Asian appetizers are a marvelous way to kick-start your dinner parties. They are guaranteed to pack a punch with all the flavorful ingredients and savory spices. Right from the get-go, you can impress your guests with just a little bit of effort and attention.
Asian cuisine in general is full of unbelievably great potentials. You may find yourself intimidated at first by some unfamiliar ingredients, but try them out anyway. Immerse yourself in the cultures and take your tastebuds on adventures with these recipes.
Table of Contents
- 30+ Authentic Asian Appetizers You Can Make Right Away
- Top 6 Popular Korean Appetizers You Shouldn’t Miss Out On
- 6 Japanese Appetizers That Are Easy To Make And Easy To Eat
- Top 6 Flavorful And Unique Thai Appetizers To Spice Up Your Meal
- 6 Classic Chinese Appetizers For All Occasions
- Explore These 5 Flavorful And Original Indian Appetizers
- 4 Delicious And Diverse Appetizers From Other Countries Across Asia
- Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Appetizers!
- 30+ Asian Appetizers
30+ Authentic Asian Appetizers You Can Make Right Away
Asian cuisine is incredibly diverse, and you might find yourself overwhelmed when you first look into it. This is why I have categorized it into regions whose food you may be familiar with: Korea, Japan, Thai, China, India, and other countries.
- Kimchijeon (Kimchi Pancake)
- Kimchi Arancini Balls
- Korean Chilli Pork Lettuce Cups
- Mandu (Korean Dumplings)
- Wanja Jeon (Pan-Fried Beef Patties)
- Dongchimi (Radish Water Kimchi)
- Hiyayakko (Japanese Chilled Tofu)
- Vegetable Tempura
- Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)
- Tsukune (Japanese Grilled Chicken Meatballs)
- Chawanmushi (Japanese Steamed Egg Custard)
- Spicy Edamame
- Japanese Sake-Steamed Clams
- Spicy Thai Chicken Wings
- Green Curry Spring Rolls
- Baked Thai Coconut Shrimp
- Thai Fried Calamari
- Thai Zucchini Meatballs
- Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce
- Steak and Cheese Wonton Cups
- Baozi (Chinese Steamed Pork Buns)
- Cong You Bing (Scallion Pancakes)
- Egg Rolls
- Crab Rangoon Dip
- Chinese Style Potato Salad
- Vada Pav (Indian Potato Sliders)
- Indian Tomato Soup
- Papdi Chaat
- Corn Pakora (Indian Fritters)
- Shami Kebab
Other Countries Appetizers
- Chao Tom (Vietnamese Sugar Cane Shrimp)
- Bola-bola (Filipino Meatballs)
- Kabak Dolması (Turkey Stuffed Squash)
- Baba Ganoush
Top 6 Popular Korean Appetizers You Shouldn’t Miss Out On
Korean food revolves mainly around vegetables, rice, and meats with great emphasis on savory and spicy flavors. It has all the warmth and comfort you could ever need in a homemade meal. It also has great flexibility, so you can always adjust the ingredients to fit your likings.
This Korean version of pancake is just as easy to make as the original one. As long as you have some kimchi and flour, you can make this flavorful appetizer in no time. It’s a quick, easy, and excellent way to use up all your leftover kimchi.
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You can always expect a good flavor explosion when you see kimchi as the main ingredient of a dish. This one is spicy, sour, salty, and a little bit sweet too. The recipe is typically vegetarian, but you can add some meat to the mix if you’d like.
Arancini are actually Italian rice balls stuffed with cheese and deep-fried to crispy perfection. This recipe brings a spicy Korean twist to the traditional food by using Kimchi as the main ingredient.
This dish is an addicting mixture of heart-melting cheese, chewy rice, and flavorful kimchi. The golden crunchy crust contrasts the gooey insides perfectly, giving your meal an unforgettable starter. Dip it with some yogurt sauce to soften the heat, or squeeze some lime in to add a sour taste.
