Food Map of Asia

This food map of Asia shows all the dishes we’ve eaten on our journey to visit every country in the world. This continent is a definite favourite for us – mainly because the food is so incredible. We return to this part of the world over and over just to get another taste. 

Here is our food map of Asia with a dish to eat in every country:

1. Afghanistan

Lamb Kebab – Ground lamb is blended with a mix of spices for these fragrant, delicious kebabs. Traditionally cooked over a coal fire, eat with fresh salad and warm Afghani bread. If you’re really lucky like us, you might be invited to lunch in an Afghan home for a home-cooked meal.

2. Armenia

Food Map of Asia - Armenia

Food Map of Asia – Armenia

Manti – These little boats, or manti, have much in common with Italian ravioli, Chinese dumplings and wontons. Stuffed with beef and served with yoghurt and a red tomato-based sauce – this is a very memorable dish.

3. Azerbaijan

Another country in the Caucasus region on our food map of Asia list. These 10 Most Popular Foods in Azerbaijan will have you booking your flight ticket to Azerbaijan just for the great food. If you do take a trip to Azerbaijan, we highly recommend visiting Nakhchivan, the fascinating exclave of Azerbaijan.

Qutab – A savoury crepe that can be personalised to your liking. Fill it with herbs, meat, cheese, or spreads. Qutab is then folded and usually baked on a saj, a traditional Azerbaijani frying pan.

4. Bangladesh

Curry & Rice – Plain rice is the main food in Bangladesh. It is served with different meat and fish curry, a mash of various vegetable curries, bhaji (fried) of vegetables, and lentil soup. If you enjoy vegetarian food, then Bengali food is a cuisine you will love. This dish could be probably be included for other countries on our food map of Asia list. In both Sri Lanka and India, you can find plenty of curry and rice.

5. Bhutan

Food Map of Asia Bhutan

Food Map of Asia – Bhutanese food is so good!

Ema Datshi – the most famous dish in Bhutanese cuisine, made from cheese and chilli peppers. “Ema” means “chilli” and “datshi” means “cheese” in the Dzongkha language of Bhutan. The balance of flavours in this dish is perfect when served with a plate of rice and other wonderful dishes in this country. Find out if Bhutan is worth the money?

6. Brunei

Nasi Lemak – This dish is popular in both Malaysia and Singapore too – but we ate some wonderful Nasi Lemak in Brunei, so you need to keep an eye out for it. We ate the best nasi lemak on our food tour of Kuala Lumpur.

A basic plate of nasi lemak consists of coconut rice, fried anchovies, sliced cucumber, sambal (spicy sauce) and a slice of hard-boiled or fried egg. Additionally, you can add curry chicken, fried fish or chicken/beef rendang.

7. Cambodia

Fish Amok – I couldn’t get enough of this aromatic dish during my visit to Cambodia. Essentially, it’s a freshwater fish-based curry with lemongrass, chilli and coconut milk, typically served in a banana leaf. This is one dish you can’t miss on your journey to taste the food map of Asia.

8. China

Dim Sum – This is traditionally a Chinese brunch. So many dishes to choose from which are either deep-fried or steamed. Find everything from steamed pork spareribs, steamed buns with roast pork, and my favourite har gaw (shrimp dumplings). Don’t forget to even up the meal with some fresh steamed greens covered in oyster sauce and garlic.

The best places to find great dim sum is small teahouses or local eateries. TOP TIP: Just look for the line of locals and wait your turn – it will be worth it. Learn more about China and the 10 Bizarre foods to eat in China. Do you research before you arrive so you don’t get caught out with some of the most popular tourist scams in China, and how to avoid them.

9. Georgia

Khinkali – Delicious Georgian dumplings stuffed with meat, herbs, spices, and juicy broth. Order a plateful of these guys and I dare you to stop there, you’re going to want another, and another.

Georgia is one of our favourite countries in the world. Part of the reason for this is because of the incredible food – Read our Food-Lovers Guide to Georgia so you don’t miss anything during your visit. Our ultimate Georgia Armenia Azerbaijan Itinerary is pretty awesome too.

10. Iran

Food Map of Asia Iran

Food Map of Asia – Have you tried Iranian food?

Fesenjan – also known as Khoresh-e Fesenjān, you must eat this dish when you visit Iran. A delicious Iranian stew flavoured with ground walnuts and pomegranate paste. It is traditionally made with chicken, but you can find lamb fesenjan too. Here is why you should travel to Iran, including 8 Things I loved the most.

11. India

Biryani – You can find different biryani in various regions of India. Biryani is a mixed rice dish, flavoured with aromatic spices and generally, meat, such as tender chicken or mutton is a popular addition. I love to eat biryani all over Asia – my favourite is Hyderabadi chicken biryani. So, where can you find the best food in India? Our Top 5 Food Cities.

12. Iraq

Iraqi Kebab – Some of the most delicious lamb kebabs we’ve eaten in the world. The secret is in the minced lamb (having a good ratio of fat in the mix) and the charcoal fire it is typically cooked on – this gives it the charred outer coat, leaving the delicious spiced meat on the inside tender and soft. If you think it would be impossible to visit Iraq, read our blog: Is it safe to visit Erbil in Iraq

13. Indonesia

Food Map of Asia

Food Map of Asia – Delicious satay sticks are the best!

