Types of Restaurants in Asia: A Culinary Journey Through 5 Countries

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A restaurant is a business which prepares and serves food and drinks to customers in exchange for money, either paid before the meal, after the meal, or with an open account. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services. Restaurants vary greatly in appearance and offerings, including a wide variety of the main chef’s cuisines and service models.

The most common types of restaurants in Asia are Korean BBQ, Chinese, and Japanese. There’s also Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian. Plus, there are fusion restaurants that combine two or more of these types.

In this article, I’ll take you through the most common types of restaurants in Asia and what to expect when you visit one.

Types of restaurants in Asia

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China: A Culinary Journey Through the Land of the Red Dragon

When it comes to Chinese cuisine, the traditional Chinese restaurant is the go-to place for locals and tourists alike. These restaurants offer a wide range of dishes, from the familiar to the exotic, and are known for their authentic flavors and ingredients. Here are some things to expect when dining at a traditional Chinese restaurant:

  • The menu may be in Chinese, so it’s helpful to have someone who can read it or use a translation app.
  • Dishes are typically served family-style, with everyone sharing from communal plates.
  • Tea is often served as a complimentary beverage.
  • Don’t be surprised if you see some unusual dishes on the menu, such as chicken feet or pig’s ears. These are considered delicacies in Chinese cuisine.

The Dim Sum Restaurant

Dim sum is a style of Chinese cuisine that involves small, bite-sized portions of food served in steamer baskets or on small plates. Dim sum restaurants are popular for breakfast and lunch, and are a great way to sample a variety of dishes. Here’s what you can expect at a dim sum restaurant:

  • Servers push carts around the restaurant, offering a variety of dishes for guests to choose from.
  • Dishes are typically steamed or fried, and may include dumplings, buns, and rice noodle rolls.
  • Tea is a staple beverage at dim sum restaurants, and is often served in small cups.
  • It’s customary to share dishes with your dining companions, so don’t be afraid to try something new.

The Street Food Scene

China’s street food scene is legendary, and offers a wide range of delicious and affordable options. From steamed buns to grilled skewers, there’s something for everyone. Here are some tips for navigating China’s street food scene:

  • Look for vendors with long lines, as this is a sign that the food is popular and fresh.
  • Be adventurous and try new things! Some of the best street food in China is the most unusual.
  • Be prepared to eat standing up or on the go, as there may not be seating available.
  • Keep an eye out for food safety and hygiene, and avoid vendors who don’t follow proper food handling practices.

Links published by Agne Kelly, Pangupdated.

Exploring the Different Types of Japanese Restaurants

Fast food restaurants in Japan are a quick and affordable alternative to traditional Japanese restaurants. These types of restaurants offer a variety of dishes, from grilled meat to boiled vegetables, and they are usually located in small stores or chain restaurants. Fast food restaurants in Japan are known for their quick service and fresh ingredients. One of the most famous fast food chains in Japan is Yoshinoya, which serves gyudon, a bowl of rice topped with beef and vegetables. Another popular dish is donburi, which is a bowl of rice topped with pork or seafood. Fast food restaurants in Japan are extremely popular, and you can find them in almost every city.

Izakaya Restaurants

Izakaya restaurants are a type of Japanese restaurant that serves small dishes and drinks. These types of restaurants are perfect for a night out with friends or colleagues. Izakaya restaurants usually offer a variety of dishes, from grilled meat to seafood, and they are known for their affordable prices. The atmosphere in these restaurants is lively and welcoming, and the service is quick and efficient. Izakaya restaurants are a great way to try different types of Japanese food without breaking the bank.

Sushi Restaurants

Sushi restaurants in Japan are known for their fresh and delicious sushi dishes. Sushi is a type of Japanese cuisine that features raw fish served on top of vinegared rice. Sushi restaurants in Japan offer a variety of different types of sushi, from nigiri (raw fish on top of rice) to maki (rolled sushi). The quality of the fish in sushi restaurants is extremely important, and the chefs take great care in preparing and presenting each dish. Sushi restaurants in Japan can be expensive, but the experience of eating fresh sushi is definitely worth the price.

The Unique Types of Restaurants You Can Encounter in Seoul, South Korea

Korean BBQ is a must-try when visiting Seoul. You’ll find many BBQ restaurants scattered throughout the city, and they’re usually packed with locals and tourists alike. The meat is cooked right at your table, and you can enjoy it with various side dishes like kimchi, pickled vegetables, and rice. Don’t forget to try the famous galbi (beef short ribs) and samgyeopsal (pork belly)!

