An Asian Cuisine Adventure
We have come to an age where food has truly become one of the defining factors when it comes to the culture of a country. From one generation to the next one, the tradition of cooking as an art has been passed down with the addition of the modern twists,
We have come to an age where food has truly become one of the defining factors when it comes to the culture of a country. From one generation to the next one, the tradition of cooking as an art has been passed down with the addition of the modern twists, with no sense of loss in the admiration its beauty attracts.
We wanted to explore the Asian Food Culture of different Asian countries and truly experience how these practices were brought to Nepal, how their art is showcased here, and what they have in store for us when it comes to their art of food.
The Vietnamese culture has always attracted me to its exquisite art and culture, especially in its ambiance and its food. To explore this beautiful culture through the taste of its wonders, we started our Asian food adventure as Pho 99.
The whole mood of the place, from the light music playing through the peaceful silences, to the bits and pieces of plants all around under the yellow lights fading in with the dark wood, I felt like I was in a different time and space.
Goi Du Du (Green Papaya Salad)
The first dish we were served with was this uniquely presented Green Papaya Salad, or as they like to call it in Vietnam 'Goi Du Du. From the look of it, already, I was excited to dig in. The Salad was in this noodle-like texture, and the little papaya seeds complimented the whole dish, lusciously garnished with mint leaves, radish, carrot, and slices of tomatoes. Absolutely appealed by the look of it, I, impatiently, took my first bite. And let me tell you, I was truly surprised in the most delicious way possible. With the first taste, I was quickly hit by the sweetness of it. The whole salad-being-sweet idea amazed me while I was happily chewing on its wet but crunchy rest of it. Right after the sweetness sensation passed by, the tangy, hot, and sour taste of it came in. This was the part that made me love this specific dish and was exactly what I was missing like 30 seconds ago. Overall, I had never had anything like this before and the first impression of Goi Du Du already made it to win my heart and my love for foreign good.
Pho Ga (Chicken Pho)
The classic 'Pho Ga', meaning Chicken Pho, then came to take on the serving table. I couldn't help but admire the unique and alluring presentation of the dish in general, how every ingredient had space in the spotlight while swimming in the soup of the bowl. I took my time to take in my excitement and slowly mixed together all the ingredients using a chopstick, watching them entangled with each other somewhere along with the soup. I was amused by the unfamiliar texture of the noodle, and the rest of the ingredients with the noodles, as I was easily slipping in the noodle in my mouth. However, the soup of the pho was my favorite part. I was already imagining how I could eat this soup every day and still not get tired of it. I felt lifted in a sense. It was simple yet satisfying and filling enough to leave me with a beautiful impression of the Vietnamese delight.
Suong Heu Non-Nuong Sa (pork Ribs)
Then, the second dish 'Suong Heu Non-Nuong Sa', also known as Pork Ribs, was served. The shiny, juicy, and roasted surface texture of the ribs had already watered my mouth with the first look. I knew right then that I am going to love this particular dish. The ribs slices were neatly placed in a diagonal line, garnished, and served with green onion, salads, and aachar on the side. I quickly took a rib and dug in right away. The first chewy bite filled me with its smokey, juicy hot, and sweet taste. I absolutely loved it. The subtle taste of the sweet sauce and the flavourful taste of the ribs itself defined the entire dish to be such a good and satisfying experience.
Growing up, the Japanese culture and lifestyle have always had such a dazzling effect in my eyes. There’s just something about their authentic way of presenting their art that aspires to me. And obviously, the food is no less. From childhood series and cartoons especially, Japanese food has always seemed to make such a luscious and alluring impression and built this deep curiosity to experience them in real life one day.
We stopped by Yum Yum, Jhamsikhel and tried three of its delight during our Japanese cultural expedition. The happy yellow wood and bright light reflecting on the contrasting colors spread through the place was what welcomed us that day. I couldn’t help but be astounded on the inside looking around at how pretty and detailed everything was, how there was a reflection of the modern, as well as traditional Japanese culture in every corner.
The first dish that was served succeeded to win my heart in the first look of it. ‘Khazan Maki’ as they called it, where sushi rolls were stacked up onto one another and topped up with fruity sugar bits. As I put the first roll in my mouth with my naive chopstick skills and shaky hands out of excitement, the sweet, fruity taste hit me and I already loved it. Little did I know the delightful taste of the entire dish would be my favorite part. The light and sweet texture of the seaweed blanketing the sticky rice and all the other ingredients tucked in, it was a wonderful food experience for me. I couldn’t get enough of the fruitiness mixed with the light flavor of it.
