These authentic Asian appetizers are full of flavor and easy to make! You can have all of your favorites right at home.
Don’t get me wrong; I love a piece of garlic bread or a bowl of spinach dip as much as the next gal.
Best Asian Appetizers and Starters
But sometimes, I’m on the lookout for something different.
That’s where these Asian starters come in! From spicy spring rolls to crispy fried tofu, there is something for every palate on this list.
Most of the unique ingredients can often be found in Asian grocery stores or bigger supermarkets. But there’s always a simple substitution if you’re missing something.
Though I like my food spicy, you can always adjust the levels in each recipe or omit the spice altogether.
These dishes are so flavorful; they often don’t need any heat.
Make any of these 30 Asian appetizers for snacks that everyone will happily gobble up!
1. P.F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Between the low carbs, short prep time, and super flavorful chicken, you’ll want to make these almost every day.
I think the thing we all struggle with when making restaurant-worthy food at home is the sauce. How do they make it so good? No jarred sauce ever comes close!
This sauce is a simple mix of garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and sriracha.
You should make plenty because it will be great on other dishes, too!
2. Fresh Spring Rolls
As much as I love a crispy, deep-fried spring roll, I seriously can’t get enough of this vibrant dish.
Using rice paper is such a great way to hold all those veggies together while still showcasing the beautiful colors.
Serve these with some of that flavorful sauce from above, or try out a batch of Thai peanut sauce for something extra special.
3. Chicken Satay
I’m a massive fan of mixing things up at a BBQ. Sure, I love a good burger, but I like to have a selection of delicious things to choose from.
And sometimes, I’m just in the mood for some incredibly juicy, spicy chicken skewers with creamy peanut sauce.
Any chicken will be divine with this sauce, but it’s the marinade that really makes it all pop. Other than the lemongrass, I’ll bet you have all the spices already at home.
4. Avocado Raita Recipe
This refreshing recipe is a cross between a dip and guacamole. It can be served with just about anything, and you can modify the spice level easily.
As a sauce, I would suggest using a blender to make it nice and smooth. But if you want to use this recipe for a dip, I like to keep it a little chunky.
5. Homemade Egg Rolls
When a personal deep-fryer costs under $50, there’s really no reason not to have one. Although, the temptation to make fries at every meal is strong!
But you can also make some fantastic homemade egg rolls. Let’s be honest; baked egg rolls are not quite the same.
This recipe uses ground pork, but the chicken filling from the lettuce wraps would make a great alternative.
Just be sure to fry them in batches, so you don’t crowd the hot oil.
6. Vegetable Pakora Recipe
The beauty of a pakora recipe is that you can modify the veggies to your liking. I would suggest keeping onion and cabbage for crunch and flavor, but the rest is up to you.
These crunchy little bites would be the perfect side to a curry or served as a starter with some avocado raita.
Simple, fresh, and loaded with nutrients, this veggie appetizer is super easy to put together.
Edamame are soybeans with a sweet buttery taste. Once steamed or boiled, they’re the perfect crunchy snack.
When cooked in salt water, the pods will absorb the flavor during cooking. But if you feel like a little spice, try sprinkling with some chili flakes.
8. Sweet and Spicy Chinese Five-Spice Roasted Almonds
Not all appetizers need to be filing. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a salty snack while you wait for the main course.
When you toast the almonds, the sweet and creamy flavor will enhance them.
They will be extra tasty with the salty-sweet coating. I would also be tempted to add some chili powder to the mix.
9. Cheesy Crab Rangoon Dip (Hot Crab Dip)
There’s something irresistible about a big bowl of hot-dip, especially when it’s covered in melted cheese.
Using a cream cheese base, this dip incorporates lots of chunks of juicy crab meat. You’ll need something substantial to scoop this one.
10. Japanese Rice Balls
Onigiri, or omusubi, can be found in lunch boxes and convenience stores all over Japan. They can be served as rice balls or shaped into triangles.
Some prefer the simplicity of lightly salted rice with black sesame seeds and seaweed. But I like to add something to the middle.
Some popular options are pickled plums or smoked salmon chunks.
11. Easy Korean Spicy Rice Cakes
If you’re a fan of mochi, then this dish is for you. These rice cakes have a very similar texture and are one of Korea’s most famous street foods.
You can usually find frozen rice cakes in your local Korean grocery store. But they’re super easy to make at home!
This whole dish can be made in one pot, and it has plenty of spice!
12. Shredded Potato Pancake
You can have this crunchy snack on the plate in less than 15 minutes, and it only needs a handful of ingredients.
I’ve had these steamed before, but I much prefer the crunch on the golden potatoes.
As always, you can adjust the spices in here if you’re not a fan of the licorice-taste you get from Chinese five-spice.
13. Daikon Radish Salad
Unlike regular radishes, daikon has a milder, less peppery flavor. This makes it the perfect base for a kimchi-like dish.
Crisp, juicy, and ready to serve in just 10 minutes, this is such a fresh and unique way to start a meal.
If you have the time, let it sit in an air-tight container for at least 30 minutes for maximum flavor.
14. Tofu Satay with Peanut Sauce
It was a while before tofu really grew on me, and it’s recipes like this that helped.
I wished I’d known that tofu often needs to be pressed to create a firmer texture.
I like to press my tofu between plates while I work on the rest of the dish. Once the excess moisture has seeped out, it’s ready to be marinated.
If you’ve had tofu before but were turned off by the texture, be sure to buy the firm kind!
After roasting in a hot oven, the edged will be crisp, but the middle will stay tender.
15. Chinese Scallion Pancakes
This is, hands down, one of my all-time favorite dishes to make. It has a few steps, but it’s so worth it in the end.