Satay – Seasoned, skewered meat which is cooked over charcoal to give it that smokey taste- then served with a yummy peanut, satay sauce. This dish is super popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Brunei too. You can find satay on every corner in Indonesia and most of the countries mentioned above.

14. Jordan

Felafel – One of my favourite foods of all time – and the best felafel I’ve eaten were in Jordan. These little balls of goodness are prepared using chickpeas, fresh parsley and spices and then deep-fried. The best part is eating them in pita bread with hummus and pickled vegetables or fresh out of the fryer with a plate of hummus. This food map of Asia wouldn’t be complete without hummus and felafel appearing at least once.

15. Japan

food map of asia ramen

What would our Food Map of Asia be without featuring Ramen?

Ramen – One of the best noodle soups you will ever eat. This is one of my favourite noodles soups in the entire world and a clear favourite to feature on our food map of Asia list. Ramen are typically categorised according to their soup base. My favourite is Tonkatsu (pork bone) ramen – the depth of flavour is incredible. The main types of soup are shoyu (soya sauce), (shiyo) chicken broth or miso (soybean-based). If you are planning a trip to Japan, make sure to read about the foodie destinations outside of Tokyo.

16. Kazakhstan

Shashlik – are marinated grilled skewered meats. So delicious served alongside fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and onion, some fresh bread and a cold pint of beer. You can find shashlik all over Central Asian countries and Russia.

17. Kyrgyzstan

Manty – These are dumplings, usually a little smaller than the size of your palm and filled with a mixture of meat (usually lamb), onions, potato and fat. Be careful when you bite into them as the super hot broth inside squirts out. You can eat these guys with some sour cream, ketchup or vinegar. Learn more about Central Asian Food and the 7 most popular dishes.

18. Laos

Larb – A delicious meat salad. This dish combines savoury flavours with fresh herbs like coriander, scallions, mint, chilli and fresh lime juice. The addition of toasted ground rice adds texture to the end result. It doesn’t sound so great – but trust me, once you taste larb, you’ll be addicted. This dish goes perfectly with sticky rice – another staple of Laos cuisine.

You are halfway through our Food Map of Asia, keep going!

19. Mongolia

Mutton – If you take a trip to Mongolia, you’ll soon realise that the cuisine heavily consists of meat products – in particular, mutton. You might eat mutton in dumplings or perhaps as part of a Mongolian BBQ, alongside other meat such as yak or goat. Mutton isn’t for everyone, but it deserves a place on our food map of Asia. If you do travel to Mongolia or Central Asia, you will see it on every menu.

20. Malaysia

Rendang – a rich and tender coconut beef stew that is rich and full of flavour. My favourite is beef rendang, eaten with fresh roti and steamed rice. Rendang is famous in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. Need to be inspired? Here are 5 Reasons to love Kuala Lumpur

21. Myanmar

Mohinga – A comforting noodle soup is considered one of the national dishes of Myanmar. The hot and sour fish-based broth is poured over noodles in generous bowls. This dish is usually eaten for breakfast, however, you can find it during lunch and dinner time too.

22. Nepal

Food Map of Asia Nepal

Food Map of Asia – Momos in Nepal for the win!

Momo – Delicious dumplings filled with meat, cheese or vegetables. You typically eat them steamed with a few different sauces or chutneys on the side. I loved sitting in small momo shops in Kathmandu with a cup of fresh ginger and lemon tea and a generous serve of freshly cooked Nepalese momos. Try and stop at one plateful – I dare you.

– Overland trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu – Everything you need to know

23. North Korea

Kimchi -This food is relied upon during the winter months when fresh vegetables are unavailable in North Korea. Kimchi is salted and fermented vegetables, including cabbage and Korean radish. Spring onions, garlic and ginger are commonly added. It takes a little to get used to – but you’ll find that it’s the perfect side dish to steamed rice, vegetables and grilled meats. Find out more about this unique country in our blog 7 Myths about North Korea.

24. Oman

Shuwa – a dish of slow-cooked marinated lamb or goat. The meat is coated in a mixed rub of spices, garlic and oil and then cooked slowly until it is tender and delicious. Commonly served with pilau rice – this dish is a winning combination.

25. Pakistan

best food tour in karachi

Food Map of Asia – Pakistani food is fantastic, and super spicy

Kebabs & Naan – Food map of Asia has to mention Pakistani food! There are many different kebabs to chow down on in Pakistan. My favourite during my visit was the chapli kebab. This is prepared using ground beef, mutton or chicken with various spices in the shape of a patty. Best eaten hot with naan bread or rice.

Want to know more about food in Pakistan? Read our blog Eating in Pakistan – The best food tour of Karachi.

26. Philippines

Adobo – This dish is sticky and delicious and I love it. Essentially, it’s chicken, meat or seafood which has been braised in vinegar, soy sauce and lots of garlic. The addition of brown sugar and black pepper creates a yummy sauce – perfect with fresh green vegetables and steamed rice.

