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Popular Office Lunches in Asia

Being the most populated content, Asia is home to many different cultures, all which have their own characteristic cuisine. The five major regional cuisines in Asia are East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian, Central Asian and Middle Eastern.

Below are four signature recipes which are widely popular across the continent. How will you choose to impress your colleagues? 

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Afghanistan - Bolani Katchalu

Originating from Afghanistan, bolani is a baked or fried flatbread with a vegetable filling, typically potatoes, lentils, pumpkin or leeks. Mint or plain yogurt is often served alongside as a garnish.
Calories Prep/Cook Time 
110 1 Hour 40 Minutes


To begin making your bolani katchalu, you will need:

    • 3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup of room temperature water
    • 1tsp salt
    • 1tsp olive oil
    • 2 medium potatoes
    • ½ cup of coriander
    • ½ cup of scallions
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • Salt and pepper for seasoning


  1. Sift the flour and salt together in a bowl. While mixing, add 1tsp oil and gradually add water until the dough forms into a ball.

    If the dough appears too dry, keep adding water one tablespoon at a time.

  2. Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes.

  3. Lightly oil a large bowl, then place the dough into the bowl and cover with a cloth. Leave to prove for one hour.

  4. With 1 tsp of salt, bring potatoes to the boil. Leave for 20 minutes.

  5. Check the potatoes are cooked by placing a skewer through the potato, if the skewer slides through easily, the potatoes are ready.

    Once cooked, drain the potatoes and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

  6. Peel and cut the potatoes into quarters. Mash with 2 tbsp olive oil and seasonings to taste.

    Mash until smooth or preference, this will be the filling of the bolani.

  7. Mash in the scallions and coriander. Once mixed well, leave to rest while the Bolani is assembled.

  8. Take an apple sized portion of the dough and roll into a smooth ball.

Japan - Ramen Noodle Soup

The origin of this traditional dish is unclear, some believe it has a Chinese origin, while others say it was invented in Japan. Debate aside, this is a delicacy in many countries - it's simple to make and combines a lot of complimentary flavours.
Calories Prep/Cook Time 
190 30 Minutes


To begin making ramen noodle soup, you will need:

    • 3 cups of chicken stock
    • 2 cups of water
    • 3 garlic Cloves
    • 4 tbsp Soy sauce
    • ½ tsp Chinese five spice
    • 1 tsp white sugar
    • 2 slices of ginger
    • 94g ramen noodles
    • 200g sliced, cooked pork or chicken
    • 50g spinach leaves
    • 1 hard-boiled egg, peeled and halved


  1. In a pot of boiling water, cook the ramen noodles for 5 minutes.

    Once cooked, strain and set to a side.

  2. In a large saucepan, bring to the boil the soy sauce, garlic, ginger and five spice. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

    Taste the stock and adjust to your preference.

  3. Serve the noodles into a bowl and arrange the pork, spinach and eggs on top.

  4. Bring the stock the boil for a final time and pour into the bowl.

  5. Serve warm!

Thailand - Chicken Pad Thai

Often referred to as a 'freestyle stir fry', pad Thai is a stir-fried noodle dish that can be found at popular street vendors and at casual restaurants in Thailand.
Calories Prep/Cook Time 
229 30 Minutes


To begin making chicken pad thai, you will need:

    • 4 ounces rice noodles
    • 100g chopped chicken breast
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • 1 cup of bean sprouts
    • ½ cup of coriander
    • 1/3 cup of peanuts or cashews
    • 1 tbps vegetable oil
    • 1 tsp cornstartch
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • ½ tbsp tamarind sauce dissolved in ¼ cup of warm water
    • 2 tbsp fish sauce
    • ¼ cup chicken stock
    • 2 tbsp brown sugar


  1. Begin by mixing the tamarind, fish sauce, chicken stock and brown sugar to make the Pad Thai sauce.

    Taste the sauce and adjust to your preference.

  2. Bring water to the boil in a large pan, place in the noodles and stir to separate. Remove the pan from the heat once the noodles are soft, but still a little crunchy.

    Drain and rinse with cold water, then set aside.

  3. Place the chicken in a small bowl and pour over the cornstarch and soy sauce. Stir well and set aside.

  4. Heat up a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat. Add the oil and garlic, followed by the chicken and fry until the chicken is cooked.

    If the pan becomes a little dry, add a small amount of chicken stock.

  5. Add the noodles and the Pad Thai sauce and fry for 5 minutes continuously turning the ingredients.

  6. Add the bean sprouts and fry for a further minute.

    Taste test and adjust to your preference.

  7. Serve with coriander and nuts!

Vietnam - Banh Mi

Typically, banh mi is served as an appetiser or side dish to a main meal. The majority of office workers in Vietnam opt for banh mi as a tasty lunchtime meal, it's an affordable option and can be customised to preference.
Calories Prep/Cook Time 
596 45 Minutes


To begin making banh mi, you will need:

    • 1 tsp grated ginger
    • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
    • 1 tsp caster sugar
    • ½ carrot, finely shredded
    • ¼ cucumber, finely shredded
    • ¼ cup soy sauce
    • ¼ cu sweet chilli sauce
    • 100g chicken
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • Baguette, cut to portion size
    • ½ cup mayonnaise


  1. In a bowl, mix the ginger, vinegar and sugar in a bowl. Add in the cucumber and carrot and mix into the dressing.

  2. In a separate bowl, mix the soy sauce and chilli sauce. Add the chicken and coat, then leave to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.

  3. In a frying pan, heat oil over a medium heat. Drain the marinated chicken and add to the pad and cook thoroughly.

    Once cooked, shred using forks and set aside.

  4. Drain the vegetables and prepare for assembly.

  5. Spread the mayonnaise to your taste within the baguette. Fill with vegetables and chicken.

  6. Serve warm or cold!


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