The second dish, Chicken Bao, was something I’d never heard of before. It was almost too appealing to take a bite as I took a good look at it. The chicken was gracefully tucked in between the ‘bao’, I already knew that this would taste amazing by the saucy and juicy look of the chicken itself. I quickly grabbed it like a sandwich and took a big-boy bite. The thick fluffy texture of the bao with the hot, sweet juicy chicken taste, was honestly one of the favorite things I have had. There was just something about the unique look and feel that that made the entire dish really special. It is such a perfect thing to have on the side with your main dish and still enjoy it to the fullest.
Chicken pepper pepper sticky rice
Lastly, ‘Chicken pepper pepper sticky rice’ was served to the table. The sizzling sound of the dish is what welcomed itself to our list. I could see how the presentation of the whole dish was enough to appetize the whole experience before the first bite. The chicken slices, yellow and red pepper slices, tofu slices were neatly angled on the surface and topped with its sauce. The continuous steam coming out of the hotdish pulled me to become restless to have the first bite of it. I slowly mixed up all the ingredients with the sauce to blend in with the sticky brown rice underneath it all, the star of the show. As I took my first spoon, with as many ingredients as I could fit in one, the enticing flavor of how the spices of the sauce complimented the overall flavor of the entire dish. I found myself delightfully enjoy every bite of it, it was something new with a little bit of nostalgia in it in some way.
Today, The Korean culture has had such a major influence in modern Nepal in almost every sector, from fashion to food. The lift of Korean music and Korean dramas has made it so much more transparent in our local young society, inclining our young minds towards its art in different ways.
Finally, we went ahead to live the Korean food dream all the way to Hankook Sarang. The busy yet beautiful Koren Spirit had already lifted me to a curious mood of how this experience was going to be like. But over everything, I was more than excited to try new things and experience what Korean food really has to offer.
You can never go wrong with noodles, no matter what kind. The first dish served was ‘Cheese Donkas’, this delicious-looking bowl of noodles with a thick, appetizing, layer of cheese on the top, sprinkled with spring onions to finish off with the savory presentation. Just by the look and the smell of it, it was captivating enough for me to dig right in. Although my questionable chopstick skills weren’t on my side at the moment, I was getting restless to shove it in my mouth. I took a slippery hold of the noodles covered with cheese and took my first bite. And let me tell you, as someone who frequently enjoys a good bowl of noodles with as many spices I can bear, I was already head over heels for these particular ones. With the first bite, I could already taste all the flavors of the spices mixed together with the taste of the cheese, and I loved it. Little did I know how adding a little bit of kimchi on the second bite would make it taste ten times better than it already was. I could imagine myself eating this every day and my tongue still not getting tired of the taste. It now only took me minutes to gobble up the entire bowl with more surprises of texture and flavors along the way. Overall, I absolutely loved the taste, as well as the after taste of it, would definitely try this particular dish again.
The second dish was of course a must-have course, the classic, ‘Kimbab’. Growing up, the whole idea and look of kimbabs fascinated me in a different way and I was always keen to try it out at least once in my life. There is just something different about this particular dish that makes it so appealing to our eyes, maybe it is so because it is almost the opposite of what the Nepali food culture has shaped us all our lives, in a sense. The black and white food wonder came to take on our table. I saw myself take a minute and just admire the entire aesthetic of the ‘kimbab’ itself, how the black seaweed neatly tucked in the white sticky rice with slices of carrot, cucumbers, and many other ingredients in the middle. As I awkwardly put a slice in my mouth, the enticing light sweet taste of the sticky rice filled me as the pleasant taste of the middle ingredients and seaweed started coming forth. I really enjoyed how the lightness of the entire dish is what made me love it the most, like the perfect option for a soft yet satisfying snack on a good rainy day. I thoroughly took in how much internally satisfied my long love for food was, making the entire experience so much more close to my heart.
Jjajanmea Black bean saucennoodles
The last dish, Jjajanmea Black bean saucennoodles, was served to the table next. It was truly a new experience for me as I had never had, or even seen, something like this before. I observed the soya color of the soup with a mixture of different ingredients, from pork meat pieces to mushrooms, vegetables and so many more, as it was elegantly garnished with green spring onions. I was really excited to know how it tastes as my curious taste buds started watering on the inside. As I gently stirred through the bowl, I noticed the flat noodle that was initially hidden underneath, slowly come together with all the other ingredients in the bowl. I recklessly took a hold of the noodles in my chopsticks again and slurped in all the wonders that could fit in my mouth at once. The rich salty soya taste of the soup circling all the exquisite flavors of each individual ingredient with the soft and light taste of the noodles, I was stunned in a way. I loved how all the ingredients come together so well and the soya sauce just took the whole dish to a new level. In the end, it was the overall savory flavor that topped up all the flavors and left this absolutely tasty after-taste for me to take home.