In the United States, when people talk about going out to an Asian restaurant, they are usually either talking about Chinese, Japanese, or some sort of Asian-American fusion. These cuisines are delicious and fun to experience — there is no doubt about that. But they are just a small sampling of what the various Asian cuisines have to offer. Each cuisine, from each different country, has its own characteristics. Here are a few lesser-known Asian cuisines (at least in the United States) and a look at what each one involves.
If you like hearty, bold food, then Korean cuisine is a great choice for you. Like most Asian cuisines, it incorporates a lot of rice and meats. However, the meats are often barbecued and dressed with heavy sauces rather than being stir-fried. Koreans make a number of soups and stews, and soup is often served as a main course rather than as an appetizer. A good soup to try is gomguk, which is made with beef and beef intestines. Korean noodle dishes, like onmyeon, are also worth trying. Onmyeon is served with a hot, clear broth.
If you come across a restaurant that serves Taiwanese cuisine, it's certainly worth visiting. This cuisine is simple, and most dishes only contain a few ingredients. However, those ingredients are very flavorful, like pork belly and mushrooms. A popular Taiwanese dish is oyster pancakes, which are made with a simple rice dough, oysters, and a sweet and sour sauce. Oysters vermicelli, a dish made with tiny pasta, pork intestines, and oysters, is another good choice. Taiwan is on the water, so a lot of the country's dishes have evolved to contain seafood.
Lao has never been a very wealthy country, and as such, its cuisine has evolved to use a lot of vegetables, which can be grown in small gardens. You'll find dishes made with bamboo shoots, cucumber, chili peppers, and neem. A popular dish is called Jaew mak khua; it is a dip made from roasted eggplant. Another popular dish is called Som phak kad, which is pickled greens. Meat is often served in smaller amounts on the side of these dips and stewed vegetables. It is often steamed in banana leaves.
If you ever get the chance to try Korean, Taiwanese, or Laotian cuisine in the United States, take advantage of it! These cuisines are delightful, and you'll love the new experience.