Discover this list of 30 irresistible Asian side dishes, ready to make dinner that much more delicious and exciting. Whether you’re craving the spicy kick of Korean Kimchi, the refreshing crunch of Thai Green Papaya Salad, or the comforting warmth of Japanese Miso Soup, we’ve got you covered. Each dish is accompanied by a detailed description and a link to an authentic recipe, allowing you to recreate these flavors in your own kitchen. So prepare your taste buds for a delicious adventure!
A Fermented Delight
Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish that consists of fermented vegetables, most commonly napa cabbage and Korean radishes, with a variety of seasonings. It’s a side dish that’s tangy, spicy, and full of probiotics beneficial for your digestive health.
A Meal’s Best Companion
In Korean cuisine, kimchi is a staple accompaniment to most meals, lending its unique flavor profile to enhance the overall dining experience. It’s not only delicious but also versatile, pairing well with both simple dishes like rice and complex main courses.
Personalize Your Kimchi
Feel free to experiment with different types of vegetables and seasonings when making your own kimchi. Depending on your preferences, you can adjust the level of spice or add ingredients like ginger or seafood for an extra depth of flavor.
A Taste of Korean Tradition
Banchan refers to the assortment of Korean side dishes served alongside rice. These small dishes can range from fermented foods like kimchi to steamed or stir-fried vegetables, fish cakes, and more. Each banchan dish contributes to a balanced and flavorful meal.
A Culinary Journey
When dining Korean style, an array of banchan dishes allows you to sample a wide variety of flavors, textures, and ingredients in a single meal. The combination is designed to stimulate your taste buds and enrich your culinary experience.
A Banchan of Your Own
Though traditional banchan recipes exist, feel free to customize your own set according to your dietary needs or preferences. Banchan is all about diversity, so don’t be afraid to include your favorite vegetables, proteins, or grains.
Gomae (Japanese Spinach Salad)
A Nutritious Side Dish
Gomae is a Japanese side dish made with blanched spinach and tossed in a savory sesame dressing. It’s simple yet packed with flavors, providing a nutrient-rich addition to your meal that’s both delicious and beneficial for your health.
A Perfect Balance
The slight bitterness of the spinach combined with the sweet and nutty sesame dressing creates a harmonious balance of flavors in Gomae. This makes it a refreshing complement to heavier or rich main dishes.
Make It Your Own
While spinach is traditionally used in Gomae, you can experiment with other leafy greens. Consider kale, Swiss chard, or even broccoli to add variety to your dish and adapt it to your tastes.
A Spicy Treat
Sambal is a spicy Indonesian condiment made from a variety of chili peppers, combined with secondary ingredients like shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, scallion, palm sugar, and lime juice. It’s a flavorful explosion, perfect for those who appreciate heat in their meals.
Lift Your Dishes
Adding a spoonful of sambal to your meal can instantly elevate its flavor. It pairs beautifully with rice dishes, noodles, and proteins, imbuing them with a spicy, savory, and slightly sweet undertone.
Craft Your Own Sambal
Making sambal at home allows you to control the heat level and ingredients. You can choose milder chilies for a less spicy version or incorporate your favorite spices to add a personal touch.
A Healthy Snack
Edamame are young soybeans that have been harvested before they’ve had a chance to harden. Often served boiled and lightly salted, they make for a great healthy snack or appetizer. They’re packed with protein, antioxidants, and fiber.
Simple and Delicious
The beauty of edamame lies in its simplicity. Slightly salty, with a subtle sweetness and a satisfying crunch, they make a delightful snack on their own. They’re also a perfect accompaniment to main courses, particularly those with robust flavors.
Get Creative with Edamame
While traditionally served simply with salt, feel free to spice up your edamame. Add spices like chili flakes or garlic for an extra kick, or toss them in sauces such as soy or teriyaki to add depth to their flavor.
A Staple in Japanese Cuisine
Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup consisting of a miso (fermented soybean paste) base with various ingredients such as tofu, seaweed, and green onions. It’s a comforting, warm side dish often served with meals to enhance digestion.
