I’m excited to share with you the best Asian side dishes that are super delicious and a great way to round out your main course. Whether you’re looking for Chinese, Thai, Japanese or Korean—there’s something here for you and the whole family!
In Japan, dining on small plates of bar-food vs. a single meal is common. Japanese culture has their own version of a Spanish Tapas-style restaurant called the izakaya. So it stands to reason that creating a meal composed entirely of delicious Asian side dishes can help recreate the fun, communal Japanese dining experience.
One of my favorite things about many Asian dishes is that they tend to be simple to prepare with minimal ingredients but brought to life with flavored spices and sauces—making most easy recipes to prepare. Who doesn’t love minimal work and maximum flavor?
Well, if you’re like me – and are looking to put some Asian vegetables on the table next to a couple of rice side dishes, this post is for you!
Here you’ll find 35 of the best Asian side dishes I serve at my place.
Asian Side Dishes Are Big Time Savers in the Kitchen
One of the biggest challenges we face as a home chefs is preparing meals that keep it interesting and delicious, while finding time to actually fit cooking into our busy lives. If something requires many ingredients and takes 3 hours to prepare, it’s not going to get made very often, right?!
Special occasions: yes. Busy Tuesday evening after work, soccer practice and a flute recital: not so much.
One of my favorite things about many Asian dishes is that they tend to be simple to prepare and pack a punch in the flavor department. Many times, Asian cuisine will rely on minimal ingredients, prepared simply – and then everything is brought to life with aggressively flavored sauces and spices.
What Sauces or Spices Should I Keep Stocked?
Keeping sauce and spice staples in your pantry and fridge can help speed up your cooking process each time you want to whip up a quick but delicious side dish. A tablespoon of a condiment like fish sauce is a great addition that can go a long way to delivering a deep umami kick to a dish. And a tiny bit of chili crisp or sesame oil can take a simply prepared dish to the moon from a flavor perspective. Many of these dishes have common ingredients so keeping them stocked for the future will come in handy!
- Fish sauce
- Chili crisp
- Sesame oil
- Light Soy Sauce
- Mushroom-based oyster sauce (vegan-friendly)
- Liquid aminos (gluten-free friendly)
After you’ve gathered all of your favorite sauce and spice ingredients, you’re halfway to being able to whip up the perfect side dish in no time. See, simple ingredients make great recipes!
Whether you’re here looking for the perfect side to go with your almost-finished-dinner or hoping to fill the table with a ton of colorful small plates, I hope you find your new favorite from this list of easy-to-make Asian side dish recipes! Enjoy!
35 Asian Side Dishes
Bok Choy with Garlic and Oyster Sauce
This quick stir fry is a light delight and doesn’t skip out on flavor—and it only takes about 10 minutes! Pair it with rice, soup, a tofu dish, or lo mein to impress your friends or family!
Smacked Cucumber with Chili Oil
This dish is jam-packed with flavors from spicy to salty to sour! This is one of my favorite Chinese pickled cucumber recipes and is another super quick recipe to make. It’s a little more creative and fun than your typical side dish because of the attentiveness the smacked cucumber requires!
Char Siu Style Roasted Eggplant
Char siu is traditionally known for being a Cantonese style of barbecued pork. However, this is a healthier and meat-free take on the Chinese roasted pork with both sweet and savory flavors!
Chinese Broccoli with Garlic Sauce (Gai Lan)
Chinese broccoli can be found on most traditional Chinese menus—but now you can make it a staple in your home. This dish gives a satisfying, savory crunch, full of flavor with a slight bitterness to perk up your taste buds. Serve with white rice, Moo Goo Gai Pan, or Singapore Chow Mei Fun!
Dry Fried Green Beans
Take green beans to a whole new level with this tender, juicy, umami-flavored recipe! If you’ve ever ordered green beans from your favorite Chinese restaurants, these are sure to be similar to the ones you’ve always loved to order.
Blistered Shishito Peppers
Shishito peppers are a Japanese gastropub favorite. This recipe will bring out the smoky, umami perfection it’s meant to have—and only takes 10 minutes from start to finish!
Nasu Dengaku (Miso Glazed Eggplant)
Learn to make a delicious, traditional Japanese nasu dengaku recipe in just 15 minutes! Taste the tender texture of eggplant with this caramelized, sweet and savory miso glaze and you’ll be coming back for more!
Gomae is the best Japanese spinach salad because it’s dressed with nutty, savory, and sweet sesame sauce. You can even toast your own sesame seeds if you want the best flavor for your side!
The classic miso soup side dish originated in Japan—now a common staple and offering in Japanese restaurants across the United States and beyond. Now with just three ingredients you can make your own deliciously delicate Japanese soup in just 15 minutes!
Japanese Egg Drop Soup (Kakitamajiru)
Egg Drop Soup traditionally known to be a Chinese-rooted dish but it’s also been made popular in Japanese (known as kakitamajiru) and French (known as tourin) cultures. This side dish goes well with just about anything and can be ready in just 10 minutes!
Tom Kha, traditionally a dish from Thailand, is a silky and milky coconut soup loaded with aromatic flavors. It takes less than 20 minutes to make and will give you a small taste of Southeast Asia!