If you are a fan of Korean BBQs, you may be familiar with this tasty dish. It’s like a salad, but with an Asian twist that makes it so much more flavorful and interesting. These lettuce cups can be the perfect appetizer for all your summer barbecues.
This recipe features meat marinated in Korean seasonings such as gochujang, sesame oil, soy sauce, etc, and fresh green lettuce with customizable toppings. You can easily put it together using the pre-existent ingredients of your meal in just less than 30 minutes.
Mandu is homemade dumplings that many Korean associate with good luck and happiness. They are made by covering meat and vegetables in thin wrappers to boil, steam, or deep-fry. It creates incredibly juicy and savory dumplings that you can enjoy with your loved ones.
These dumplings can also be enjoyed for many, many days. You can make them in large quantities, freeze them up, and save some for later. They might take some time on the first try, but in the end, they are worth every bit of effort.
Wanja Jeon are basically meatballs pressed into mini patties. They are a very common lunch box food in Korea. This is because of how delicious they still taste hours after being made.
These meat patties have a very harmonized mixture of sweet and savory tastes, all wrapped up in little soft and juicy balls of meat. The ingredients are quite versatile and yet very simple, ranging from meat, vegetables to tofu. It’s also a great way to use leftovers from other meals.
Dongchimi is kimchi whose main ingredient is Korean radish. Contrary to regular kimchi, dongchimi has a very mild, fresh taste, and it can get sweet and tangy if well-fermented. As the radishes become plumper in the winter, this recipe is mostly eaten during the cold season.
You can eat this kimchi as a side dish on its own like a soup, or pair it with spicy Korean BBQs to balance out the flavors. Korean also eat it with baked sweet potatoes to improve their digestive health. If you’re looking for a healthy, gluten-free appetizer, give this one a try!
Step-by-step instructions on how to make this delicious kimchi.
6 Japanese Appetizers That Are Easy To Make And Easy To Eat
Japanese appetizers use very simple and fresh ingredients while focusing mainly on the condiments to enhance the flavors. You may think these dishes require a great deal of skill to prepare, but they are much easier than they seem and still taste mind-blowingly incredible.
This one-step appetizer is the best thing you will have this summer. Hiyayakko is a traditional Japanese dish made by draining silken tofu and leaving it to sit for about 15 minutes. Add some toppings, and there you have it, a healthy and deliciously creamy appetizer.
As this tofu is relatively mild in flavor, it’s the perfect canvas for any topping of your choosing. If you are a vegetarian, there is a variety of veggies to choose from, like tomatoes, shallots, ginger, and more. Get creative with the sauces for an extra layer of flavor.
This is one of the most popular side dishes you can find in Japanese restaurants. It’s made by deep-frying different vegetables like eggplants, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, squash, bell pepper, and more in a light batter.
Tempura dishes usually take a few tries to get right, but once you do, you won’t be able to stop making them. There’s nothing more addicting than crunchy, crispy vegetables dipped in savory and flavorful sauce to start your meals.
Onigiri is balls of rice stuffed with various fillings and often wrapped in a type of dried seaweed called nori. They are one of the most common snack foods in Japan. You can find them in any convenience store with many varieties in flavors and shapes.
These simple rice balls have no limit to them. You can make them any way you like. Season the rice for an extra flavor kick and fill the insides with fried chicken, canned tuna, marinated vegetables, whatever you feel like making. Get creative all you want with this tasty treat.
A simple guide on two different ways to make onigiri.
Blow all your guests away at this year’s cookout with this savory-sweet grilled chicken recipe. Tsukune are Japanese-style chicken meatballs covered in caramelized soy sauce. They are tender, juicy, and slightly charred on the outside; what more could you want for a barbecue side dish?
Even though it’s a grilled recipe, you can still make these on a pan or in the oven if it’s just for a regular meal. These chicken meatballs are also keto and low carb, so you don’t have to worry too much about breaking your diet and still be able to enjoy a perfectly good dish.
