Asian cooking and Asia:
Finding satisfaction, comfort, and supreme pleasure at the table
doesn’t ...... always happen. But when that happens, we
have discovered nirvana.
I argue that people hooked on Asian foods stand the best chance
of finding that state of bliss, for Asian cooking has it all.
Everyone must know by now about its freshness, its magical flavors
and textures, and its vivid colors. About its grills, stir-fries,
and steamed delights.
Those hesitant about eating Asian food should shed notions that
Oriental ingredients and meals are too unfamiliar. Start with
small steps—an artistic serving of temperate corn and chicken
soup or a scoop of mild and beguiling Burmese pork curry with
rice. From this humble beginning, take that final plunge into
a world of brilliant flavors—often hot, usually complex,
and always well conceived.
Rejoice in the sensual beauty of foods that are brushed with contrasting
flavors before grilling or stewing—that present a spectrum
of crunchy textures offset by the smoothness of cooked rice or
the chewiness of rice noodles. That melds both complementary and
contrasting colors for eye appeal. That offer a range of dishes
from delicate barbecued satays to rib-sticking soups and stews,
all at one meal.
Get comfortable with unusual names, though of course, by now,
most non-Asians are familiar with Indian and Thai curries, Japanese
miso soups, and Vietnamese phos (main-dish soups). But take it
from a dedicated Asiaphile, these are only at the very surface
of the great Asian tureen.
For example, what a lovely and tranquil way to begin mornings:
a bowl of steaming Chinese congee (rice soup), embellished with
shreds of stir-fried pork and sprinkles of soy sauce. This soupy
rice serves as a blank canvas for you, the culinary artist, to
shape at will. Perhaps, instead, you choose slivers of hoisin-roasted
duck; quartered hard-boiled eggs tinted with soy sauce; strips
of green and red chilies and snippets of fresh coriander and scallions;
or splashes of plum sauce and steamed fish as your brushstrokes.
What could be a more satisfying way to dine than with this Thai
soup favorite, “Burmese” Noodles? It’s more
than a bowl of chicken soup with noodles: It’s a multi-ingredient
labor of love that comes to your table sprinkled with rose petals.
This exquisite feast produces its own culinary magic and spellbound
guests will shrug off daily responsibilities to enjoy a leisurely—and
In Asia, food has always meant a celebration of life and its many
rituals. Even today despite modern pressures, mealtime brings
together family and friends to enjoy companionship and laughter.
And they come together over dishes that are still often gastronomic
masterpieces, compositions of the freshest and best ingredients
prepared with love and skill.
May everyone experience and share that Asian love of beautiful
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