Japanese cabbage salad is a common Japanese side dish that is simple and refreshing. There are various versions of Japanese coleslaw, traditionally with soy sauce and lemon juice, but this one is a little different… Can’t wait to hear what you think!
Kani means ‘crab’ in Japanese—so Kani salad translates to crab salad. This specific version is light and creamy with cucumber that has notes of both sweet and salty flavors—and is a super easy recipe to make!
Japanese Seaweed Salad
Seaweed Salad (also known as Kaisou Salada) gives a refreshing taste to cold kelp with a pucker-worthy tartness. If you like tart and sour foods, the level of acidity in this side dish will leave your mouth watering and wanting more!
Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad
If you’re seeking a refreshing crunch with spicy and smoky flavors—look not further! This delicious Korean Cucumber Salad can be ready in 10 minutes and will be the perfect side with your next Korean BBQ dinner!
Korean Bean Sprout Salad
This Korean Bean Sprout Salad (also known as Sookju Namul) is an essential Korean side dish that’s both nutty and refreshing. It’s a simple but delicious side dish that can be made in about 10 minutes!
Edamame with Spicy Garlic Sauce
This Japanese appetizer is packed with garlic-filled goodness and spice—and super easy to make! Pairs great with, well, pretty much any main dish!
Edamame with Soy and Sesame Sauce
This edamame recipe is another flavorful side that’s simple to make. The great thing about edamame is that it’s healthy but also versatile in the flavors it can hold!
Vegetable Bao Buns
Make restaurant-quality, fluffy bao buns in the comfort of your own kitchen! They are often served as a breakfast item in China but it’s truly great as a side for any occasion!
Vegetable Egg Rolls
Making egg rolls at home can be so easy and they will taste even better because they’re super fresh. You’ll never want to order them again! Pair it with any noodle or rice dish and you’ll be all set!
Mushroom Cabbage Dumpling
Making dumplings is a fun, hands-on recipe you can make with your whole family. This vegetarian side is earthy, savory, and delightful on the palate. Try it with this vegan dan dan noodle recipe for full effect!
Kimchi Tofu Mandu
These Korean Dumplings are crispy on the outside but moist on the inside— with a spicy and smoky flavor you won’t soon forget. The great thing about dumplings is that you can make a lot at once and they freeze well so you can eat them later too!
Tamagoyaki (meaning grilled egg) is a traditional Japanese omelet that can be made both savory and sweet. It’s a breakfast dish that’s highly kid-friendly and you only need 8 ingredients! It can be ready in just 15 minutes too!
Korean Steamed Egg
Korean Steamed Egg (also known as Gyeran Jjim) is a light and fluffy, savory egg soufflé. It can be served on its own, with a side of rice, or as banchan (the small side dishes served as part of a larger meal)!
Inari sushi is a traditional Japanese dish that is essentially a sweet and savory-packed pocket of deliciousness. It can be on your table in just under 20 minutes!
Onigiri (Rice Balls)
Whether you call it Onigiri or Musubi, there’s a lot to love about Japanese rice balls! These lightly compressed and salted balls of goodness can be filled with pickled plums or okaka—and wrapped in sheets of nori to make it picture perfect!
Filipino Garlic Rice
This Filipino Garlic Rice (also known as Sinangag) is a breakfast staple in the Philippines—infused with a fragrant garlic oil and loaded with crispy garlic chips. This side can be made within 10 minutes—and pairing it with Jasmine rice will make it even more divine!
Japanese Fried Rice (Yakimeshi)
This Japanese Fried Rice recipe (also known as Yakimeshi) requires no Teppanyaki grill to perfect. You can create this simple and savory side at home and in just 15 minutes!
Kimchi Fried Rice
This classic Kimchi Fried Rice dish (also known as Kimchi Bokkeumbap) originated in Korea. If you’re a fan of kimchi, then you’ll be a fan of this sour and spice flavored fried rice dish—and it only takes roughly 15 minutes to prepare!
Pandesal, or pan de sal, translates to salty bread. If you’re not a fan of salt, don’t let this name easily fool you—it’s more so lightly sweet than anything else! These fluffy Filipino breakfast rolls are great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
With these easy asian side dishes your family dinner will never be bland! Who knew such simple steps could turn into one of the best home chefs on the block!
What do you think about this compilation of 35 Asian Side Dishes? Did you find what you were looking for? What’s your go-to signature food pairing to your favorite main meal? Share your favorite, easy side dish, tips, and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad
This Korean cucumber salad is an explosion of spicy, tart, savory, slightly sweet and crunchy!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: makes about 1.5 cups 1x
- Category: Salads
- Method: Mixed
- Cuisine: Korean
- Place the cucumber slices and chopped scallions in a medium or large mixing bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix vinegar, soy sauce and garlic. Stir in sugar and salt and keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- Pour the sauce over the cucumber slices and scallions and toss.
- Sprinkle chili pepper flakes and sesame seeds and toss until the cucumber slices are evenly coated. Serve.
This spicy Korean cucumber salad will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days in an airtight storage container.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 32
- Sugar: 2.3g
- Sodium: 729.8mg
- Fat: 1.2g
- Saturated Fat: 0.2g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0.5g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 4.7g
- Fiber: 1.2g
- Protein: 1.2g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: spicy, crunchy, vegan, vegetarian, banchan