Inside Scoop: A list of the best vegetarian dishes in Asia to try.
This post was submitted by Emmanuel Domingo, blogger and a wannabe chef at eatlikepinoy.com.
Look for the best vegetarian dishes in the world and you’ll find most of them in Asia.
Maybe the East really is the home of vegetarian dishes contrary to how others view this part of the world. It’s where most tourists go to find the best exotic dishes, right? But, have you tried its greener side?
Here’s a list of the best vegetarian dishes in Asia:
1. Buddha’s Delight – (China)
Commonly enjoyed by Buddhist monks, this vegetarian dish is also popular around the world as a Chinese vegetarian cuisine. It is an undemanding dish to prepare. With the process only involving preparing a soy sauce based dressing, blanching then finally cooking the vegetables in the sauce, it is a convenient go-to dish any time of the day for anyone who enjoys vegetables.
Recipe: Dinner at the Zoo
2. Chopsuey: Tofu & Shiitake Mushrooms – (Philippines)
This dish is a version of Chopsuey which is a part of many cultures around the world, especially in the Asian regions. It is believed to have been invented by Chinese Americans. It consists of vegetables, eggs and meat like fish, shrimp and pork.
There are actually interesting myths pertaining to how this dish came about in history involving Chinese Americans and drunken miners.
Chopsuey: Tofu & Shiitake Mushrooms takes a different approach to cooking this historical dish by aiming the spotlight on tofu and shiitake mushrooms as the meat of the vegetable mix.
Recipe: Kawaling Pinoy
3. Ginataang Puso ng Saging – (Philippines)
Puso ng Saging or in English, Banana Bud; with a literal translation, Puso ng Saging translates to “heart of a banana.”
Well, maybe this translation holds some truth. This dish is good for the heart and offers other astonishing benefits. It may offer comfort for infections, improve lactation and helps to manage blood sugar levels.
And, it only requires two main ingredients: coconut milk and banana bud.
Recipe: Panlasang Pinoy
4. Vegetarian Pho – (Vietnam)
Pho! It’s the national soup of Vietnam! If you are wishing to try Asian vegetarian dishes, you shouldn’t skip out Vegetarian Pho. This broth is filled with herbs, shiitake mushrooms, rice noodles, bean sprouts, peppers, onions, lime and other spices.
This vegetarian version of the national soup of Vietnam is one of the healthiest ways to heat up a cold December season.
Recipe: Cookie and Kate
5. Ensaladang Talong – (Philippines)
Ensaladang Talong or Eggplant Salad is a very simple dish in the Philippines mostly paired with fried tilapia and daing na bangus. It’s three main ingredients are: eggplant, onions and tomatoes. The salad is soaked in vinegar and topped with fermented krill (fermented krill or shrimp paste is optional).
It only takes under ten minutes to prepare this dish with only undemanding, easy steps. Fathers like to keep this on a table with a light beer session with friends and family. How about a healthy bonding time plus a beer, now that’s a dream come true.
Recipe: Eat Like Pinoy
6. Malai Kofta – (India)
Unlike most vegetarian meals, this one from India actually involves a lot of effort to cook. However, the process it takes is deemed worth its creamy goodness. It features meatballs that aren’t meat, but veggies… “vegetaballs?”
The dish also packs some weight; It’s hearty as they say, so if you’re looking for a vegetarian dish that will keep you full for a whole day, this is it. They call them Koftas in India and they’re made with potatoes, a mix of vegetables, paneer cheese, heavy cream and a mix of spices.
Recipe: The Spruce Eats
7. Ochazuke – (Japan)
A purely vegetarian dish, it is also a unique Japanese food on its own. When you think green tea is only drank in a cup, Ochazuke surprises you. This simple yet exciting food takes shape by pouring green tea on white rice. Then, it is topped with vegetables: pickles, sesame seeds, wasabi and salmon.
Japanese moms prepare this dish as a comfort food for kids as well as to aid an aching stomach and heartburn. Imagine that! Green tea as a comfort food?
Recipe: Just One Cookbook
8. Roasted Cauliflower Curry – (Pakistan)
This vegetarian curry doesn’t seem vegetarian at all. It’s sweet, spicy and healthy. It came specifically from Rabia, Pakistan and was first cooked the way it’s called.
Roasting cauliflower? It may sound like a disaster in the kitchen, but this is very crucial in giving this dish its unique and yummy taste.
Curry is one the most favoured healthy types of food because of the anti-inflammatory spices and herbs that go in it.
Recipe: Hurry the Food Up
9. Raw Vegan Pad Thai – (Thailand)
Typically a stir-fried noodle dish that’s served in Thailand, this is a revamped version that’s gluten-free, grain-free and full of flavour with a delicious peanut sauce.
Recipe: Naughty Nutrition
10. Shiitake Yakitori – (Japan)
In Japan, this is their version of vegetarian BBQ. Instead of animal meat skewered on a stick, it’s shiitake mushrooms.
They’re cooked the same way as traditional pork BBQ. A special sauce is prepared, then the mushrooms are roasted on a grill while basted with the tare sauce. The tare sauce is made with soy sauce, sugar and other spices.
If you’re a mushroom lover, you definitely should try this!
Recipe: Tasty Kitchen
Yes, they exist! And there you go, just the best vegetarian dishes in Asia. If you are ever going to visit Asia, make sure to bring this list up again. You might end up eating in a Japanese restaurant. Then, that’ll be your chance to taste the delicious Shiitake Yakitori. Enough with that pork! How about some mushrooms?
One more thing: All these dishes are easy to cook at home. So to all the moms who are reading this, why not take note of these specific dishes and let your children taste healthy, Asian dishes.
Emmanuel here, a frustrated blogger and a wannabe chef at eatlikepinoy.com. I really Iove Food (who does not!?) and love cooking as well! I wanna share this interest with my son, whom I hope will grow up healthy and will have a good palate to know how to make delicious dishes.