Food Guide: Must Try Noodle Dishes in East Asia

“They say the way to start a war among Asians is to argue which country has the best noodles.”

“Let me tell you, it ain’t ramen.”

Silence.

That response certainly scratched the surface of long-term friendships and started a heated debate among whose nation has the best noodles.

I have my own favorite, but for my own security I would rather keep my mouth shut and show you noodles around Eats, I mean, East Asia. Which ones are your favorite?

Japan: Ramen

The most famous dish, the ramen needs no introduction.

Ramen has taken the whole world by storm, making it one of the best known dishes of the Japanese cuisine. this humble noodle soup came from Japan consisting of thin wheat yellow noodles, meat, vegetable, spring onions on umami-rich broth. Sometimes you can add more toppings such as nori (seaweed), soft or hard boiled egg and spices on the dish for more flavor.

Do you know that every city or village in town have their own variations of ramen? There are four major types of ramen: shio or salt-based, shoyu or soy sauce-based, miso or soybean-based and tonkotsu or pork bone broth-based.

My own favorite is the tonkotsu or the collagen soup; which is alleged to have anti-aging skin properties as well. Don’t know if that’s true, but that certainly makes me feel less guilty when downing the very fatty broth.

Homemade Japanese Pork Tonkotsu Ramen with Mushrooms and Eggs

Vietnam: Pho

Pho, pronounced ‘fuh’, is the latest craze among millennial foodies. Pho is a Vietnamese noodle dish made of beef stock and thinly sliced meats such as beef or chicken. You can add your preferred garnishes and sauces into the dish such as chili paste, hoisin sauce and lime.

Vietnamese Pho Bo soup

South Korea: Jjamppong

South Korea has a lot of noodle soup dishes, and they also have their own Korean take of the ramen where they load it with spices and put cheese in it. But I’d like to dedicate South Korea to Jjampong, a popular seafood soup that’s just as spicy as it is red!

Common ingredients include pork, squid, cabbages, carrots, mussels, onions, Korean zucchini and flavored with chili oil and gochugaru (chili powder). The dish is sure to give you a good sweat.

Singapore / Malaysia: Laksa

Hmmmm. even the thought of laksa is already making me salivate. The laksa is a spicy noodle soup of Peranakan cuisine, consisting either of spicy coconut milk or sour asam or tamarind. If you’re not used to your spice, we advise you go mild on the laksa paste–made of red chilis, shrimp paste, lemongrass and other spices–this is one that really brings the chili home.

Philippines: Batchoy

The batchoy originated in La Paz, Iloilo, hence is often referred to as the La Paz Batchoy. For a Filipino, there is nothing more comforting than a steaming bowl of batchoy on a cold, rainy night.

The humble batchoy is a noodle soup from Iloilo garnished with pork offal (liver, kidneys, heart, spleen), crushed cracklings, vegetables, and sometimes topped with raw egg.

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