Street Food Stalls

Seoul is a street food paradise, and you can find all sorts of delicious snacks and meals on the go. From tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) to hotteok (sweet pancakes), there’s something for everyone. You can also try the famous Korean fried chicken, which is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The best part? Street food in Seoul is cheap, so you can try many different things without breaking the bank.

Placement Restaurants

In Seoul, you can find restaurants in the most unexpected places. Some restaurants are located in basements, while others are on the rooftops of buildings. There are even restaurants that are hidden behind bookshelves or vending machines. These placement restaurants offer a unique dining experience and are perfect for those who love adventure.

Asia Fusion Restaurants

Korean cuisine is delicious, but sometimes you might crave something different. Seoul has many Asia fusion restaurants that combine Korean flavors with other Asian cuisines like Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese. You can try Korean-style sushi rolls, Korean-Chinese noodles, or Korean-Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches. These fusion restaurants offer a new twist on traditional Korean dishes.

Exploring the Diverse Restaurant Scene in Thailand

If you prefer Western or fine dining restaurants, then Thailand has plenty of options to choose from. These restaurants serve a mix of Thai and Western dishes and are perfect for a romantic dinner or a special occasion. The prices are slightly expensive, but the food and service are excellent. Some of the Western and fine dining restaurants that you can consider include:

  • Gaggan: This restaurant is located in Bangkok and is considered one of the best restaurants in Asia. It serves a 25-course tasting menu that features a mix of Indian and Thai dishes.
  • Nahm: This restaurant is located in Bangkok and serves traditional Thai dishes with a modern twist.
  • Savelberg: This restaurant is located in Bangkok and serves French cuisine with a Thai twist.

Seafood and Meat Restaurants

Thailand is famous for its seafood and meat dishes. The seafood is fresh and served with a variety of sauces. The meat dishes include pork, chicken, and beef. Some of the seafood and meat restaurants that you can try include:

  • Laem Charoen Seafood: This restaurant is located in Bangkok and serves a wide range of seafood dishes.
  • Prachak Roasted Duck: This restaurant is located in Bangkok and serves roasted duck that is sliced into small parts and served with rice.
  • Jay Fai: This restaurant is located in Bangkok and is famous for its crab omelet and other seafood dishes.

Discovering the Diverse and Delicious Types of Restaurants in Malaysia

Malaysia is a country with a rich and diverse food culture, influenced by its multiethnic population. Malaysians take their food seriously, and it’s not uncommon for locals to travel long distances just to find the perfect meal. The country’s cuisine is a blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European influences, resulting in a unique and delicious fusion of flavors.

Types of Restaurants in Malaysia

When it comes to finding a delicious meal in Malaysia, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of the most popular types of restaurants in the country:

Hawker Centers:
Hawker centers are open-air food courts that offer a wide variety of affordable and delicious food. These centers are a popular choice among locals and tourists alike, and you can find them in almost every city and town in Malaysia.

Mamak Stalls:
Mamak stalls are a type of Indian Muslim restaurant that serves a variety of dishes, including roti canai, nasi kandar, and teh tarik. These stalls are open 24 hours a day and are a popular spot for late-night dining.

Seafood Restaurants:
Malaysia is home to some of the best seafood in the world, and there are plenty of seafood restaurants to choose from. These restaurants offer a variety of fresh seafood dishes, including crab, prawns, and fish.

Malay Restaurants:
Malay restaurants offer traditional Malay dishes, such as nasi lemak, rendang, and satay. These restaurants are a great place to experience the unique flavors of Malaysian cuisine.

Chinese Restaurants:
Chinese restaurants in Malaysia offer a wide variety of dishes, including dim sum, noodles, and rice dishes. These restaurants are popular among Malaysians and are a great place to enjoy a delicious meal.

Enjoying a Meal in Malaysia

Regardless of which type of restaurant you choose, there are a few things to keep in mind when enjoying a meal in Malaysia:

  • Malaysians typically eat with their hands, so don’t be afraid to try it yourself!
  • It’s common to share dishes with others at the table, so don’t be surprised if someone offers you a taste of their food.
  • If you’re unsure of what to order, don’t be afraid to ask the waiter or waitress for recommendations.
  • Be sure to try some of Malaysia’s national dishes, such as nasi lemak and laksa.


So, that’s a brief look at the types of restaurants in Asia. You can find everything from street food to fine dining, and the best part is that they’re all so delicious! So, go out and explore!

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.