Pick Five Vegetable Servings a Day with Asian Sides


Korean Side Dishes

Chinese food is quite common in the US, with Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine following it in popularity, and Korean and Filipino cuisine trailing somewhat behind that.  Although the food that is served to an American clientele differs in varying amounts from what really comprises Chinese and other Asian cuisines, something that they all have in common is that they incorporate a great deal of vegetable matter of all types into their food. 

More authentic Chinese restaurant menus offer vegetable dishes that are served in entree portions, beautifully cooked and delicately seasoned, and meant to be a side dish for a family.  They offer actual entrees of vegetables cooked in clay pots, steamed, or sauced to various degrees of heartiness.  While most American diners steer towards the sweet and sour chicken, kung pao, or Szechuan beef, the actual Chinese dishes offer far more sophisticated and healthy options. 

Vietnamese and Thai cuisines are very vegetable heavy, offering dishes that are often topped or seasoned with meat or seafood rather than being dominated by it.  Vietnamese food is often accompanied by a fresh salad and selection of herbs that are meant to be combined with the entree for crunch and crispness, or for use as a wrap.  Thai cuisine winds its vegetables into luscious dishes whose sour tamarind flavors add all the umami one could wish. 

Korean food is a real star, although it is far less common across the US.  The cuisine features vegetables that are both fresh and fermented.  Packed with nutrition and probiotics, a dish of rice becomes the carrier for a merry-go-round of sweet, salt, sour, and heat, and of every texture imaginable.  The result is really what each person makes of it, as the food is served with a featured protein, and with a multitude of sides, which can be anything from fiery pickled cabbages or cucumber to tiny caramelized fish.  

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