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best asian comfort food when sick

Best Asian Comfort Food When You’re Feeling Sick

Introduction to Asian Comfort Food

Have you ever felt under the weather and craved a warm, hearty dish that soothes both your body and soul? The beauty of Asian cuisine lies not only in its taste but also in its potential healing properties. Asian comfort food, with its unique blend of flavors and ingredients, can provide just that soothing touch when you’re feeling sick.

The Importance of Comfort Food When Sick

Comfort food plays a significant role when we’re ill. It not only provides nutrition for the body to recuperate but also evokes a sense of warmth and familiarity that can help alleviate our discomfort. See our staff picks on the best Asian comfort food for when you are feeling down.


1. Chicken Congee (China)

Chicken Congee

Chicken congee, a classic Chinese rice porridge, is an ideal choice for those feeling ill. The dish is easy on the stomach while offering sufficient protein from the chicken.

A notable aspect of chicken congee is its adaptability. While the basic version requires just chicken, rice, and water, you can enhance its flavor by adding various ingredients. Traditional condiments include ginger, which is known for its anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits and is often taken when people are feeling sick.

Despite being a relatively simple dish, chicken congee embodies the principle of yin and yang in Chinese culture. The warm, soothing congee is considered yin (cooling) while the chicken is seen as yang (warming). This balance is believed to restore harmony in the body, making chicken congee an excellent choice for comfort food when you’re not feeling your best.

Finally, one of the advantages of chicken congee is that it’s relatively easy to prepare at home. All you need is a pot, some basic ingredients, and a bit of time to let it simmer to perfection. This allows you to enjoy this comforting dish without the need to step outside, providing nourishment and comfort right from your kitchen.


2. Pho (Vietnam)

Vietnamese Pho Edmonton

Pho (pronounced “fuh”), a traditional Vietnamese soup, is not just a national dish but a cornerstone of Vietnamese cuisine. Known for its aromatic broth, tender slices of meat, and fresh herbs, it’s a comforting dish, especially when you’re feeling under the weather.

To make Pho at home, you’ll need some specific ingredients, and while it takes some time to prepare, the result is definitely worth the effort.


For the broth:
– 2-3 pounds of beef bones
– 1 onion, halved
– 1 piece of ginger, halved lengthwise
– 2-3 star anise
– 3-5 cloves
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 1 cardamom pod
– 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
– Salt, to taste
– 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce
– 6-8 cups of water

For the bowls:
– 1 pound of flat rice noodles (banh pho)
– 1/2 pound of raw eye of round, thinly sliced (or cooked chicken for a Pho Ga version)
– Fresh herbs (cilantro, mint, Thai basil)
– Bean sprouts
– Lime wedges
– Fresh chilli, thinly sliced
– Hoisin sauce and Sriracha, for serving


  1. Make the broth: Char the onion and ginger on a baking sheet under the broiler until slightly blackened, about 5 minutes on each side. Rinse the bones and parboil for about 5 minutes. Drain, rinse again to clean the bones, then add to a large pot. Add charred onion and ginger, along with star anise, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander seeds, salt, fish sauce, and water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook on low heat, skimming off any scum that rises to the top, for about 4-6 hours. The longer the broth simmers, the more flavorful it will be.
  2. Prepare the noodles: About 30 minutes before the broth is ready, soak the rice noodles in cold water. Drain, then blanch in boiling water for about a minute until they’re soft but still chewy. Drain and set aside.
  3. Assemble your bowls: Divide the noodles between 4 bowls. Top each with a few slices of raw beef (the hot broth will cook it). When your broth is ready, strain it and discard the solids. Pour the hot broth over the noodles and beef. The heat from the broth should cook the beef.
  4. Garnish: Each person should garnish their own bowl with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges, chilli slices, and sauces to taste.

This Pho recipe allows you to make a complex and incredibly flavorful broth at home, which you can customize with your favorite proteins, herbs, and sauces. Its nutrient-rich broth can help hydrate and soothe your body when you’re feeling sick. The fresh herbs not only add brightness to the dish but also provide various health benefits. For instance, mint aids digestion, cilantro is a good source of antioxidants, and basil has anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, the meat provides necessary protein, aiding in your recovery. All in all, this Pho recipe can be a real game-changer when you’re unwell.


3. Wor Wonton Soup (China)

Wor Wonton Soup

Have you ever craved something warming, hearty, and full of nutrients when you’re down with a cold or the flu? It’s a common feeling, and there’s a delightful Asian dish that ticks all these boxes – Wor Wonton Soup.

This Chinese culinary gem is more than just a soup; it’s a comforting bowl of wellness. Picture this: delicate wontons (dumplings) filled with savory minced meat, bobbing in a flavorful broth, surrounded by a riot of vibrant, crunchy vegetables, and slices of tender meat or succulent shrimp. Every spoonful is a comforting embrace, a moment of joy even when you’re not feeling your best. It’s like getting a warm hug from the inside, soothing and restoring your strength.

When you’re ill, the body needs hydration and nourishment to fight off the infection and heal. Wor Wonton Soup offers exactly that. The delicious broth helps hydrate the body, while the protein-rich wontons provide much-needed nutrients. The soup’s warmth can sooze a sore throat, clear up sinuses, and bring a sense of overall well-being.

And let’s not forget the joy of savoring those tasty wontons. Wrapped within the thin, silky pastry lies a treasure of well-seasoned minced meat, offering a burst of flavor with each bite.

The beauty of Wor Wonton Soup also lies in its versatility. Feel free to load it with your favorite veggies – bok choy, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, the choices are endless! Each spoonful then becomes a journey of tastes and textures, making it far more exciting than your average bowl of soup.

Moreover, traditional Chinese medicine often emphasizes balance and harmony. The mixture of ingredients in Wor Wonton Soup aligns with this philosophy, bringing together various flavors and textures. It’s not just about filling the stomach but restoring bodily harmony.

So, if you’re feeling under the weather and yearn for a soothing, nutritious, and delicious dish, Wor Wonton Soup could be just what you need. A bowl of this delightful soup can do wonders in lifting your spirits and helping you on your path to recovery. It’s comfort food at its finest, promising warmth and wellness in every bite.


4. Khichdi (India)

Khichdi Indian Dish

Khichdi, a humble dish from India, holds an unparalleled comfort food status in its home country. It’s a simple, nourishing concoction of rice and lentils, spiced subtly and cooked to a mushy consistency. When you’re feeling under the weather, khichdi is often the go-to dish, owing to its digestibility and soothing nature.


Here’s a basic recipe to cook khichdi at home:

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup split yellow moong dal (lentils)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter)
  • Fresh cilantro (for garnish)


  1. Rinse the rice and lentils together under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a pot, heat the ghee over medium heat. Add cumin seeds, and once they start to splutter, add the asafoetida.
  3. Add the rinsed rice and lentils to the pot, stir well to mix with the ghee and spices.
  4. Add turmeric, salt, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Check periodically and stir to ensure it’s not sticking to the bottom. The consistency should be quite runny and the lentils fully cooked.
  6. Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.

In the realm of comfort food, khichdi stands tall as a dish that is not only comforting and wholesome but also incredibly healing. Its gentle nature allows the digestive system to rest while still providing the body with necessary nutrients, making it a perfect choice when you’re feeling sick.


Conclusion For Best Comfort Foods When Feeling Sick.

While there’s no universal cure-all food for when we’re feeling sick, these Asian comfort foods, with their combination of nutrients, hydration, and soothing warmth, can provide a sense of well-being and accelerate recovery.

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