Cooking classifies as one of the oldest activities carried out by humans. During the hunter-gatherer stage of human evolution, cooking simply involved killing something and putting it into the fire to cook. Very simple spices and cooking dishes were used and their diet itself was not very varied. Today, cooking has evolved to be more of an art form but is still an essential part of our daily lives.
Many Asian cultures believe that the entire family should get together and sit for a big meal occasionally so that they could socialize and celebrate something. The Asian dietary culture is separated into three main categories by anthropologists and culinary historians. One of those styles is known as the Southwest style that originates from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Burma. Even though the roots of the famous ‘naan’ came from the Arabian culture, it became widespread in these countries along with kebabs and mutton. In addition, strong spices such as hot pepper, cloves and black pepper are used to make the food tastier.
Another major dietary Asian culture is the Northeast style that covers China, Japan and Korea. In this tradition, the use of oils, fats and sauces in cooking was much emphasized. Moreover, the spices and seasoning used in foods are also used as medications for a strong and healthy life. Food also became used in the Northeastern dietary culture as an offering to worship ancestors. The Chinese cuisine, without a doubt, has become the most popular from all Asian cooking styles. The third category of dietary culture in Asia is the Southeast style. This style includes foods from Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei. This region emphasizes on aromatic and light foods with a balanced mixture of stir fry, steaming, and boiling. This cuisine is also supplemented with separate spices and seasonings like basil herbs, citrus juice, mint and cilantro. In addition, the Southeastern culture prefers to use more of fish sauce, tamarind, galangal and lemon grass for flavor instead of soy sauce used by the Northeastern culture.
Along with the interesting Asian cuisines, the Westerners were also introduced with interesting tools with which the dishes should be prepared. The most important of these is the ‘Wok’ which is widely used in South East Asia and China. The Wok was invented as a substitute to buying several differently sized cooking pans. A Wok has a rounded bottom and is able to provide many different cooking temperatures in just one pan. The ‘Cleaver’ is another all in one cooking instrument that performs the function of knives and other common utensils used in the Western kitchen. In addition to that, the famous Chinese philosopher introduced the ‘Chopstick’ as a substitute to knives because knives were linked with war and blood.
Overall, Asian food is a blend of several tastes together. It includes salty, spicy, sweet, sour and bitter varieties. Asian cooks prepare their spice blends by freshly grinding whole spices. Furthermore, Asian cuisine prefers a mixture of flavors and textures within a single dish. Finally, rice and noodle dishes usually have a topping of something crunchy – like nuts, or something soft – like raisins.