Asian Food!

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by matthew357, Apr 17, 2002.

  1. matthew357

    matthew357

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    So, the rice cooking thread got me thinking....for me Asian food is like...well, it's one of the most interesting things to me ever. I guess growing up on a mainly western diet causes this, but for some reason just the differences in how they prepare food compared to what I consider "the norm" is amazing.

    Sooo..does everyone else find Asian food just incredibly interesting? If so...why?

    Matt
     
  2. foodie jeff

    foodie jeff

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    I guess being raised on simply prepared Midwestern food also piqued my interest in the food of other cultures, including Asian. The "different" seasonings and ingredients: dark and light soy sauce, hoisin, ginger, peanut sauce, coconut milk, bok choi, rice sticks, wood ear, to name a few, provide an interesting contrast to western food.

    The wok is an interesting cooking vessel too. It is amazing how many cooking methods it will accommodate: steaming, stir-frying, braising, etc. Learning to use chopsticks was quite an experience, however, I cannot get used to "shoveling" rice into my mouth from a rice bowl or "slurping" noodles because of my western heritage and sense of table manners.

    BTW, there is an interesting article about the proliferation of Asian restaurants in the Los Angeles area in the NY Times. You can read it here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/17/dining/17ASIA.html
     
  3. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Yes. Actually, I would say "Asian foods," since Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Cambodian, etc. etc. are all different, and each has its own variations as well. Just a wealth of yummy stuff!

    Because:
    1. They use flavors I love.
    2. They really need FRESH ingredients to work well.
    3. Although the prep can take time (good knife-skills practice, though), the cooking itself is FAST.
    4. If done properly, they tend to be HEALTHY.[/list=1]
     
  4. matthew357

    matthew357

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    <<I cannot get used to "shoveling" rice into my mouth from a rice bowl>>

    Heh, I actually prefer the shoveling method for eating rice. It's actually gotten me a few grins in Asian restaurants by the staff, since I couldn't be anymore white.

    <<Although the prep can take time (good knife-skills practice, though), the cooking itself is FAST.>>

    Yeah, Knife-Skills are really paramount in Asian cooking that I've seen.

    Matt
     
  5. bacchus

    bacchus

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    I like chinese dishes, especially cantonese and szezhuan(sp?). Thai is also very interesting because of the large use of seafood. I also like the way japanese food is prepared and served. All in all some good stuff
     
  6. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I too love that cuisine. My problem is so much of it is packed with sodium. I suffer under a sodium restriction and that drastrically reduces Asian cuisine.

    Certainly not all, but the classic condiments and flavors take a serious hit.

    Phil
     
  7. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    I didnt think they used that much sodium since soy sauce is mainly used instead of salt for flavor. :confused: Maybe someone will answer that. I know you guys don't want me to go starting a "new" thread on the correct uses of soy sauce. :rolleyes: I can just see the response. :D

    I also love Asian food since it remids me of home. Cause of the rice I guess. Its hard to get lots of rice at a western restaurant. And I get strange looks when I do. I always think the waiter is looking at me thinking "she's definately not from here". :rolleyes: I love Japanese because of the Fresh taste. I love Chinese because of the diverse flavors, plus they have spicy food too.

    I havent tried all the others but will be when I don't have a huge tummy to roll off my bed. :lol: I did get a craving for chinese at 3am but all the places were closed except for one that was about an hour away. My hubby is still telling the story of me getting a cab just to eat Chicken & Broccoli with Garlic Sauce. :lol:
     
  8. jbuder

    jbuder

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    first time i tasted thai food, i thought i'd died and went to heaven (felt that way about indian food as well, actually). i grew up loving chinese food, but had never had thai, cambodian, vietnamese. i love the layering of flavors and the freshness of the ingredients. tastes i had never before known but needed no experience to accomodate to. still have not tired of them. andd= they are so much fun to cook!:p
     
  9. matthew357

    matthew357

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    My favorite asian food experience to date (other than those pickled radishes) was at Korean Barbecue here in Atlanta. The owner of the place I worked at in Athens (about a hour drive from Atlanta) took us there one night after work. Apparently the place opperates on Korean time so they were still rather busy when we got there at 2:00 in the morning. Just the most interesting hot and spicy food I've had...tons of little condiments etc. The funniest thing was it was very inconspicuous and located right behind a strip joint.

    Matt
     
  10. marmalady

    marmalady

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    Shawty - The sodium content in soy sauce is very high. People who are watching their sodium content, or who just don't like all that salty taste can use the Kikkoman low sodium soy sauce.

    Mathew - Have you visited the Asian markets in Atlanta yet? Decatur is the name that comes to mind where there are just blocks of different stores and a huge farmer's market with veggies I guarantee you've never even seen before!!!!!

    I love Japanese cuisine; the flavors are so subtle; they really don't use a lot of spices, but the flavors of the food are pointed up to the max by using complementary flavors. And I don't think anyone in the world does presentation like the Japanese!! Although I do have to say that some of the 'Japanese' dishes I've seen on Iron Chef are a little over the top!
     
  11. kimmie

    kimmie

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    Quote from jbuder: "first time i tasted thai food, i thought i'd died and went to heaven (felt that way about indian food as well, actually)".

    ME TOO!!

    Although I have a strong penchant for Indian food, which BTW, is not Asian! :lol: the Queen of Asian cuisines has to be THAI!