A Flavorful Experience
The taste of miso soup is umami-rich, slightly salty, and incredibly flavorful. The combination of ingredients provides a variety of textures, making each spoonful a new experience.
Customize Your Soup
Feel free to personalize your miso soup by adding different ingredients. Mushrooms, vegetables, or even seafood can be included to make the dish more substantial and suited to your taste.
A Savory Custard
Chawanmushi is a Japanese egg custard dish that’s steamed in a cup. Unlike most custards, it’s savory rather than sweet and contains a variety of ingredients like mushrooms, shrimp, and ginkgo nuts.
A Delicate Delight
Chawanmushi is delicate, silky, and subtly flavored. Each spoonful reveals a medley of ingredients, making it an interesting and enjoyable side dish that pairs well with a variety of main courses.
Experiment with Ingredients
You can easily customize chawanmushi by incorporating your preferred ingredients. Whether it’s different types of seafood, vegetables, or even chicken, the possibilities are endless.
Thai Mango Salad
A Taste of the Tropics
Thai Mango Salad is a refreshing side dish featuring ripe mangoes, fresh vegetables, herbs, and a zesty dressing. This salad is the perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy, characteristic of Thai cuisine.
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Brighten Your Meal
The vibrant flavors and colors of Thai Mango Salad can bring a burst of freshness to your meals. The combination of crunchy vegetables and soft, sweet mangoes creates a pleasing contrast, while the tangy dressing ties everything together.
Make It Your Own
Feel free to customize your Thai Mango Salad by adding ingredients like grilled shrimp or tofu for extra protein. You can also experiment with the dressing to adjust the levels of sweetness, sourness, and spiciness according to your preference.
Gyoza are Japanese dumplings filled with ground meat and vegetables and wrapped in a thin dough. They’re often pan-fried to achieve a crispy bottom, creating a pleasing contrast with the tender steamed top.
A Flavorful Bite
Each bite of a gyoza brings together a mix of textures and flavors — juicy filling, crisp bottom, and soft top. They’re often served with dipping sauce, further enhancing the taste.
Make It Your Own
Feel free to customize your gyoza fillings. Traditionally, they contain a mixture of pork, cabbage, and chives, but you can experiment with other ingredients like shrimp, chicken, or purely vegetarian fillings.
Vegetable Spring Rolls
A Crispy Delight
Vegetable spring rolls are a popular Asian side dish consisting of a variety of shredded vegetables wrapped in a thin sheet of dough and deep-fried until crispy. They’re a perfect starter or side, offering a delightful crunch with each bite.
Versatile and Flavorful
Spring rolls are versatile in both their fillings and their pairings. You can enjoy them on their own, dip them in a sauce, or serve them alongside a main dish.
The fillings for your spring rolls can be adjusted to your preference. While commonly filled with a mix of cabbage, carrots, and bean sprouts, you could also include mushrooms, bamboo shoots, or protein like shrimp or chicken.
Thai Papaya Salad
A Fresh and Spicy Dish
Thai Papaya Salad, also known as Som Tam, is a spicy salad made from shredded unripe papaya. It typically includes lime juice, chili peppers, fish sauce, and a variety of other ingredients, delivering a balance of hot, sour, sweet, and salty flavors.
A Delightful Accompaniment
This salad makes a delightful side dish to a variety of Thai main courses. Its fresh and vibrant flavors offer a refreshing contrast to rich or fried dishes.
Adapt It to Your Taste
The ingredients and level of spice in your Thai Papaya Salad can be adjusted to suit your taste. You could add cooked shrimp for additional protein or adjust the quantities of chili, lime juice, and fish sauce to achieve your ideal balance of flavors.
Japanese Pickles (Tsukemono)
A Traditional Side Dish
Tsukemono are Japanese pickles served as a side dish or accompaniment to rice. They’re made by pickling vegetables in a variety of solutions like salt, rice bran, or sake lees. The result is a crunchy and tangy delight that adds a refreshing note to meals.
