You could argue that it’s a matter of taste.
Those in the Asian region love seafood and therefore like to incorporate seafood in various meals and even sweets. Case in point, the Japanese Pastry Taiyaki, which is designed to resemble the shape of a fish!
And you would be right—Asians do love their seafood. But it’s not just because the ingredient is so good on the taste buds—Asians in general like seafood more than those in the West because it’s just in their genes. What’s more, it’s in their culture and geography!
The Importance Of Seafood
Consider the position of most Asian countries on the map. What surrounds them?Oceans—whereit’s easy to catch a variety of fishes!
Not to mention that because of the wetlands, it’s far easier for them to grow corn, rice, and wheat, which they can then combine to create a delicious meal.
Back in the days when globalization wasn’t at its peak, people would eat whatever they could find around them. For most Asian countries, that meant that they had to depend mainly on seafood for nourishment.Seafood was also considered a better choice because it didn’t break any of the rules set forth by Buddhist beliefs. With the perception being that any meat consumption was forbidden, people would turn to lighter, less oily foods to give them their daily sustenance. And at the time, that was through fish and other sea products.
As a result, seafood started becoming more popular among ordinary folk, especially those who didn’t have many other sources of healthy food. With that, as with any particular ingredient, people started infusing it with every ingredient they could find.
Live octopus, fish eyes, seaweed—so many experiments led to some genuinely delicious signature Asian dishes, which the world enjoys now.
But, Stepping Away From The Region
Seafood isn’t exclusive to the Asian region.
Like with any coastal city or any country that’s surrounded by water, they took advantage of what they had—an easily-available source of food that had the right amount of protein. Seafood also didn’t require extensive time devoted to farming and raising animals.
With food already available in the seas, it was easy enough to catch from the bounty that would swim in the nearby waters.
Signature Asian Seafood Dishes
If you’re a fan of Asian food and haven’t given their seafood a try, you’re seriously missing out! Take a look at some of the most popular ones:
Sashimi is a famous Japanese delicacy. Usually served as an appetizer, the dish is made with thinly sliced raw fish and decorated with nori, cucumber, and shiso leaves.
Fun fact: In Japanese tradition, the dish is served with an odd number of sashimi pieces on a platter as an even number of pieces is considered to bring bad luck.
Another Japanese delicacy, Nagiri,is a unique sushi-dish with a thin slice of seafood meat hand-pressed on a dollop of vinegared or boiled rice.This bite-sized dish makes for a perfect appetizer;however, many prefer it as an entree as well.
The dish presents itself with a side of soy sauce and wasabi and is garnished with salted seaweed and even fried garlic upon request.
3. Chili Crab
The Singaporean chili crab is a stir-fry dish drenched in a sweet and spicy sauce. The dish presents itself with the crab’s shell making it a unique experience for the diners to crack open to reveal the soft meat inside.
The dish is particularly popular for its succulent sauce, a concoction of ginger, onions, soybeans, and shrimp paste, and is served with a side of bread, so not a single drop of this auburn gold goes to waste.
Fun fact: The Singaporean chili crab was initially a mere street food and later became the country’s national food due to its popularity!
4. Himono Fish
A popular breakfast, lunch as a late-night meal in Japan, the Himonois served in many restaurants in Japan and the United States.
The dish encompasses a variety of fish cleaned, butterflied, and marinated together to form a beautiful-looking and delicious dish. Usually paired with rice and soy sauce, the dish is presented on a bed of leafy greens to add an earthy flavor to the exotic dish.
The name tendon comes from tempura and donburi. The dish is a classic single-bowl meal that presents deep fried calamari on a bed of steamed rice. The bowl is seasoned with fresh herbs and finely chopped green onions and is drizzled with sweetened soy and umami sauce for added flavor.
The dish is traditionally enjoyed for lunch or as a late snack in the evening.
6. Mitten Crab
The Mitten Crab is a dish made with Shanghai hairy crab that is as large as an average adult’s hand. It goes by the rule of less is always more since the crab is originally sweet and flavorful. It is steamed and served whole and is meant to be eaten while it’s steaming hot.
Ironically, the steaming hot crab is believed to have a cooling effect on the body, according to ancient Chinese traditions.
Now that you’re drooling, why not make an exquisite Asian-inspired dish at home?
Give it a try!
Sushi, shrimps, crabs& scallions, seafood stews—there are potentially hundreds upon hundreds of Asian seafood recipes for us to try.
And even for anyone who doesn’t like seafood, it’s easy to bring them to the other side if you make the right recipes and buy the correct ingredients online. Services such as SFMart offer all the Asian ingredients online—Korean, Japanese, and Chinese—that can be delivered to your doorstep.
So, why not try now?
Even if you’re not a fan of seafood, there’s no reason why you can’t take the chance with an ingredient that has a region of the world as its fan base!