    Hot and spicy is what one believes to be flavours and tastes of Thai food. It is correct, but not totally. Thai food, in spite of its occasional sharpness, requires harmony. Coconut milk tones down the spiciness and enhances other ingredients in a dish.

    What gives Thai food its distinctive character is a harmony in its tastes. The soups look plain in color but the taste combination is sour, salty, hot and aromatic. The use of peanuts and coconut in their curries are very characteristically Thai as well. I just love the way they use distinct herbs such as lemongrass, kaffir lime, both the leaf and the fruit, galangal, one in the ginger family, and mix them with the pungent sourness of fresh lime or the pleasurable sweetness of palm sugar.

    Also, a great bonus for the health conscious is that Thai food is lighter.


    :lips:
     
  12. mudbug

    mudbug

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    Matt,

    Any well known, well educated, and well rounded chef will hold Asian cuisine in high respect because it is so diverse, has one of the longest histories of any cuisine and is eaten by a majority of the humans on the planet.

    My tip for Asian cooking: never use "Kikkoman" Go to an Asian store and get an authentic Asian soy sauce. I highly recommend the following which is called "Superior Soy Sauce" there is a lite version and a dark version available.

    [​IMG]

    You may also enjoy the following web site Cooking of Asia

    ShawtyCat,

    Regarding the saltieness of some of the dishes. It is customary in most asian cultures to eat the food family style which in these cultures means the food is seasoned and cut into bite size peices (no cutting meat at the table). Each dish is placed in the center of the table and each person may get a piece or two throughout the meal at anytime. No passing of dishes either. Each morsel is then eaten with a helping of rice in the mouth at the same time which lessens the saltieness of the morsel which was never meant to be eaten alone. You will hardly ever see a salt or pepper shaker on a truely Asian dinner table.

    Kimmie,

    I don't think it's just Thai food which is "light". Most truely Asian cuisine is very light and healthy, it's just that most of the dishes regularly found on the dinner tables of Asian countries is really not very common in the states. Even in places like China Towns or Japan Towns, elders tend to scoff at how "Americanized" the food presented in restaurants is.
     
  13. kimmie

    kimmie

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    And so they should!

    Thanks for the link. :lips:
     
  14. marmalady

    marmalady

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    CCHIU, You're right about 'authentic' Asian soy sauces. But all of the Japanese cooks I know, and all of the major Japanese cookbooks recognize Kikkoman as an authentic all-purpose soy sauce, or shoyu. They also have sauces, or 'su' for different dishes; there is a noodle 'su', a very refined sashimi 'su', etc.

    As with everything else, each country in Asian has its own version of soy sauce. Japanese cooks think that Chinese or Korean soy sauce is too harsh for their taste.
     
  15. thebighat

    thebighat

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    We've got this sweet soy sauce at work that's 2200 mg sodium per tsp. I asked the sushi guys at the earthy crunchy grocery store the other day what kind of soy they used, and they handed me Kikkoman. Anybody see Morimoto RAW on the food channel recently? That sushi was making me hungry.
     
  16. mudbug

    mudbug

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    Yes of course! The use of soy sauce depends on which Asian cuisine you are making.

    :)
     
  17. ciaman

    ciaman

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    This is my first post and the topic at hand is as good as any in which to jump right in. Japanese and Chinese cooking rely on different soy sauces. Here's my take on the issue.

    Japanese Soy Sauce:
    The Kikkoman Corporation is perhaps the most well-known soy sauce producer in Japan. But be careful - you must get the Kikkoman sauce that is produced in Japan and imported and sold at Japanese/Asian grocery stores. Stay away from the Americanized version of Kikkoman sauce which is produced at a factory in Wisconsin (I think) and sold in non-asian supermakets. I get my Kikkoman at a Japanese grocery store and it is labeled "Kikkoman Extra Fancy Whole Bean Soy Sauce." It must be clearly labeled as a "product of Japan."

    Chinese Soy Sauce:
    Now for Chinese cooking I use Kimlan brand Sang Chau Soy Sauce (both light and dark). Produced in Taiwan I think. I get this sauce from a specialty asian grocery store. Again, stay away from most soy sauces sold in standard grocery stores. Good luck.
     
  18. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    When sugar shows up in Chinese cooking, I've been using brown sugar instead. The molasses undertone blends nicely in the food.

    I usually use Angostura brand soy because it's sodium count is about 350 per tablespoon. Not the best around, but the best for me and my health.

    Phil
     
  19. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Yes, ciaman, it's made in Walworth- southwest of Milwaukee.

    I use Kikkoman (I confess to not being careful about where it's from) but I also use a Chinese dark soy. I'm out, so the name escapes me. Depends what I'm doing with it.

    By the way, welcome to ChefTalk! Please drop in at the Welcome forum and introduce yourself. What's your favorite type of cuisine? Favorite Wisconsin food product? :bounce:
     
  20. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Last week I taught a private cooking class Thai....Pad Thai, Green Curry, Tom Kha, fruits/beans on ice with coconut cream,fresh spring rolls and potstickers.
    As I was shopping at Global foods, the name says it all!!! I could not find pickled turnip and asked the owner for help...he asked what I was making and then started lokking through my full grocery cart......this is the best brand, don't use this item....<his family owns an incredible Thai restaurant (King and I)> Then he started telling me how he makes the dishes I was going to teach...love it! What an experience!!! Every thing turned out fantastically and there is the up side of discovering great products without having a huge learning curve.