Asia is arguably one of the best places in the world to eat. Its food is not only colorful, full of spices, and unique, but it's also fun to eat. After one bite, regardless of what Asian region, the realization hits you that most other dishes you have been eating are actually totally bland in comparison.

Although there are so many options and varieties of beautiful food across all Asian countries to choose from, this list will keep it short and show you at least one meal, whether underrated or just totally worth it, that you must try from 12 different countries.

1. China: Peking Duck 

The traditional Chinese Peking Duck dish is a strong contender for the most fun meal to eat. Usually prepared by a cook in front of you, the duck meat, which is very thin and crispy, is wrapped in small pancakes. Then you can choose to top it off with other fillings such as scallions, cucumber, or sweet bean sauce. The crispy duck meat and soft pancake combo is just unbeatable. 

2. Taiwan: Xiao Long Bao

These fluffy dough balls filled with goodness are a must try if you're in Taiwan. Although they're not originally from there, many restaurants serve these in different shapes, sizes, and fillings (although pork is the traditional filling). The best part about these particular Asian dumplings is that they are filled with soup as well. Don't burn your mouth!

3. South Korea: Beef Bulgogi Bowl

Bulgogi literally means fire meat in Korean, and boy is this dish fire. Bad pun aside, this marinated beef is served best in a bowl filled to the brim with crispy rice, and other toppings like a fried egg and vegetables. Nutritious, filling and customizable—what more can you ask for? 

4. Japan: Yaki Gyoza

Although sushi is the obvious choice for Japan, it has become so universal that it's not really special anymore (you should still eat sushi in Japan though). Yaki Gyoza is a form of dumpling that is not steamed, but pan fried and absolutely worth trying. It is filled with minced pork, vegetables, and spices and can be dipped in many different sauces. 

5. Vietnam: Bahn Xeo

This is the Vietnamese version of a pancake. It is savoury and made from rice flour. It is served with different toppings like green onion, bean sprouts, and slivers of shrimp or pork, all of which you can fold inside the pancake to have a fun and tasty eating experience. The popular Vietnamese spring roll dish ain't got nothing on this crispy meal of goodness. 

6. Cambodia: Beef Lok Lak

This traditional Cambodian dish consists of juicy beef cubes that you can dip into a zesty mixture of salt, pepper, lime, and chilli. Lok Lak is usually eaten with plain white rice and stir-fried vegetables. The simpler, the better.

7. Thailand: Pad Thai

spaghetti, pasta, rice, pad thai
Nicole Bradley

Most tourists are familiar with the Pad Thai, as it is one of the most popular and flavourful dishes in Thailand. Rice noodles stir-fried with eggs, tofu, and vegetables in combination with fish sauce is best eaten at one of the many street stalls in the country.

8. Malaysia: Roti Canai

Whether for breakfast or a post-partying hawker meal at 3 am, Roti Canai is the epitome of a great tasting and simple Asian meal that is inexpensive. Not only can you choose what kind of curry you would like (although Dahl is the classic choice), but you can even customize your roti (bread), to be filled with egg or sweet coconut jam. 

9. Singapore: Hainanese Chicken Rice

Most likely on top of the best Asian meals list, Hainanese chicken rice is a must-try in Singapore. You get served poached chicken, with an oily and flavourful rice that has to be tasted in order to understand how good it is. You also get served a soup and ginger and chilli sauces to mix all these great ingredients together for the best meal you will have in a long time.

10. Indonesia: Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang is an Indonesian classic and just had to be on this list. Cooked in a spice mixture called "pemasak," Rendang is made so that the meat can be preserved for long periods of time in a tropical climate. It is therefore not only known for its distinct spicy flavour but its ability to last up to four weeks.

11. Philippines: Lumpio Ubod

Lumpio Ubod is very unique in the sense that the filling of this egg roll consists of fresh bamboo shoots. Although it looks soft, this Asian dish is actually crunchy, caused not only by the bamboo but also by the crushed peanuts that are part of the sweet sauce drizzled on top.

12. India: Banana Leaf Rice

This is one of the most recyclable ways to eat your food, considering that banana leaf rice is served on an actual banana leaf, acting as a disposable plate. Although the leaf itself is not consumed, the rice, vegetables, papadum (Indian crackers), and selection of colourful curries served on top are heavenly. Best part? You can eat it with your hands without being rude.

Regardless if you want to visit your closest Asian restaurant or are actually planning on traveling to some of these countries any time soon, these dishes are a must try and some of the highlights of Asian cuisine.