I’m a massive fan of scallions and their unique onion flavor. I also love crunchy fried pancakes!
With the resting time, this appetizer will take about an hour to make.
But it is made of such simple ingredients and will leave you with a flavorful pancake that can be served alongside spicy beef, or with a simple dipping sauce as a snack.
16. Vegetable Samosas
The dough for these samosas is wonderfully uncomplicated and requires no mixer or proof time.
That being said, if you want to take a shortcut, you can use phyllo dough for this recipe.
I like to keep my samosas simple, sticking with the classic potato, pea, and onion combination. It’s the spices that do all the hard work, anyway!
If you’re using fresh ginger, a great tip is to peel, chop, and freeze your root. It can then be pulled and grated per the recipe.
The same goes for chilis. I keep mine in a freezer bag and only cut off what I need.
17. Easy Dongchimi (Radish Water Kimchi)
If you’re looking for a light and refreshing kimchi fix without having to wait for a 3-month ferment, this recipe is for you.
A little bitter, slightly sweet, and with just the right amount of salt, this dish is a clear soup with tender radishes that should be served cold.
Unlike traditional kimchi that can take weeks to ferment, this is ready to eat after just a few days.
18. Asian Cucumber Salad
You’ll be surprised at what the right spices can do to the humble cucumber.
Crisp and traditionally mild, this dish amps up the flavor with rice wine vinegar, scallions, ginger, chili flakes, and garlic.
Once your dressing is ready, toss the cucumber chunks and serve immediately with lots of sesame seeds for crunch.
19. Kimchi Pancake (kimchijeon)
We all know one person who is a little obsessed with kimchi. Well, after trying these pancakes, you might just go over to the dark side!
This is such an excellent way to enjoy all those wonderfully weird sour-sweet-spicy flavors. All you’ll need for the batter is flour, salt, and some starch.
20. Khandvi Recipe
The first time you make this recipe, I highly recommend working with a partner.
The batter can be tricky, and you’ll need to work quickly to prevent it from forming lumps.
It’s an unusual recipe, in that you need to cook the batter (stirring continuously) like you would a pastry cream.
Once it has thickened, you’ll need to spread it out on a clean surface and roll once it dries slightly.
Remember to work quickly! The batter will go lumpy if you let it cool, and the rolling can take some trial and error.
But once you get it, these are such tasty little snacks!
21. Dahi Vada
This unusual little snack is super popular across India. Some recipes will include lentils into the batter, and some keep it simple with a flour-based dough.
Once you have your dough made and deep-fried, it’ll need to be soaked in water.
After 20 minutes, press the water out and cover it in your spiced yogurt and chutney.
22. Crispy Skin Stuffed Tofu
Crispy tofu is so good, even the most avid carnivore in your life will be reaching for seconds.
Being a big fan of classic prawn toast, I knew I’d love this simple little dish.
The filling is made using a seasoned shrimp paste, which is then stuffed into the tofu before the whole thing gets deep-fried.
23. Aloo Bhujia
If you’re looking for something crunchy and straightforward for people to have before dinner, this one is for you.
The easiest way to achieve the crunchy potato noodles is with a potato ricer. This will ensure you have uniform pieces of potato dough to cook.
24. Atsuage Recipe
Atsuage could not be simpler. All it is is deep-fried tofu, and it can be found all over Japan.
The beauty of keeping it simple – there isn’t even a batter – is that you can pair this with almost anything.
From Thai peanut sauce to a spicy and sweet Korean Chogochujang dipping sauce, this mild but crunchy snack will please everyone.
25. Japanese Chilled Tofu (Hiyayakko Recipe) 冷奴
If you’re a fan of flan because of its silky smooth texture, then you’ll love this chilled tofu.
Silken tofu is extra creamy and velvety soft. Much like the recipe above, the mild flavor means it pairs so well with any number of toppings.
I like to provide a selection so people can choose their own. Personally, I prefer something with a bit of crunch along with some heat.
26. Sticky Baked Chinese Chicken Wings
One bite of these, and you’ll never make buffalo wings again. The sweet, spicy, sticky glaze is just to die for!
The best part is that the marinade needs just 10-15 minutes to do its magic.
In fact, it’s recommended not to leave the wings for longer than that, or they will become too salty.
And the key to keeping them sticky is to baste the wings a few times during the cook.
This crispy flatbread is excellent to serve alone or with any number of fun sauces and dips.
Typically made using gram flour, the dough incorporates some seasoning for added flavor.
Be sure to keep the dough relatively dry, but work it until smooth.
When rolling, the papadums needs to be rolled super thin, and each side should be lightly coated in oil. When ready, they can be baked or friend until crisp.
28. Vegetable Tempura
So it might not be the healthiest option, but who doesn’t love a plate full of tempura?
Be sure to use a selection of veggies that can be eaten raw since the cooking time is so short.
For the lightest, most crispy batter, try using sparkling water, or even a citrus soda, like Sprite.
The bubbles will help create tiny bubbles in the batter, and the citrus flavor will enhance the veggies so well.
29. Thai Style Popcorn
I’ve been to a few restaurants that serve popcorn as a table snack, and I have to say, it’s genius!
The bowl certainly doesn’t last long, whether it’s salt and pepper or something sweet.
But this recipe is something else. Between the crunchy caramel and spicy sriracha, you might have a fight on your hands.
30. Thai Peanut Salad Wonton Cups
For a starter, I love having bite-sized foods that can be shared and enjoyed around a table. And these wonton cups are great for sharing.
From the zesty slaw to the chopped peanuts, this dish is bursting with flavor.
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