27. Russia

Pelmeni – I’m a huge fan of these dumplings of Russian and Kazakh cuisine. Pelmeni is traditionally filled with ground beef, pork or lamb, and served with red-wine vinegar, black pepper, and melted butter. Mushroom, sauerkraut, and vegetable fillings exist in other regions of Russia. You can also serve these in a home-cooked chicken broth, with sour cream, or stir through a simple tomato-based sauce.

28. Syria

Hummus – I’m told that the secret to Syrian hummus is the freshly roasted chickpeas. I’m a big fan of eating hummus in this region of the world – there is something so warming sitting down to some freshly baked bread, a plate of hummus and a cup of strong tea. Bliss. Here is How to travel to Syria – Everything you need to know.

29. Saudi Arabia

Kabsa –  a mixed rice dish that originates here but is commonly regarded as a national dish in many Arab states of the Persian Gulf. The dish is made with marinated, slow-cooked meat and fragrant rice. Best served with some raita and salad on the side, and do as the locals do – eat it with your hand. (right hand only please). If you interested in our personal experience in Suadi Arabia, check out our blog about my visit to Saudi Arabia – It’s not what I expected.

30. Singapore

Chilli Crab – A world renowned dish on our food map of Asia list and also the signature seafood dish in Singapore: hard-shelled crabs cooked in a wonderful, sweet, salty, spicy tomato sauce. Half the fun is cracking into the crab legs and using this to scoop the delicious sauce into your mouth. Best eaten with the hands alongside steamed rice or steamed bao buns.

Our 7 Amazing Reasons to Travel to Singapore will point you in the right direction for amazing food.

31. Sri Lanka

Rice & Curry – The national dish of Sri Lanka, these guys take ‘rice and curry’ to the next level. Talk about colourful and packed full of flavour. You’ll be served a big heap of steamed rice and you can choose from a bunch of other wonderful curries to fill your plate. Listen up, vegetarians – Sri Lanka will be foodie heaven for you. So good! 

32. South Korea

Korean BBQ – Just walking along the food-packed streets of Seoul, the aroma of Korean BBQ fills the air. Students, friends and families can be seen in small groups inside restaurants laughing, drinking and chowing down on delicious marinated meats and vegetables which you grill yourself. There is nothing quite like cooking your own Korean BBQ – and the flavour they get into this food is next level.

33. Tajikistan

Qurutob – Lamb with fatir bread and yoghurt sauce – this is a lovely baked dish. Many versions of this dish can be made using just vegetables, but we like the addition of roasted lamb.

– A feast to remember with local women of Tajikistan

34. Thailand

Food Map of Asia Thailand

Food Map of Asia – Our favourite cuisine is Thai.

Pad Thai – Is there anything more comforting than a big plate of fresh wok-tossed Pad Thai? A stir-fried rice noodle dish commonly served as a street food staple. You can also find more refined versions of this dish in fine restaurants in Thailand too. Essentially, pad thai is stir-fried rice noodles with your choice of either shrimp, chicken, or tofu – then crushed peanuts, a scrambled egg and bean sprouts are added. It all comes together with the addition of fish sauce, lime, tamarind sauce and soy sauce. It also features on our list of The 5 best street foods in Asia. 

Don’t miss our 26 Best Tips for Travelling in Thailand!

35. Turkmenistan

Shurpa – A meat and vegetable soup, very popular in other ‘Stans’ too. It is prepared using mutton, flour, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, carrots, bay leaves and salt and pepper. Best served with a generous dollop of sour cream. Perfect for those chilly days in this unique country. More about our experience here Turkmenistan – Where are all the people

36. Taiwan

Gua Bao – Taiwanese pork belly buns that I absolutely cannot get enough of. Super soft, fluffy steamed buns that are packed full of flavour. I love the nutty taste with soft, braised pork belly, sweet peanuts, sour fried mustard greens and the freshness of fresh coriander. Learn more about Taiwan food in Our food bible of Taiwan.

37. Uzbekistan

Plov – Plov is the most popular dish of Uzbekistan, consisting of meat, rice, onion and carrots. The end result is a plateful of fragrant rice and meat which is super soft. This is all cooked slowly in a traditional cast-iron kazan (a huge cauldron). Not sure about this region? You can find out more here – What is Central Asian food?

38. Vietnam

best street foods in asia

Food Map of Asia – Pho noodle soup in Vietnam is delicious, and healthy too.

Pho – One of the most iconic soups in the world. A combination of light, flavourful broth made with spices like cinnamon, star anise and cardamom. Add some rice noodles, a few slices of meat, fresh Vietnamese mint and fresh lime – and you’ve got yourself a lovely soup.

39. Yemen

Mandi – A delicious dish made using chicken or lamb – the secret is in the spice mix used to marinate and rub the meat. This is then slow-cooked and served with flavourful rice with sultanas and toasted nuts to add texture.

– What’s it really like to visit Socotra Island in Yemen

You made it! So that is our Food Map of Asia and 39 dishes that you need to try. Have you tasted a specific dish in these countries that you absolutely loved? Tell us your favourite meal or snack in the comments below.

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