you, but eating California rolls and the deep-fried logs they cover in six different sauces is NOT eating sushi.
Eating proper sushi involves eating actual raw fish.
There’s basically two ways they’ll serve it: In rolls which are chopped up into circular pieces (Sushi, or Maki) or sliced and placed over rice (Sashimi, or Nigiri)
Both ways are delicious, so get to it.
I suggest starting with Tuna, Whitefish, and Salmon. When you’re feeling bold, graduate up to eel and squid.
If you can find a place that serves Toro (tuna belly) you’re probably in the right spot.If you’re really brave find a place that offers Omakasa sushi (chefs choice) and let the chef decide what you should eat.Despite what you may have heard, chances of getting sick are extremely slim.
Korean Food: This is probably my favorite Asian cuisine and (like sushi) is much healthier, fresher, and lighter than the Chinese food you’ve tried in the past.
The most easily accessible Korean food for beginners is Korean BBQ, so if you’re new try Kalbi (BBQ Ribs) and Gogi (BBQ beef or chicken) with rice and lettuce wraps.
Bonus points if you can find a place with a grill set right into your table so you can do your own grilling while chatting over a long, languorous meal that involves many beers.
When you’re ready to experiment try some spicy squid or a noodle soup.
The best thing about Korean food is Ban Chan, which is the multiple small side dishes (or appetizers) that are served with it.
These dishes are pickled, fermented, steamed, marinated, or stir-fried and usually involve cabbage and other vegetables. Kim-Chee is probably the most common of these.
We fucking love Korean food. If you’ve never tried it, you’re missing out.
Thai Food: Pad Thai is delicious. I get it. But if that’s all you’ve tried, you’ve barely scratched the surface.Pick your favorite protein (chicken, shrimp, tofu, whatever) and try it in a traditional red or green curry.Thai curry is nothing like Indian curry, which tends to be thicker and less sweet.
Thai curries are usually built on a base of coconut cream and are richly flavored and creamier and sweeter.
Lemongrass noodle dishes and Tom Yam Goong (soup) are also worth trying.
This guide to Asian food will get you started with Chinese, Japanese, and Korean food so you can find a local place with good reviews, and get chowing.
Believe it or not, but I’ve barely scratched the surface with each of these cuisines…
But it should be enough to get you exploring in the right direction.
Asian food doesn’t need to involve eating fried cat or weird sea creatures that are still alive and twitching…
So expand your horizons and stop being so fucking boring.