A Colorful Addition
Tsukemono come in a range of colors and flavors, depending on the vegetables and pickling solution used. This makes them not only tasty but also visually appealing.
Experiment with Your Pickles
Feel free to experiment with different vegetables and pickling methods when making Tsukemono at home. From cucumbers and radishes to eggplant and cabbage, the possibilities are vast.
Stir-Fried Bok Choy
A Healthy Green
Stir-fried bok choy is a quick and easy side dish that brings a fresh and slightly sweet flavor to your meal. This leafy green vegetable is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K and can be prepared in just minutes.
This side dish pairs well with a variety of Asian main courses. The mild flavor and crisp texture of the bok choy nicely complements both meat-based and vegetarian dishes.
Make It Your Way
Feel free to customize your stir-fried bok choy with your preferred seasonings. Whether it’s garlic, ginger, or a dash of soy sauce, the flavors can be easily adjusted to your liking.
A Korean Staple
Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine. It’s a fermented side dish made from cabbage and various seasonings, including chili powder, garlic, and ginger. The result is a spicy, tangy, and slightly sweet condiment that’s also rich in probiotics.
Enhances Any Dish
Kimchi can enhance any dish with its distinct flavor profile. It can be enjoyed on its own or served with rice, noodles, or meat. It’s also used as an ingredient in numerous Korean dishes, like kimchi stew and kimchi fried rice.
Experiment with Kimchi
While the traditional kimchi is made with napa cabbage, you can also make it with other vegetables like radish, cucumber, or even fruit like apples. The spiciness can also be adjusted to suit your preference.
Mango Sticky Rice
A Sweet Finish
Mango sticky rice is a traditional Thai dessert, but it can also serve as a sweet side dish. It consists of glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and sugar, served with fresh ripe mangoes. The combination of creamy, sweet rice and juicy mangoes is simply irresistible.
The dish strikes a perfect balance of textures and flavors — the chewiness of the sticky rice, the creaminess of the coconut milk, the sweetness of the sugar, and the tanginess of the mango create a harmonious blend.
Make It Your Own
Feel free to experiment with your mango sticky rice. You can add toasted sesame seeds or mung beans for a bit of crunch, or drizzle some extra coconut cream on top for an even richer taste.
A Versatile Side
Fried rice is a common side dish in various Asian cuisines. It’s a great way to use leftover rice, mixed with vegetables, protein, and sauces, then stir-fried to create a flavorful and satisfying dish.
Quick and Easy
Fried rice is quick to prepare, making it a perfect dish for busy weeknights. It can be a standalone meal or a side dish to accompany your favorite main courses.
Customize Your Fried Rice
Feel free to customize your fried rice according to your tastes. Add your preferred proteins, such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu, and a variety of vegetables. Play around with different sauces and seasonings to find your perfect flavor balance.
Chinese Scallion Pancakes
Crispy and Flavorful
Chinese scallion pancakes are a savory, crispy delight. They are made from dough rather than a batter and feature multiple layers with chopped scallions in between. The pancakes are pan-fried until golden brown, offering a satisfying crunch with each bite.
These pancakes can be served at any meal and are a perfect accompaniment to a variety of dishes. Whether you serve them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, these pancakes are sure to impress.
Add Your Own Spin
Feel free to customize your scallion pancakes by adding other ingredients like sesame seeds, spices, or even cheese. The recipe is quite versatile and can be tailored to your preferences.
Sautéed Green Beans with Garlic
A Simple Yet Tasty Side
Sautéed green beans with garlic is a simple yet flavorful side dish. The green beans are quickly sautéed until just tender and then tossed with minced garlic for a burst of flavor.
A Perfect Companion
These green beans make a perfect companion to a wide variety of main courses. The simplicity of the dish allows it to pair well without overpowering other flavors on your plate.
Customize to Your Liking
Feel free to play around with the recipe and add other ingredients. You might want to toss in some sliced almonds for extra crunch, or add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for a cheesy twist.
Thai Coconut Curry Soup
A Rich and Comforting Side
Thai Coconut Curry Soup, or Tom Kha, is a rich and comforting dish. It’s made with a base of coconut milk, infused with flavors of galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves, and typically contains mushrooms and chicken.
