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10 Must-Try Asian Dishes for Food Travelers

Asian food

Embark on a tantalizing culinary adventure through Asia, where each dish tells a story of tradition, flavor, and culture. From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the enchanting island of Bali, and the cosmopolitan city-state of Singapore to the vibrant markets of Seoul, Asian cuisine offers a myriad of must-try dishes for food travelers. Indulge in the quintessential Pad Thai in Thailand, savor the succulent Babi Guling in Bali, and delight in the simplicity of Hainanese Chicken Rice in Singapore. Venture into Vietnam for a taste of aromatic Pho, experience the charm of dim sum in China, and ignite your palate with the fiery flavors of kimchi in South Korea. Don’t miss iconic dishes like Tom Yum Goong in Thailand, Nasi Goreng in Indonesia, and sushi in Japan. And to satisfy your sweet cravings, indulge in the heavenly Mango Sticky Rice from Thailand. Join us on this culinary odyssey and discover the diverse and delectable flavors of Asia.

1. Pad Thai (Thailand) – Our first stop on this culinary voyage takes us to the vibrant streets of Bangkok, where the aroma of sizzling woks fills the air. One cannot visit Thailand without indulging in a plate of Pad Thai, a quintessential street food favorite. This stir-fried noodle dish is bursting with flavors, featuring tender rice noodles tossed with shrimp, tofu, bean sprouts, and crushed peanuts, all bathed in a tangy tamarind sauce. Pair it with a refreshing Thai iced tea for the perfect combination of sweet and savory.

2. Babi Guling (Bali, Indonesia) – Next, we journey to the enchanting island of Bali, where culinary delights await around every corner. One dish that stands out among the rest is Babi Guling, a traditional Balinese feast fit for a king. This succulent dish features roasted suckling pig, marinated in a blend of local spices and served with accompaniments such as steamed rice, crispy pork skin, and spicy sambal. Each bite is a symphony of flavors, showcasing the skill and expertise of Balinese chefs. Be sure to include this culinary masterpiece in your Bali packages for an unforgettable dining experience.

3. Hainanese Chicken Rice (Singapore) – As we make our way to the cosmopolitan city-state of Singapore, a culinary melting pot awaits. One dish that has become synonymous with Singaporean cuisine is Hainanese Chicken Rice. Tender poached chicken is served with fragrant rice, accompanied by chili sauce and ginger paste. The simplicity of this dish belies its exquisite flavor, making it a must-try for any food traveler exploring the streets of Singapore. Don’t forget to add this dish to your Singapore package for a taste of culinary bliss.

4. Pho (Vietnam) – Our journey continues to Vietnam, where the aroma of simmering broth beckons us to sample one of the country’s most beloved dishes: Pho. This flavorful noodle soup features thinly sliced beef or chicken, rice noodles, and a fragrant broth infused with herbs and spices. Garnish your bowl with fresh bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime wedges, and chili peppers for an explosion of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.

5. Dim Sum (China) – No culinary journey through Asia would be complete without a taste of dim sum, the quintessential Cantonese tradition of small, bite-sized dishes served with tea. From delicate dumplings filled with pork or shrimp to steamed buns stuffed with barbecue pork, the options are endless. Head to a bustling dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong or Guangzhou and feast on a variety of savory and sweet treats that are sure to delight your palate.

6. Kimchi (South Korea) – As we venture into South Korea, prepare to experience the fiery flavors of kimchi, a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables, typically cabbage or radishes, seasoned with chili pepper, garlic, ginger, and other spices. This spicy and tangy condiment is a staple of Korean cuisine, served with almost every meal. Sample different varieties of kimchi as you explore the bustling markets and street food stalls of Seoul and beyond.

7. Tom Yum Goong (Thailand) – Returning to Thailand, we must not overlook the iconic Tom Yum Goong, a spicy and sour soup that is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. This flavorful broth is infused with lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, chili peppers, and fresh shrimp, creating a harmonious balance of heat and tanginess. Served piping hot with a steaming bowl of rice, Tom Yum Goong is sure to warm your soul and awaken your senses.

8. Nasi Goreng (Indonesia) – Another Indonesian classic that deserves a spot on every food traveler’s itinerary is Nasi Goreng, a fragrant and flavorful fried rice dish that is a staple of Indonesian cuisine. Made with cooked rice stir-fried with shallots, garlic, tamarind, chili, and kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), Nasi Goreng is often topped with a fried egg and accompanied by crispy shallots, cucumber slices, and prawn crackers. Sample this hearty dish at a local warung (small eatery) or street food stall for an authentic taste of Indonesia.

9. Sushi (Japan) – No list of Asian dishes would be complete without mentioning sushi, the iconic Japanese delicacy that has captured the hearts and taste buds of food lovers around the world. Whether you prefer traditional nigiri topped with fresh fish or creative rolls filled with a variety of ingredients, sushi offers a feast for the senses. Visit a sushiya (sushi restaurant) in Tokyo or Osaka and embark on a culinary adventure through the flavors of Japan.

10. Mango Sticky Rice (Thailand) – We conclude our culinary journey with a sweet treat from the Land of Smiles: Mango Sticky Rice. This popular Thai dessert features ripe mango slices served atop a bed of sticky rice drizzled with coconut milk and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. The combination of sweet mango, creamy coconut milk, and sticky rice is simply irresistible, making it the perfect way to end a meal or satisfy your sweet tooth any time of day.

This post was written for Carlsbad Food Tours.

Asian Dishes in Carlsbad include:

  • GonzO Ramen is a great place to enjoy some unique and delicious ramen noodles. The staff are friendly and attentive, and the atmosphere is cozy and relaxed. There’s also a variety of great dishes on the menu, including bowls, takoyaki, and gyoza.
  • Yoshino: This unpretentious daytime nook serves up classic Japanese poke bowls and sushi rolls. The food is high quality, and the owner is friendly and welcoming.
  • Harumama Noodles + Buns – Carlsbad:  Asian-fusion restaurant, Teriyaki & Bao

  • Chin’s Szechwan: Chinese restaurant

  • P.F. Chang’s : A family-friendly chain offering creative takes on Asian fare .

  • Benihana: A hibachi chain that offers Japanese cuisine prepared by skilled chefs
  • Hooked on Sushi is a sushi restaurant with an eclectic and modern desi
  • Overseas Restaurant

    Chinese specialties and vegan dishes

  • Carlsbad Food Tours is A Party on the Move!

We plan it, You enjoy! A 3-Hour guided walking tour with 6 tasting locations for food, wine and or beer! Come learn about Carlsbad’s history, culture and architecture while eating your way through our seaside village. Corporate Private Group Experiences are also available upon request for team building events! Gift Cards for our food tours make great experience gifts for the holidays!

Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce Podcast: Carlsbad Food Tours


Woman-Veteran-owned business!

Cherimarie loves showcasing the delicious food, deep-rooted history, and unique culture Carlsbad has to offer!

And guess what?  By taking a tour with us, you’re helping support local Carlsbad businesses and charities.

Let us break bread together!

Food is the ingredient that binds us together. It is the constant that unites all people.  It’s the nourishment of the soul that helps to connect us to our own cultures and beliefs as well as others, bridging gaps in society.

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