This is no regular egg custard. It’s a traditional Japanese steamy mixture of eggs, soy sauce, salt, mirin, and a versatile selection of add-ons. You can fill it up with anything, from vegetables like carrots, mushrooms to meat like shrimp, chicken, and even fish cakes.
Chawanmushi is often served in a teacup or any small cup with lids, giving it a very delicate and authentic appearance. It has the usual egg custard silkiness but is accompanied by a complex flavor fusion of sweet and savory. Truly a must-try when it comes to Japanese cuisine.
12. Spicy Edamame
Edamame is an immature soybean you can eat straight from the pods. The common way many like to enjoy this healthy vegetable is by boiling them in saltwater. However, you can switch it up a little and make them spicy instead.
These beans are naturally sweet and soft with a nutty undertone. Add some heat to them by sautéing them with some garlic, chili, and any spicy sauce you have. You can make some for appetizers and use the rest as toppings for noodles, salads, stir fry dishes, or even sushi.
Make a restaurant-worthy appetizer for your dinner in less than 20 minutes. This recipe features clams, onions, and ginger steamed in sake, an exquisite Japanese drink known for its light fruity taste.
This delicious dish is the perfect appetizer for cold winter nights. Nothing warms you up quicker than a toasty bowl of savory clam soup with a sweet aroma. You can add a little bit of chili pepper for some extra heat to make it even better.
Top 6 Flavorful And Unique Thai Appetizers To Spice Up Your Meal
For those who have never tried Thai food before, get ready to be blown away by the exotic and balanced mixture of contrasting flavors. These Thai appetizers all carry layers of sweet, sour, and spicy flavors that make them astonishingly addicting and original.
Expand your BBQ horizon with these Thai-style chicken wings. They are grilled chicken marinated in a sweet and tangy authentic Thai sauce. Let them fill your tastebuds with some incredible flavor bursts that will have you thinking about them for days.
Great as more than just appetizers, you can make this dish as snacks for game nights or even eat as a main course. Save some of the sauce for future meals because it will go great with just about anything.
All the steps you need to know to make these crispy spicy wings.
This recipe combines two familiar and beloved foods from Thai cuisine: spring rolls and green curry. If you are hosting an Asian dinner party or just simply wanting to make authentic Thai dishes, this is an easy one to try.
It’s a unique appetizer, both in flavors and textures. At first bite, you are welcomed by the crunchy exterior, then completely amazed by juicy and sweetly spicy fillings inside. Believe me when I tell you it’s an experience like no other.
Healthy, delicious, and an absolute joy to eat, this baked coconut shrimp recipe has it all. Despite their crunchy exterior, you don’t have to deep-fry these shrimps in oil, which means they have significantly less fat and calories.
The main thing that separates this dish from regular fried shrimp appetizers is the coconut bread mixture. It makes the shrimps feel way more tender and juicy with a milky sweet note. Pair this dish with some sweet chili sauce, and you’ll have a crowd-pleasing appetizer for any party.
Calamari is not a brand new appetizer to most people. It’s a dish made by frying squids that are coated in a light batter. However, this Thai recipe offers a signature sweet and spicy flavor twist that makes it infinitely more exciting to eat.
As you can tell by looking at it, this dish is quite simple to make. Twenty minutes by a frying pan and a crispy batch of squid rings are ready for you to serve. In addition to the traditional sweet chili sauce, you can also make some Thai mango sauce for a tropical fruity taste instead.
If you need a quick pick-me-up dish for yourself and the kids, have a look at this recipe. Tender and juicy meatballs are already good on their own, smother them in chewy zucchini with some creamy sauce, and it’s a good time guaranteed.
Thai sauces are very diverse, but the most popular one used to eat with savory appetizers is mango sauce. It’s a perfect harmony of sweet and spicy with a rich tropical aroma. Soak your meatballs in this delicious sauce to start your meal in the best way possible.