A Versatile Soup
This soup can serve as a delicious side dish or a light main course. It pairs well with a variety of dishes and offers a warming and flavorful addition to any meal.
Make It Your Own
Feel free to customize your Tom Kha soup. You can replace chicken with shrimp or tofu for a different protein source and adjust the level of spiciness to your liking.
Fried Tofu with Soy Sauce
A Simple, Flavorful Dish
Fried tofu with soy sauce is a simple, yet incredibly flavorful dish. The tofu is fried until golden and crispy, then drizzled with a savory soy sauce. It’s a wonderful source of protein for vegetarian and vegan diets.
Pairs Well With Many Dishes
This side dish is versatile and pairs well with many main dishes. The savory flavor of the tofu enhances the overall taste of any meal.
Customize Your Tofu
Feel free to customize your fried tofu by adding other ingredients or sauces. For instance, you could add a sprinkle of sesame seeds for extra crunch or serve it with a spicy dipping sauce for an extra kick.
Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce
Rich and Flavorful
Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce is a rich and flavorful dish. The eggplants are cooked until tender and then tossed in a savory garlic sauce. The sauce, a delectable mix of soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar, adds a tasty punch that complements the soft, mild eggplant.
A Perfect Pairing
This side dish pairs perfectly with a variety of proteins, from tofu to chicken. Its rich flavors can hold up to spicy or hearty mains, making it a versatile addition to your meal.
Make It Your Own
Feel free to adapt this recipe according to your taste. Add more or less garlic based on your preference, or sprinkle in some chili flakes if you enjoy a bit of heat.
Korean Potato Salad (Gamja Salad)
A Unique Take on Potato Salad
Korean Potato Salad, or Gamja Salad, is a unique take on the traditional potato salad. It’s creamy, crunchy, and slightly sweet, often including additional ingredients like apples, carrots, and cucumbers.
A Perfect Side Dish
This potato salad is a perfect side dish for BBQs or dinner parties, offering a unique flavor profile that can complement a range of main dishes. It’s a welcome surprise for guests who expect a traditional Western-style potato salad.
Customize Your Salad
Feel free to customize your potato salad by adding other ingredients. You might want to include chopped hard-boiled eggs, or a dash of paprika for color and flavor.
Sticky Soy Glazed Ginger Meatballs
A Flavorful Bite
Sticky Soy Glazed Ginger Meatballs are a delightful Asian side dish or appetizer. The meatballs are full of flavor thanks to the addition of fresh ginger and garlic, and the sticky soy glaze adds a delicious sweetness that contrasts the savory meat.
Perfect for Parties
These meatballs are a perfect dish for parties or gatherings. They’re bite-sized and easy to serve, and their impressive flavor makes them a sure crowd-pleaser.
Make It Your Own
Feel free to adjust the recipe to suit your preferences. Swap the ground pork for chicken or turkey, or adjust the amount of ginger and garlic to your taste. You could also add some chili flakes to the glaze if you like a bit of heat.
Thai Basil Fried Rice
A Flavor-Packed Side Dish
Thai Basil Fried Rice is a delicious and aromatic side dish. The key to this dish is the Thai basil, which gives it a unique flavor profile compared to other fried rice dishes. Along with the basil, a combination of garlic, chilies, and soy sauce creates a delicious and flavorful dish.
Versatile and Satisfying
This dish is versatile and can be paired with a variety of other dishes. Whether served alongside a curry or a stir-fry, Thai Basil Fried Rice adds a satisfying and flavor-packed element to the meal.
Customize Your Rice
Feel free to adjust the recipe to suit your taste. Add different vegetables like bell peppers or peas, or include a protein like chicken or tofu. And of course, you can always adjust the spice level to your liking.
Asian Zucchini Noodle Salad
A Refreshing, Light Side
Asian Zucchini Noodle Salad is a refreshing and light side dish. Using zucchini noodles, or “zoodles”, instead of traditional pasta, it’s lower in carbs and packed with vitamins. A tangy Asian-inspired dressing infuses the salad with bright, mouth-watering flavors.
