Zest Files

Flavours of Grand Asia

If the Orient was once viewed as exotic, its full spectrum importance today is axiomatic. Nowhere is this more evident than in world cuisine. East Asia has glorified the world of flavours for all time. This is a journey through the rich waterways and ench
Glossary of East Asian Culinary

Like the Sun, the human understanding of the power of food, awakens in the East. What would the world be without noodles, sticky rice, dim sum, soy, hot pots, and tea? The items presented in this glossary, thought a drop in the ocean, should be enough to stir appetites time and again. Find out why life is incomplete without a taste of mukimono, sambal, Shaoxing wine and a whole more.

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The Eightfold Path

Chinese cuisine comes in eight distinct regional styles: there is the aromatic, seafood-centric cuisine of Shandong, the birthplace of Confucius; the distinct contoured landscape of Jiangsu cuisine; the refined treatment of Guangdong; the unconventional yet spellbinding cuisine of Sichuan; the noble approaches of Zhejiang food; the seafood-centric masterpieces of Fujian; the pungent achievements of Hunan that impressed Mao Zedong, and the attentive approach of Anhui.  

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The Quilt of the Orient - Korean Gangnam Style

Even if you’re not among the millions bouncing to the Korean wave with Oppa Gangnam, you can’t deny the beat in bibimbap. Korea’s most popular dish, bibimbap which knocks together vegetables, meats and boiled rice, is usually top in the mind of those making an initial foray into a Korean restaurant.

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The Quilt of the Orient - Magic of the Mekong

From the mountainous reaches of Korea to the fertile delta of the Mekong and the lush forests and plains of the numerous island groupings of The Malay Archipelago, every stopover in the Orient showcases something new. Something that will make us see the world anew.

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The Quilt of the Orient - The Malay Archipealgo

The Moluccas (Maluka Islands) once known as the Spice Islands stand out for defining the course of world trade during the Age of Discovery. But centuries before the scramble for the rich islands of Malay, they were a hot destination for traders from the Arab world who gloried in the cloves, nutmeg and mace to be found here.

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The Quilt of the Orient - Land of Blue Sky

Mongolia gave rise to a number of formidable nomadic tribes (Huns, Scythians, Mongols) and eventually one of the largest continuous stretches of empire ever seen in world history. The redoubtable Genghis Khan is credited with engineering a large part of this remarkable expansion.

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Coffee, Tea, Ceremony - Evergreen Brews

As soup, pickle or brew; in a spectrum of inspiring hues, tea is consumed in many ways and revered in all.

Yet, it is in the cup that it takes its ordained form. If you find yourself in Asia, you’d do well to develop an inclination for the region’s most preferred brew. 

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Kopi Luwak: Some Civil Civet Coffee

To many Asians, it can never be a patch on tea on home territory, but a certain coffee bean that’s been deposited by discriminat- ing local civets in the backyard, has been making waves in the gourmet world.

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The Tea Ceremony

To understand the tea ceremony is to understand the Japanese ethos.

The highly ritualised ceremony known as cha-do or the “way of tea” was developed to its present form around the 16th Century and was by then already imbued with the Zen precepts of serenity and simplicity – wabi and sabi and the idea of the ephemerality and significance of every meeting expressed in the term ichigo ichi-e.

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