Being a city with international influences, Harbin cuisine has enjoyed an infusion of European flavor over the decades. After more than a hundred years of development, Harbin Red Sausage has become a local specialty after being adapted to suit local tastes.
The main ingredients for producing Red Sausage are meat, animal casings, starch, garlic, salt and nitrate. The sausage meat generally consists of 1/2 lean pork and 1/3 pork fat, to which starch and spices are added. Harbin Red Sausage is purplish red in appearance with a uniform size and a dry surface. It’s salty with flavors of smoke and garlic, and its skin gives it a crispy texture. The sausage can be eaten on its own without preparation, and can also be used to make pizza, fried rice and noodles.
The southern flavor of Chinese sausage is commonly known by its Cantonese name lap cheong, and is distinctly different from the Harbin Red Sausage.
Just as Germany is famous for bratwurst, kielbasa is a Polish sausage and an integral part of Poland's culture and cuisine, Harbin Red Sausage is a specialty of northern China’s Heilongjiang province.
Northeastern hotpot is a culinary tradition of the Manchu people and is popular in cold regions of Northeast China. Food cooked in the hotpot has a characteristically mild and fresh taste, and is popular among locals due to its freshness, fragrance, and texture.
Northeastern hotpot uses a copper pot and charcoal fire to bring a chicken broth to a boil, after which a variety of food items such as coleslaw, vermicelli, pork, mutton, chicken, fish, pheasant, roe deer, venison, and grouse meat are added to the pot to cook. Sometimes mountain mushrooms are used to make the broth, such as hazel mushrooms, hohenbuehelia serotina, grass mushrooms, and Hailar mushrooms, etc.
The type of northeastern hotpot that is popular today is even more full of character. White meat, blood sausage, sauerkraut, and vermicelli are prepared, and the cooking pot is placed within a hole in the dining table. A brazier filled with red hot coals is then placed beneath the pot to begin the dining experience.
Shenyang is a walled city in NE China in S Manchuria, capital of Liaoning province: capital of the Manchu dynasty from 1644–1912
Dim sum is a traditional Chinese meal made up of small plates of dumplings and other assortments of seafood, meat, and vegetable dishes that are prepared in various ways: steamed, fried, or baked. Dim sum is usually accompanied by tea. Similar to the way that the Spanish eat tapas, the dishes are shared among family and friends.
The word dim sum is Cantonese and refers to small bite sized dishes that are served in bamboo steamer baskets or on small plates. The Chinese meaning of dim sum is commonly translated to “touch the heart”.
No dish in the Filipino arsenal is as emblematic of their cooking as adobo: a braise of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, black peppercorns, and bay leaves.
The modern name for the dish originates with the Spanish, who, in need of a Latin vocabulary to codify their new colony, referred to the dish as adobo de los naturales, literally “the marinade of the natives.” And native it is. Every island, province, town, and household have its own recipe. Adobo is the national umbilical cord to our earliest forebears. No matter what external influences work their way into our culture, adobo will ground us.
The earliest Filipinos would have used coconut vinegar, cane vinegar, or rice vinegar to cook and preserve their food. Salt, native to the islands, was later replaced or enhanced with soy sauce, introduced by Chinese traders. Standard adobo is made with chicken or pork, but anything can be adobo’d—squid, beef, quail, shrimp, kangkong (water spinach), catfish, tanigue (mackarel), frog legs, crickets, banana flowers, bamboo shoots. Wherever you’re from, and whatever your taste, the best adobo is almost always your mother’s.
When Chinese traders first arrived on the islands in the 9th century, they brought with them an array of noodle dishes from the homeland that have, over the years, come to be known collectively as pancit. The word comes from the phrase pian i sit, meaning “convenient food” in the Hokkien dialect spoken in Fujian. Hawkers eventually set up panciterias, Manila’s first restaurants, with Binondo as their epicenter. It is the world’s oldest Chinatown, established in 1594 when the Spanish Governor granted land to immigrant Chinese merchants who had converted to Catholicism. For 400 years, Binondo was the economic center of Manila.
