The History of Asian Food

by Charles Fredeen

The Asian continent stretches thousands of miles from the Middle East, through the Indian subcontinent and on to Japan. And the myriad countries found there have all made their historical culinary contributions.

Geography

There are basically three Asian dietary cultures, mostly unique, but sometimes overlapping. They are divided into the southwest, northeast and the southeast cultures.

China

China is part of the northeast culinary culture. It is believed that Chinese cuisine originated in the 15th century B.C. Over the centuries, two influential Chinese--Confucius and Tao--helped shape their country's food. Confucius focused on making harmonious dishes by blending ingredients, while Tao was more interested in the nutritional benefits of recipes.

Japan

Along with China and Korea, Japan is part of the northeast region. In the third century B.C., Korea passed its rice-cultivating techniques on to Japan. Korea also introduced Buddhism to Japan in the sixth century B.C., which resulted in meat being banned for consumption.

Southwest

India is one of several 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, one of several countries in this region, food was either boiled or grilled, eaten raw, or preserved and ground into dips.

About the Author

A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Charles Fredeen is a writer with a love of politics and journalism living in Los Angeles. He has written four published books, including a biography of the journalist Nellie Bly. With more than 25 years of writing, he has also written numerous articles for publications, including the "Los Angeles Times" and "Los Angeles Magazine."