Geography - The Asian continent stretches thousands of miles from the Middle East, through the Indian subcontinent and on to Japan. The myriad countries found there have all made their historical culinary contributions.
Practically there are three basic Asian dietary cultures, mostly unique, however overlapping every now and then. They are also divided into the southwest, northeast and the southeast cultures.
China - China is part of the northeast culinary culture. Chinese cuisine is considered to have originated in the 15th century B.C. Over the centuries, two influential Chinese (Confucius and Tao) contributed in shaping their country's food. Confucius focused on making harmonious dishes by blending ingredients, while Tao was more concerned in the nutritional benefits of the recipes.
Japan - Japan is part of the northeast region, along with China and Korea. In the third century B.C., Korea passed its rice-cultivating techniques on to Japan. In addition, Korea introduced Buddhism to Japan in the sixth century B.C. – as a result meat was banned for consumption.
Southwest - India is one of various countries included in the southwest. Its culinary roots were planted by Persian-Arabian influences. Vegetarianism was prevalent for thousands of years. Due to Hinduism, cows were used only for their milk. Muslim influence changed the diets of many by introducing various meats for kebabs and curries in what is known as Mughlai cuisine.
Southeast - In 13th-century Thailand, food was either boiled or grilled, eaten raw, or preserved and ground into dips.
The Different Types of Asians
Asia, stretching from Turkey all the way to Japan, is a very large continent. Over the continent's long history there has been a lot of migration and influence of one people onto another, and evidence of this is found in the religious and ethnic makeup of each country.
Central Asians - Central Asians are the people from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and parts of Russia. The people who live in these areas have a common ancestry, and all speak languages belonging to the Turkic family.
Western Asians - An area frequently called the Middle East. The racial makeup throughout many of the countries is Arab for the most part, however there are also large populations of Kurds, Jews and Turks.
Southern Asians - Southern Asia indicates a very large land region, some of which is considered Middle East, however the region extends east through India. There are many types of Asians that live in Southern Asia. The group that represents most of the population is Indians, who themselves are a very diverse demographic. Major ethnicities there are Punjabi, Pashtun and Tajik, along with migrants from other countries in the region.
South-East Asians - South East Asia is consists of the south-eastern most tip of the Asian mainland and a cluster of islands in the Indian Ocean northwest of Australia. Just like every other region on this vast continent, this one is home to many types of Asians, too. Indonesia, a large island nations, for instance, is around 40% Javanese, however there are major populations of many different ethnicities living within its borders. Vietnam has a population that is ethnically 86% Viet or Kinh, however various different religious groups are present, and no one is claiming a majority.
East Asians - East Asians are people from China, North and South Korea, Japan and Mongolia. Out of these countries, China has the biggest population and over 90% of the country is of the Han Chinese ethnic group. Languages spoken in these countries include Mandarin, Japanese, Korean and Cantonese, among others.What is your experience with the Asian culture, people or food? Share with us in the comments below.