Tatler Dining’s Asia Food Championships: The Winners
- Favourite Asian BreakfastFavourite Asian Breakfast
- Favourite Asian Street FoodFavourite Asian Street Food
- Favourite Asian DessertFavourite Asian Dessert
- Favourite Asian Noodle DishFavourite Asian Noodle Dish
- Favourite Asian Rice DishFavourite Asian Rice Dish
- Favourite Asian PastryFavourite Asian Pastry
- Favourite Asian DrinkFavourite Asian Drink
You voted for your favourite Asian foods, from breakfast to dessert to street snacks—here are the results
To tie in with the Olympics fever and the excitement around Tokyo 2020, Tatler Dining ran its own Asia Food Championships, where you, our readers, voted on social media for your favourite Asian dishes, crowning winners in a variety of categories, from breakfast and dessert to street food and drinks.
Tatler Dining teams in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Taiwan asked their audiences on Instagram for their favourite local dishes. These were joined by favourites from across Asia, with representation from India, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Each round of the quarter-finals saw two regions, picked out of a hat, go up against each other, with the winner progressing to the semi-finals and then the finals, each time going to the public vote. There were close calls, as well as clear winners. Read on to discover which Asian dishes won out in the end.
Favourite Asian Breakfast
Kicking off the competition with the dishes that best start the day, the Hong Kong heats for breakfast saw Hong Kong favourites egg sandwiches, congee and instant noodles, bow to the popularity of dim sum. In Singapore kaya toast pipped roti prata, congee and fried bee hoon to the post, while nasi lemak was the firm favourite to represent Malaysia. Beef soup soared above other morning delights in Taiwan, while tapa was the chosen dish to go through to the quarter-finals for the Philippines. Other representatives from Asia included Thailand’s Thai omelette, Vietnam’s banh cuon and India’s paratha.
Clear winners in the quarter-finals saw kaya toast go up against nasi lemak in the semis with the latter winning out, and tapa up against dim sum, with dim sum gaining the most votes for a final that saw Malaysia pitched against Hong Kong—with Hong Kong’s dim sum coming out on top.
Winner: Hong Kong’s Dim Sum
Favourite Asian Street Food
Hong Kong’s egg waffles and Singapore’s muahchee were easy wins in the street food regional heats, as was taho in the Philippines and stinky tofu in the Philippines. Malaysia, however, saw an intense three-corner fight between goreng pisang, satay and Ramly burger, with the burger winning out in the end. Other representatives included Indonesia’s bakpao, South Korea’s hotteok and India’s jalebi.
The voting was decisive in the quarters and semis, where the Ramly burger beat out jalebi and then muahchee, marking more wins for Malaysia, though the burger couldn’t quite beat out Hong Kong’s egg waffle, which had sailed through the quarters and semis with victories over bakpao and South Korea’s hotteok, in the finals.
Winner: Hong Kong’s Egg Waffle
Favourite Asian Dessert
It was a close call between mango pomelo sago and tofu fa as to which dessert would represent Hong Kong, with the latter winning out by just 10 votes. Ice kachang went through for Singapore, cendol for Malaysia with more than 75% of the votes, halo halo for the Philippines and Taiwan’s own tofu pudding. Thailand’s mango sticky rice, Japan’s mochi and South Korea’s songpyeon also featured.
There were close calls in the quarter-finals for this category with mochi just winning out over cendol to face Thailand’s mango sticky rice in the semis; and Hong Kong’s tofu fa barely beating Taiwan’s version to face the Philippines’ halo halo around which there was a lot of rallying on Instagram. But it wasn’t enough to get the Filipino national dessert through to the semis. Hong Kong’s tofu fa won by a decent margin to face Thailand’s mango sticky rice in finals, which saw an easy win by Thailand with almost twice as many votes as Hong Kong.
Winner: Thailand’s Mango Sticky Rice
Favourite Asian Noodle Dish
Noodles can be a contentious topic, but most regions easily settled on which dish would represent them: wonton noodles for Hong Kong; bak chor mee for Singapore; maggi goreng for Malaysia (though Asam laksa was a close second); pancit malabon for the Philippines and beef noodles for Taiwan, with Thailand’s pad Thai, Myanmar’s khao suey and South Korea’s japchae also joining the race.
Pancit malabon, khao suey, bak chor mee and japchae were all out of favour in the quarter-finals, with maggi goreng taking on won on noodles in the semis—albeit unsuccessfully—and phad Thai going up against—and beating—Taiwan’s renowned beef noodles. Another finals saw Hong Kong take on Thailand and though the votes were closer this time, Thailand’s phad Thai came out victorious.
Winner: Thailand’s Phad Thai
Favourite Asian Rice Dish
As for noodles, most regions had clear rice favourites: char siu and egg rice for Hong Kong, Hainanese chicken rice for Singapore, sinangag for the Philippines, and braised pork rice for Taiwan. There were only six votes separating nasi lemak and banana leaf rice as Malaysia’s favourite, but the former won out, joining Indonesia’s nasi padang, Japan’s kaisendon and India’s pilau in the quarter-finals.
There were less than 50 votes between Taiwan’s braised pork rice and Indonesia’s nasi padang in the semis, which had beaten out pilau and sinangag respectively in the quarters, but the latter pipped the pork to the post. It was also a close battle for Hainanese chicken rice, which just came out on top of nasi lemak in the quarters, and kaisendon, which saw char siu and egg rice fall by the wayside, with the former winning out. The final pitched Indonesia against Singapore, with the classic chicken rice coming out on top.
Winner: Singapore’s Hainanese Chicken Rice
Favourite Asian Pastry
There was barely any debate over the pastries that would represent each region with Hong Kong voting for the flaky egg tart; Singapore for popiah, Malaysia for kuih talam, Philippines for ensaymada, and Taiwan for its pineapple cakes, joining Indonesia’s bika ambon, Japan’s dorayaki and India’s samosa in the quarter finals.
The samosa went up against the pineapple cake in the semi-finals and came out on top to face Hong Kong’s flaky egg tart, which had pushed out kuih talam in the semis with more than four times the number of votes. It therefore seemed likely that it would be an easy victory for Hong Kong in the finals—and it was, with the beloved pastry taking three times the number of votes as India’s savoury snack,
Winner: Hong Kong’s Flaky Egg Tart
Favourite Asian Drink
Teas topped the chart when it came to liquid refreshment, with milk tea going through for Hong Kong, teh tarik for Malaysia and bubble tea for Taiwan, though the Philippines voted for the mango shake and Singapore for its milo dinosaur. These joined Japan’s matcha, India’s masala chai, and the only alcoholic drink to make it through, South Korea’s makgeolli.
Teh tarik breezed through to the semis, where it met matcha, which had just beaten the mango shake in one of the closest quarter-final head-to-heads. Things remained tense with Malaysia beating Japan by less than 40 votes to go up again Taiwan’s bubble tea, which had sailed through to meet Hong Kong’s milk tea in the semis, and though the latter had put up a good fight, Taiwan remained victorious—and continued its streak to be crowned winner of best drink.