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Arguably, Chinese cuisine has become the most prominent of all Asian styles of cooking, with several different styles based on region -- the most basic difference being between northern and southern styles of Chinese cuisine.Southern dishes emphasize freshness and tenderness while due to the colder weather, northern dishes are relatively oily and the use of vinegar and garlic tends to be more popular.
Comparing the three cuisines with each other, we notice that curries are very important to the cuisines of the southeast and southwest, less so in the northeast.Another difference is rather than adding a ground powder to a dish (as is common in the U.S.), Asian cooks, especially in the southeast region, prepare spice blends though various techniques including blending whole spices and freshly grinding them, and preparing curry blends.In contrast, Japanese cooking came to emphasize the frequent use of deep-frying (i.e., tempura, etc.) using vegetable oil or conversely, raw foods (i.e., sushi and sashimi).In Korea, much of the tradition cuisine is centered on grilling or sauteing and the use of hot chili spices (i.e., , etc.).Since those very early beginnings, cooking has become almost an art form but still remains a fundamental part of our everyday lives.
Although many Asian cultures share the tradition of gathering the family or clan together to socialize or celebrate over a big meal, the various cultures of Asia each developed their own ethnic cuisine through the interaction of history, environment, and culture.
The widely-accepted belief was that because knives were associated with war and death, Confucius urged his followers not to use them at the dinner table, which supposedly led to the invention of chopsticks as a substitute.
Asian food is generally a blend of several tastes together -- sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and bitter.
In addition to rice, southwestern cuisines are supplemented with a variety of leavened and unleavened breads while southeast and northeast cuisines add noodles made from rice, egg, or potatoes (remember, pasta was invented in China).
Garlic and ginger are used in all three cuisine areas, while chilies are much more common in the southwest and southeast.
Finally, the third major dietary culture of Asia is the southeast style, which includes Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei.