Sorry, vegans. Since the start, Asian cultures have been out here roasting like a Comedy Central special. Of course, dishes like brisket, bulgogi and peking duck are classic, but that’s just the tip of the meat-berg.
To help you expand your palate, here are nine Asian BBQ dishes that are guaranteed to bring the smoke to your next cookout.
1. Karubi (Japanese)
Short ribs can fill a tall appetite. It’s a staple in yakiniku (aka Japanese BBQ) and it’s easy to see why! The tender cut of meat just melts in your mouth. If galbi is your go-to order at K-BBQ, you can expect a few differences. Unlike its K-cousin, karubi is boneless.
2. Khorkhog (Mongolian)
A dish popularized by nomads, khorkhog is a warm, delicious meal that can make anywhere feel like home. Made from lamb meat, the dish is cooked over hot rocks for hours. Don’t have a firepit inside your apartment? That’s cool, khorkhog is traditionally cooked outdoors anyways.
3. Satay (Southeast Asia)
The most portable treat on this list, you can take satay on-the-go thanks to its nifty bamboo skewer. You’ll probably want a free hand for the dipping sauce, which is typically made with a combination of curry and peanut butter. Your local Thai spot will have beef, chicken or pork satay, but the dish can be cooked with any kind of meat, from snake to elephant.
4. Lechón (Filipino)
Don’t hog this dish to yourself. This massive whole-roasted pig is a cornerstone of Filipino cuisine. From its crispy skin to its flavorful belly, lechón is your Thanksgiving turkey turned up by a hundred. Don’t take our word for it—Anthony Bourdain calls the dish “the best pig ever.”
5. Ayam Bakar (Indonesian/Malaysian)
This roasted chicken dish will leave your eyes watering with its generous helpings of chili. If you’re not feeling that dangerous, some Indonesian cultures choose to marinate their ayam bakar cluckers in sweet sauces instead.
6. Boti Kebab (Indian)
Marinated in spicy yogurt, boti is a delectable snack that originates from Lucknow, a city in Northern India. Just because the meat is cut into cubes doesn’t mean this dish is square, though. Boti kebab is red-hot with spices.
7. Char Siu (Chinese)
Ready to pig out? Char siu is a popular Cantonese pork roast that features an explosion of sweet and sour flavor. Sticky and crunchy in texture, this dish is the bread and butter of any Chinese takeout spot.
8. Shoyu Chicken (Pacific)
You’ll be a winner, winner with this chicken dinner. Popular in Polynesian cuisine, shoyu chicken is marinated with generous bastings of soy sauce, and flavored with ginger. Finish it with a sweet, teriyaki glaze that would make any donut jealous, and you’ll have a meal worthy of the islands.
9. Gopchang (Korean)
If you have the guts (literally), throw some gopchang onto your grill the next time you’re having K-BBQ. Its chewy texture and savory flavor makes it a popular dish in Korea. If you need more convincing, gopchang is also good for you! It’s filled with iron and if you get too lit, the dish is said to help break down alcohol.