Your summer barbecue is about to get a whole lot better, thanks to this wonderful dish. These are marinated chicken skewers drenched in a sweet and tangy peanut sauce. They’re nothing too complicated but still enough to steal your heart for a while.
Even though the recipe calls for chicken, you can use anything you want in place of it. You can substitute it for pork, beef, or for those who are vegetarians, vegetables and tofu also taste unbelievably good.
6 Classic Chinese Appetizers For All Occasions
Chinese food has become a staple in many people’s meals, not just in China but all over the world. The aromatic flavors, diverse ingredients, and vibrant colors are always welcomed at any dining table. Let’s bring them to you so you can start your meal on the right foot.
Steak and wontons certainly are nothing new, but what happens when you combine them? The result is something you have never seen before, crunchy bite-size wonton cups filled with creamy cheese and savory beef.
These adorable little cups make not only great appetizers but also snacks for all your game day festivities. They come in small portions so you don’t get overwhelmed too quickly and can still fully enjoy the main course later on.
Don’t deprive yourself of goodness; give these steamy buns a try right now. Baozi is a classic in Chinese cuisine. It can be found almost anywhere, from street corners to fancy restaurants. This fluffy treat is usually stuffed with various sweet and savory fillings, most notably pork.
Pillowy soft buns filled with juicy and savory pork fillings are the best way to kick-start a meal. The tender meat just completely melts inside your mouth at the first bite. These small buns are light and can fit in the palm of your hand, you can eat them on the go as well
You should see the video below:
Another popular Chinese street food you can turn into an appetizer is these scallion pancakes. Unlike regular pancakes, they are made with dough instead of batter, which gives them a very crispy and crusty exterior.
The fillings of these pancakes, however, are pretty soft and tender with a savory, earthy taste. The contrast makes them so much more fun and delightful to eat. They can be served with popular dipping sauces like soy sauce, hot chili sauce, and pepper.
23. Egg Rolls
These egg rolls can often be found in American Chinese restaurants as take-outs. They bear great similarities to spring rolls but are richer on the outside, thanks to the egg-dipped wrappers.
You can get as experimental as you want with the fillings of these egg rolls. The most common choices are vegetables and meat, but some make them sweet with fruits and jams; others add cheese to the mix. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make your own unique appetizer.
24. Crab Rangoon Dip
Crab rangoon is a fried dish of crab, cream cheese, and various seasonings stuffed in wonton wrappers. This dip is a deconstructed version of crab rangoon. It has the same beloved ingredients, but with the crispy skins removed, you can get all the creamy cheesiness you want.
This heart-melting dip can be served as a side to anything, from wonton chips, crackers, rice, pasta, chicken, and soup as well. If you’re looking for an Asian party appetizer anyone can enjoy, this delicious dip is the perfect candidate.
This potato salad is unlike any other version you have tried before. It isn’t drenched in typical creamy dressings, but traditional Chinese seasonings like sesame oil and rice wine instead. The potatoes are also shredded and not cut into slices or cubes either.
You will find yourself loving how unique and unusual this salad tastes. It’s slightly spicy, salty, and garlicky while still manages to be crispy texturally. This makes it a flavorful companion for all your meat-based meals, like BBQs, steaks, or roasted chicken.
Explore These 5 Flavorful And Original Indian Appetizers
You can almost always recognize an Indian recipe from the moment you taste it. Its strong use of spices is a unique part of its cuisine that makes it so well-loved. If you want that unforgettable explosion of flavors for your appetizers, check out these recipes.
You can find Vada Pav on every corner of the streets in India. It’s cheap, easy to make, and carries a versatile taste anyone would enjoy. It’s spicy potatoes sandwiched between two small buns with heaps and heaps of savory seasonings.
You can eat Vada Pav with a lot of things; however, most Indians prefer chutney. Chutney is a sweet and spicy vegetable sauce. If you want to take this dish to the next level, garlic chutney is highly recommended.
Get your heart and soul all warmed up with this deliciously spicy tomato soup. If you are already familiar with tomato soup, you should have no problem making this one. It uses the same ingredients, only adding some extra Indian spices for the toasty heat.
