From China and East Asia, the network diffused several plant species eagerly adopted in the Middle East and Europe, such as sugar cane, peaches, almonds, and millet, as well as the new technologies of paper-making (which reached Europe via Spain in the 13th century) and gunpowder, which helped build the empires, notably Russia and Qing-dynasty China, that eventually conquered Central Asia in the 18th and 19th centuries. Chinese sericulture - that is, knowledge of how to make silk - gave the Silk Road its name, and Chinese silk was itself an important trade good, but other cultures spent considerable effort learning how to make it themselves, with the Byzantines (for instance) learning the secrets of silkworm-raising by the 6th century. The same was true of China's eponymous blue-and-white kaolin porcelain, which in the early-modern era became one of the most widely copied artifacts in the world, produced by Safavid Persians, Ottoman tile-makers, the Dutch porcelain center of Delft, and Mexican Indian workers in Puebla.
Of particular interest to your narrator was the emergence of a distinctive foodstuff whose origins are obscure, but which probably could not have existed without the Silk-Road exchange system: the dumpling. The distinctive triangular dumpling or potsticker, cased in wheat-flour and stuffed with pork, chicken, horse meat, pumpkin, and/or various spices, first appeared in central Asia in the eighth century CE* and spread as far west as Italy and as far east as Japan. Various Eurasian cultures steamed or fried these pastries and served them with "soy sauce, vinegar, sour-cream, yogurt, butter," and broth. I write here in the past tense, but these are the same dumplings one can order at most Chinese restaurants today, and I like to think they are the same kind of food that Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria (r. 1835-48) demanded in the one coherent sentence he ever spoke: "I am the emperor, and I want dumplings." Food fit for a king, in other words, though readily available to modern commoners.
* Millward notes that archaeologists discovered a "dessicated dumpling" in a 1200-year-old tomb near Astana, Kazakhstan. Despite its advanced age and condition I'll bet my petite amie's dogs would still eat the thing if one allowed them.
The potsticker image above is courtesy of haleysuzanne, is available under a Creative Commons license, and may be found here.