Culture Guide Int'l Food

Popular Asian Dishes to Try from India, Pakistan, China, Vietnam, and Thailand

There is no disputing the fact that the world has become more diverse and multicultural in its outlook and its make up. Take centuries of migration and even more recent developments in international communication, and you’ll see that globalization has brought with it benefits like the customs and cultures of different countries considerably closer to us. In America, for example, you can easily find Italian bistros, Chinese eateries, and curry houses. Likewise in countries like Lebanon, Egypt or Israel, it is no longer a case of falafel pubs on each corner. You will discover a number of pizza shops and internationally-inspired coffee houses in different streets.


In that same vein of diversity, living in America—a country historically built on immigration—you’ll find a multitude of ways to discover world cultures in your own neighborhood. Whether you’re curious about Asian foods because you’ve traveled or want to- or simply want to try it at home or at any of the internationally-inspired eateries available in your city, you’ll find cultural inspiration through food available locally. No one needs to be Asian or Asian-American these days to enjoy some of the best Asian foods in American cities like San Francisco, Houston or New York City—from Vietnamese to Indian and Pakistani, international cuisine is all around us, and of course authentic Chinese cuisine is not just in Beijing any more.

Chinatown (San Francisco, California) by ~MVI~ (warped), on Flickr
Chinatown (San Francisco, California)” (CC BY 2.0) by  ~MVI~ (warped)


So, when you decide to go out to eat with your friends, treat yourselves to any of the authentic Asian foods that can found in American cities from local business owners who express their authentic heritage and culture through food, with love. In your own neighborhood you’re bound to find cuisine from different Asian cultures. Japanese cuisine—Sushi, teriyaki, or yakitori, washed down with some traditional Japanese tea and served with some amazing side dishes, including tempura or korokke will be a fantastic treat!

Here’s some ideas for authentic Asian foods and dishes to find in your own neighborhood.

Biryani (Indian)

Nasi Kandar Pelita by LWYang, on Flickr
Nasi Kandar Pelita” (CC BY 2.0) by  LWYang 


Biryani is a favorite traditional food across south Asia and can be found in Indian restaurants. This dish is a rice-based food and can have several varieties depending on what is being cooked with the rice. Two well-known varieties are the ones from Hyderabad in the south and Lucknow in and the north. It includes numerous kinds of meat for example steak, lamb and chicken cooked with spices and rice.

Chow Mein (Chinese)

Chow Mein by DijutalTim, on Flickr
Chow Mein” (CC BY 2.0) by  DijutalTim 


This is a Chinese stir-friend noodle that comes in a lot of varieties and it’s quite popular among Chinese food lovers in America. This dish consists of onions, noodles, meat and celery, and is served as a special dish at popular Chinese restaurants.

Aloo Gosht (Pakistani)

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This dish is from Pakistan. It’s a mixture of potatoes and steak. The Aloo Gosht is a hot dish commonly served with flat bread or rice. The normal spices are red or green peppers, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper and fennel seeds. This is really a curry dish and the process of its preparation is stewing every one of the ingredients. It’s regularly served with a side of spiced yogurt.

Thai Red Curry (Thai)

Red Thai Curry with Salmon & green beans by franksteiner, on Flickr
Red Thai Curry with Salmon & green beans” (CC BY 2.0) by  franksteiner 


The Thai red curry is a favorite traditional dish from Thailand and it’s quite spicy. It is made up of a base paste, in which coconut milk is added. The base paste consists of several spices and has shrimp paste to add to the taste. You may have to search for this authentic Asian dish, otherwise you might just bump into it in one of the Asian restaurants.

Our recommendations for other Asian foods to try out in your city.

Vietnamese Won Ton Soup by Augapfel, on Flickr
Vietnamese Won Ton Soup” (CC BY 2.0) by  Augapfel

Go for Vietnamese

You’re in for a treat with noodle soups, clear hot soup (pho) with chicken or steak, seafood or chicken salads, stir fry meat or scallops with vegetables, fresh prawn rice paper rolls, grilled pork skewers, chicken with lemon grass, steamed ginger fish, stir fried mixed vegetables, jasmine rice.

If you’re up for more Chinese

Try steamed dim sims or wontons, steamed fish with black bean sauce, mix vegetables, chow mein dishes, stir fry meat, chicken or seafood dishes with vegetables, crab and corn soup, clear soup with noodles or dumplings, san choy bau, tofu tossed with vegetables, plain boiled rice, Chinese green tea, and jasmine tea.

Give Japanese a try

Go for noodles with fish, chicken or pork, noodle soups, sashimi (raw tuna or salmon), steamboat dishes, teppanyaki-style bbq, sushi nori rolls, and steamed rice.

If you want more Indian

Try dry curries of meat, chicken or vegetables, lean meat kebabs, tandoori chicken or lamb, dhal, naan and roti bread, boiled rice, cucumber and yogurt sambal.

These are just some of the authentic Asian foods to try out. If you try one and don’t like it, try another! With the many choices available to choose from, you’re bound to find one that you will absolutely enjoy.