Over the centuries, pancit spread throughout the islands, taking on the distinct character of each place. Made with boiled egg noodles and topped with shellfish, it’s called pancit malabon, named for the fishing town north of Manila. With thin rice noodles, sautéed and tossed with pork, chicken, shrimp, vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, and chicharon, it’s called pancit bihon, from the Hokkien term bee hoon meaning rice vermicelli. Take the same noodles, cook them in boiling water, toss in a shrimp sauce with all the toppings, add achuete powder for color, and it’s pancit palabok. (“Palabok” in Tagalog means “added flavor.”) One can go from north to south on the Philippine map and match each province to its pancit, as food historian Claude Tayag has done, calling out pancit canton, pancit sotanghon, pancit palabok, pancit habhab, pancit langlang, batchoy, udong, miki, molo, lomi.
Manila’s homegrown variation, invented in the 1920s by a Chinese immigrant called Ma Mon Luk, is called pancit mami. A faithful version of the dish—wheat flour noodles served in a clear chicken broth, topped with chicken, beef or pork, and paired with siopao (steamed pork buns)—is still served by his great-grandchildren at Masuki Mami Restaurant in Binondo.
Most pancit dishes are characteristically served with calamansi.
LUMPIA is a traditional Filipino dish. It is the Filipino version of the Chinese spring rolls. It is deep-fried and crunchy, and can be served as a side dish or as an appetizer.
The traditional cuisine of Japan is based on steamed rice with miso soup and other seasonal dishes; noodles, fish, tofu, natto, seaweed, and fresh, cooked, or pickled fruits and vegetables but low in added sugars and fats. It may also contain some eggs, dairy, or meat, although these typically make up a small part of the diet.
Japan's most internationally famous dish, sushi is also internationally misunderstood. Most people are mistaken in believing that sushi is simply raw fish. Rather, good sushi is a vigilant combination of vinegared rice, raw fish and vegetables and comes in many different forms.
There are various kinds of sushi dishes, such as nigirizushi (hand formed sushi), makizushi (rolled sushi), and chirashi (sushi rice topped with raw fish). Sushi is the most famous Japanese dish outside of Japan, and one of the most popular dishes inside Japan, as well.
Kaiseki (会席), or more accurately kaiseki-ryouri (会席料理), is a meal comprising of a series of dishes served in a specific order, usually with a minimum of 9 dishes, but depending on the price point, could be as many as fifteen dishes.
The key to the kaiseki experience is seasonality. Not only are the ingredients chosen so they are at their peak freshness, but the season is considered even when choosing the plates to present them on as well as the garnishes. While there are many courses in a kaiseki experience, be sure to pay attention for the hassun (八寸), usually the second or third dish, which centers the seasonal theme for the rest of meal.
Soondubu, a very famous spicy Korean stew, is made with freshly curdled soft tofu, vegetables, and your choice of protein. There are seafood versions (that includes oysters, clams and shrimp) or meat versions (which include beef or pork). As soon as the dish arrives, I like to crack a raw egg into the soup, as the locals do.
Japchae (잡채) literally means “mixed vegetables.” The main ingredient of this classic dish is Korean sweet potato starch noodles, and the delicious flavor is sweet and savory.
Gimbap or Kimbap is a Korean dish made with cooked rice and other ingredients that are rolled in gim—dried sheets of seaweed—and served in bite-sized slices. The dish is often part of a packed meal, or dosirak, to be eaten at picnics and outdoor events, and can serve as a light lunch along with danmuji and kimchi
Korean BBQ Banchan: Banchan is a collection of Korean side dishes that dinner guests enjoy in Korea and around the world as a prelude to the main meal. Along with the soup and rice, they are an essential part of any Korean meal
Temple Cuisine: Earthy, salty, spicy; crunchy, chewy, firm – Korean temple cuisine takes natural ingredients and turns them into a cornucopia of tasty and textured dishes. These seasonal, wholesome recipes include tofu stews, rice soups and kimchi, often combining preserved vegetables with fresh, seasonal produce. Forget the Korean versions of barbecue and fried chicken – these aromatic, healthy concoctions are what form the backbone of the average Korean person’s diet.
Korean Buddhists refrain from eating plants in the allium family, such as garlic, chives, shallots and onions. Their pungency is considered disruptive to spiritual practices like meditation, something which would go against the temple food concept of harmony and balance between humans and nature.
While it’s tempting to view veganism and a zero-waste lifestyle as trends, in South Korea, the slow food movement has thrived for centuries. The key tenets of Korean temple cuisine are rooted in Buddhist philosophy, emphasizing the importance of staying healthy, ecofriendly and minimalist. Eat only what your body needs, and waste not even a single grain of rice.
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