This soup is a flavor bomb with how intensely sweet yet spicy and sour it is. Its creamy and rich texture makes it so fulfilling, not just as an appetizer but also as the main dish if you pair it with some bread splattered in butter.
28. Papdi Chaat
For those looking to try out authentic Indian recipes, this easy street food may be a good starter. Papdi Chaat is chips made by frying dough wafers with chickpeas, potatoes, and chutney. They are then topped with some traditional Indian sauces and yogurt.
Depending on what chutney and toppings you use, Papdi Chaat’s taste may vary between recipes. However, generally, it’s an exciting mixture of sweet, sour, and spicy with a perfectly blended creamy and crunchy texture.
Pakora is the Indian version of fritters, which means it can be made with almost any fruit and vegetable. However, sweet corn is the most popular and well-loved of all. You can find this crispy snack at any Indian kitchen during the monsoon season.
Much like most Indian snacks, you can pair it with some green coriander or red garlic chutney for a flavor boost. If not, ketchup or sour cream are also great. Many also have it as a light tea time snack alongside some chai latte or coffee.
You should see the video below:
30. Shami Kebab
Shami Kebab is patties made from minced meat, chickpeas, eggs, and some toasty spices. Everything is smashed together and pan-fried to crispy yet delicate palm-sized snacks for all your dinner parties.
These shami kebabs taste incredible as individual appetizers, but you can also repurpose any leftovers for other recipes. Pair them with some bread to make sandwiches or rice and curry for a fulfilling main course.
4 Delicious And Diverse Appetizers From Other Countries Across Asia
Asian cuisine is marvelously versatile. Each country has something special and unique to offer, making the cooking and eating experience incredibly exciting each time. It’s impossible to cover all the countries in one article, but here are some of my other honorary mentions.
Chao Tom is an addicting Vietnamese appetizer made by frying sugar canes wrapped in ground shrimp. It’s the perfect finger food for all your Asian parties because despite the simplicity in looks, their taste is quite complex.
Each bite will give you an insanely aromatic taste of shrimp infused with sugar cane and herbs. They are crispy on the outside, but juicy all the way to the core thanks to the sugar cane. You can even chew on the sugar cane for some extra sweetness once you are done.
Bola-bola are Filipino meatballs made from a mixture of ground beef, vegetables, eggs, and spices. They are often served as an appetizer or a snack, but you can also turn them into steamy hot soup or eat them as a main course with some white rice.
Versatile in more than just one way, these meatballs are loved also because of their taste. The meat themselves are savory and salty, but they blend their flavor wonderfully with any sauce they go with, like sweet and sour sauce, tomato sauce, or curry sauce.
When fall comes around the corner, make sure to take full advantage of the winter squash with this recipe. It looks overwhelming and filling, but in fact super effortless to make. The recipe itself is also very flexible, allowing you to stuff the squash with anything you prefer.
Get as creative as you want with the fillings of this recipe. You can make it entirely vegan with other veggies, or toss some sausage and cheese in to make a hearty mixture even your kids will love.
34. Baba Ganoush
Those who love the classic Greek dish Hummus will find themselves falling in love with Baba Ganoush as well. This Middle Eastern dip is a vegan dream come true. It’s made by mixing roasted eggplants, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, veggies, and some seasonings.
Simple as it may be in the cooking process, the actual taste of this dish is full of complexity. It has a slight smokiness from the roasted eggplants, but also depths of flavors from the other ingredients. Give this silky and irresistible dip a try and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Appetizers!
Asian appetizers have endless creativity to them. They mainly emphasize the diversity in flavors and heart-warming homemade qualities of a dish. From the cooking methods to ingredients and spices, you can never have a dull moment with these foods.
First impressions are more important than you think. Start your meal with these flavorful and memorable Asian appetizers to keep your guests interested all the way through. Get a little experimental with your cooking journey, and let me know how your work turned out.