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Slideshow: Authentic Asian Cuisine

Once considered exotic, these national dishes from the Far East have gained in mainstream popularity. Try stirring up a recipe or two yourself

Popular Asian Dishes

En español | A world of Asian cuisine has opened up our culinary awareness in the past few decades. Sweet-and-sour pork and teriyaki chicken are yesterday. Here are 12 of today’s popular national dishes from across the Pacific.

Jacob Snavely/Getty Images

Bibimbap (Korea)

Bibimbap is a popular Korean dish that translates to “mixed rice,” an apt description. The ingredients include sauteed vegetables, grilled meat and red chili pepper paste, along with a fried (or raw) egg, placed on top of fresh hot rice in a bowl. The diner mixes it together and enjoys the explosion of flavor.

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Sukiyaki (Japan)

Sukiyaki is a traditional Japanese hot-pot dish cooked at the table, with meat, vegetables, tofu and noodles (usually clear mountain yam noodles) simmered in a sweet and savory soy-sauce broth. The famous Japanese song from 1964 has nothing to do with this dish; the name was used because Westerners knew the word after World War II.

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Dim Sum (China)

The origin of this Cantonese dish dates back to when travelers along the Silk Road would take a respite to drink tea. Tea was served with small portions of food — which has evolved into modern-era dim sum, a cornucopia including dumplings, noodles, meat, vegetables and seafood brought to diners’ tables a la carte.

Karin Dreyer/Blend Images/Getty Images

Pancit (Philippines)

The culture of the Philippines reflects a diverse intersection of Asian and European history. Pancit, one of the best-known Filipino dishes, comes from the Chinese, who introduced noodles to the country. Pancit bihon, the most popular of the many varieties, includes clear rice noodles, meat, cabbage and other vegetables stir-fried with soy sauce and seasoning.

Brian Yarvin/Alamy

Pho (Vietnam)

Many Americans are familiar with pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup typically made with meat, bean sprouts, onions and hoisin sauce. Pho was invented in the early 20th century near Hanoi. When the country was divided into North and South Vietnam, pho spread south, then came to the U.S. with refugees in the 1970s-80s.

Iain Bagwell/Ocean/Corbis

Pad Thai (Thailand)

Pad Thai, the national dish of Thailand, is commonly found as street food, with all the ingredients stir-fried together in a pan. The main ingredient is soaked rice noodles, with a combination of eggs, tofu, meat or seafood (shrimp), chopped peanuts and vegetables tossed with fish sauce and other flavoring for a light, balanced taste.

Ninnicha Supagrit/Alamy

Tandoori Chicken (India)

A tandoor is a traditional South and Central Asian clay oven that adds the smoky flavor of the wood or charcoal as it cooks. Tandoori chicken is the most familiar dish served in Indian restaurants. The chicken is flavored with cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger and other spices, which add a red hue to the meat.

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Sushi and sashimi (Japan)

Sashimi and sushi are sometimes confused, but they are separate Japanese delicacies. Sashimi is sliced raw fish served with soy sauce and wasabi. Sushi is vinegared rice, served with or without sashimi. Sushi can be rolled and wrapped in seaweed and include vegetables, or be stuffed into a pouch of fried tofu skin.

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Kimchi (Korea)

Salty, sour and spicy kimchi, often cited as a super healthy dish for its vitamin-packed probiotics, is Korea’s national dish. It’s made most often of napa cabbage that’s salted and coated with chili paste, shrimp paste and fish sauce, and then fermented. It can also include or be made exclusively of cucumbers, daikon radish and green onions.

Brian Yarvin/Getty Images

Lumpia (Philippines)

It’s easily described as a Filipino egg roll. Lumpia’s origins are from the Fujian Province of China, and variations of the dish can be found throughout Southeast Asia, including Indonesia. The thinly rolled (as opposed to Vietnamese or Japanese egg rolls) lumpia can be deep-fried with ground meat and vegetables, and served with a sweet-and-sour dipping sauce.

Simon Reddy/Alamy

Banh Mi (Vietnam)

The term banh mi refers to the single-serving bread that’s a holdover of Vietnam’s French rule, but it’s also synonymous with the sandwiches served in the crusty bread. They can be made with pork, chicken, pate, sausage and even sardines. They typically also include cucumbers, cilantro, shredded carrots and daikon radish.

Rebecca Skinner

Xiao Long Bao (China)

Chinese food fans may be familiar with pot stickers — meat-filled dumplings that are either steamed or pan-fried. Xiao long bao are a Shanghai-style of dumpling  — or, more accurately, bun (“bao”) — that are small in size like chocolate kisses, and twisted together at the top. The xiao long is the bamboo steamer in which the bao is cooked.

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