Perfect for Warm Weather
This salad is especially perfect for warm weather meals or when you’re looking for something light yet satisfying. The zesty flavors and cool zucchini noodles make it a delightful summer side dish.
Make It Your Own
Feel free to adjust the salad components according to your taste. You could add some grilled chicken or tofu for protein, or other vegetables like bell pepper or cabbage for extra crunch and color.
Asian Glazed Carrots
Sweet and Savory
Asian Glazed Carrots are a sweet and savory side dish that brings a pop of color and nutrition to your meal. The carrots are cooked until just tender and then glazed with a flavorful mixture of honey, soy sauce, and garlic.
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A Great Addition to Any Meal
These glazed carrots make a great addition to almost any meal. Their sweet and tangy flavor complements a variety of proteins, from grilled chicken to pan-seared tofu.
Customize Your Carrots
Feel free to customize your glazed carrots by adding other ingredients. You could include a dash of ginger for a bit more zing, or sprinkle sesame seeds on top for added crunch.
Asian Cucumber Salad
A Cool and Crisp Side Dish
Asian Cucumber Salad is a cool and crisp side dish that’s perfect for a hot day. The cucumbers are thinly sliced and marinated in a tangy, sweet, and savory dressing, resulting in a refreshing and flavorful salad.
Perfect for Grilling Season
This cucumber salad is especially perfect for grilling season. The cool, crisp cucumbers and tangy dressing pair wonderfully with grilled meats or fish.
Make It Your Own
Feel free to customize your cucumber salad by adding other ingredients. You could add some sliced red onions for a bit of bite, or sprinkle some sesame seeds on top for extra crunch and flavor.
Asian Stir Fried Mushrooms
A Savory Side Dish
Asian Stir Fried Mushrooms is a savory side dish that’s packed with flavor. The mushrooms are stir-fried with garlic, soy sauce, and a touch of sugar, resulting in a dish that’s umami-rich and incredibly tasty.
Great for a Variety of Meals
These stir-fried mushrooms are a great accompaniment for a variety of meals. They pair well with both meat and vegetarian dishes, and their robust flavor can stand up to spicy and hearty mains.
Make It Your Own
Feel free to use any type of mushrooms you like in this recipe, from white button mushrooms to more exotic varieties like shiitake or oyster mushrooms. You could also add other vegetables into the mix, such as bell peppers or onions.
Sticky Asian Chicken Wings
A Sweet and Tangy Treat
Sticky Asian Chicken Wings are a sweet and tangy treat that’s perfect as a side or appetizer. The wings are coated in a flavorful glaze made from soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger, resulting in a deliciously sticky and irresistible finish.
A Crowd-Pleasing Favorite
These chicken wings are sure to be a crowd-pleasing favorite at any gathering. Their sticky, sweet, and tangy flavor makes them a hit with both kids and adults alike.
Customize Your Wings
Feel free to adjust the heat level to suit your preferences, or try using different types of honey or other sweeteners for a different flavor profile.
A Tangy and Crunchy Salad
Asian Coleslaw is a tangy and crunchy salad that’s perfect for picnics or barbecues. It’s made with a mix of cabbage, carrots, and green onions, and dressed with a flavorful vinaigrette made from soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar.
A Perfect Side Dish
This coleslaw is a perfect side dish for any meal. Its vibrant colors and tangy flavor make it a great addition to grilled meats, sandwiches, or burgers.
Make It Your Own
Feel free to customize your coleslaw by adding other ingredients. Try adding some chopped cilantro or sesame seeds, or toss in some shredded chicken for extra protein.
I hope that you’ve found some new favorites to try out at home. These recipes are a testament to the rich diversity of Asian cuisines, each bringing its unique flavors and textures to the table. Remember, the beauty of these dishes lies in their flexibility – feel free to tweak the recipes based on your preferences or what you have on hand. Now it’s your turn to start cooking and enjoy these delightful Asian side dishes. Enjoy !