Most people when they think of Asia will think of food at some point. Asia is known as a street food lovers paradise and it attracts foodies from all over the globe. We have put together a short guide on “Southeast Asia’s Top 8 Street Food Cities & Food Guide” to check out on your next trip round Asia.
Vietnam is known as one of the best street food destination to visit. There are so many options to eat local delicious food, you will literally be lost for choice. Hanoi has side walks full of vendors selling delicious smelling foods which are cooked freshly in front of you.
Vietnamese dishes are usually made with fish sauce, lemongrass, chilli, cilantro and a umber of other fresh herbs. Some famous dishes are Pho Bun and Cha. Walk around and explore the curb side vendors to find something delicious to feast on. There are also vendors who cook from small shop fronts with little make do seating on the roadside where you can indulge in some tasty dishes whilst people watching.
If you happen to wander to the Old Quarter small narrow streets you will stumble upon amazing stalls selling Hanoi style Pho oodles, Cha ca la long (a turmeric fish dish) Bun Cha (fish with rice vermicelli noodles and not forgetting Trung Fit Lon (fertilised duck egg).
Onne of the most famous dishes in Vietnam. Spring rolls (that are translucent) pack with delicious greens, coriander, with various selections of pork, crap or shrimp. It is usually served with mint or lettuce o the side. There is a BBQ version you can try with banana and star fruit with a peanut sauce that accompanies it.
Yummy Vietnamese pancake with shrimp, pork, egg and bean sprouts then fried it is wrapped in rice paper with an assortment of green.
Rice noodles with pork rind croutons and bean sprouts served in na soup with mint, topped with sizzling pork.
Food vendors selling from street carts are actually illegal and the government are trying to eradicate them. But of you visit Seoul you will still find street vendors still selling their food, usually selling sweet and savoury street food choices, some vendors have portable stalls that they move around various districyts around the city, the term is Pojangmacha (covered wagons). A popular item is Soju which is a (Korean spirit made from rice and is very cheap).Myeong-dong is a popular Korean street food destination to the locals as well as to international visitors.
SPICY RICE CAKE -TTEOKBOKKI
Korean rice cakes cooked in spicy (& sometimes sweet) Korean sauce. A great snack to try.
KOREAN FISH CAKE SOUP -ODENG-GUK
Odeng-guk is a famous fish cake soup, it is normally served with spicy rice cakes (tteokbokki).
KOREAN POPCORN CHICKEN -DAKGANGJEONG
Dakgangjeong are deep fried chicken nuggets that are coated with Korea’s special sticky, spicy, and sweet sauce.
KOREAN MOCHI DOUGHNUT HOLES -CHAPSSAL DONUT
Chapssal donuts are deep fried donuts that are made with sweet rice flour and red bean paste.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
If you have been to Cambodia you will know Cambodians like to eat throughout the day, the country has loads of food vendors selling foods no matter where you go. In the capital street food is sold everywhere. Check out some of the best dishes to try below.
Is a traditional Khmer dish – it is made by cooking fish with coconut curry in a banana leaf, many other spices are used such as kaffir lime, turmeric, a local herb known as slok ngor and lemon grass. This a wonderful traditional dish to try in Cambodia or make in one of the many cookery classes you can book,
Grilled pork on skewers
The smell of the sizzling BBQ on roads grills will lead you to the stalls selling freshly made pork on skewers, all over Phnom Penh, you can try this dish which is usually served with pickle salad / vegetables and rice as well as various side condiments. The dish is very cheap and filling.
With origins in Vietnam, this popular beef dish is stir fried, topped with salad and tomato lettuce, cucumber. Some choose to wrap the beef in lettuce making a wrap before eating it. Totally YUMMY!!
This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and not a dish most people will try, however aside from other types of BBQ on offer FROG yes FROG is on the menu here, it is a renowned dish in Cambodia and tastes quite similar to chicken. Would you try it?
Penang is one of the worlds top eating destinations for street food or hawker food! The food on offer has a wonderful infusion to reflect the multicultural society of Penang (Chinese, Malay, and Indian mostly). The roadside of Penang are packed with everything you can imagine from coffee, hawker centres, and street stalls selling the most delicious foods.
Penang is one of the world’s top eating destinations. Street food- or hawker food, as it’s locally known–is the city’s big draw.Penang hawker food reflects the multicultural makeup of the town, which has citizens of Chinese, Malay and Indian descent.There’s also a distinct Nyonya cuisine in Penang, the fusion food that has resulted from the intermarriage of Chinese and Malay immigrants.The streets of Penang are lined with hawker stalls, coffee shops and hawker centers where multiple vendors offer their specialties.
Here are some recommendations to try:
Char Koay Teow
Well known with Singaporeans, Char Koay Teow is a very popular Malaysian dish, you can find loads of vendors selling this dish in Penang. Char Kuey Teow is basically flat rice noodles stir-fried with shrimp, bloody cockles, Chinese lap cheong (sausage), eggs, bean sprouts, and chives in a mix of soy sauce. There is also a duck egg version you can try.
Koay Teow Th’ng
Penang Koay Teow Th’ng or Koay Teow Soup usually comes served with slices of pork, fish/eel balls, fish cake and a tasty broth with flat rice noodles; the soup stock is typically boiled from chicken or pork bones which add to it’s flavour. for sides you can have fresh red chillies in garlic or soy vinegar sauce.
Penang, Assam Laksa
Assam laksa is a rich and spicy and zingy flavoured, fish-based soup noodle broth of tamarind juice, chilli paste, lemongrass, topped with prawn paste and mackerel/sardine flakes, eaten with noodles.
This is Ann Indian muslim influenced dish, it is fragrant rice with various types of curried meats you can have and vegetables of your choice. Be aware it can be a very spicy and hot dish, you can find stalls and restaurants selling this widely across Penang.
Try the following stall: Hameediyah Restaurant: 164, Lebuh Campbell, George Town.
Is paper thin crepe-like snack with a soft flour centre, if you have a sweet craving this is the perfect choice for you, mostly served with egg, banana, coconut and brown sugar.
Fukuoka is a amazing street food destination to visit if you go to Japan. Fukuoka is located, on the northern part of Kyushu, it has more than 150 open air food stands, called yatai. Yatai are essentially miniature pop up restaurants. The food served is famous for being delicious and vey cheap. Yatai’s open in the evenings and you can feast on amazing dishes and enjoy a glass of sake.
Hakata ramen is a distinct type of ramen with pork bone broth and egg noodles. The soup is made by boiling bones from every part of the pig. A tasty very filling dish to try and it is very CHEAP!!
Mentaiko is the spicy salted version of tarako, the roe of the pollock fish. It came to Fukuoka after World War II via the port city of Busan in Korea, and has become popular to eat over rice or as a quick snack with some shochu, sake, or beer.
Yakitori, means “grilled bird”, but it’s actually grilled skewers of meat such as – pork, chicken, and beef. Other options such as grilled vegetables, and other meats like sausages, pork and beef are also available.
World famous for the Hawker centres that you can find all over the city. The hawker centres reflect all the cultures in Singapore. Visiting the centres are a delight and you will be often lost for choice on what to select to eat. The prices in the hawker centres are very reasonable.
Try some of these dishes if you visit, satay bee hoon (rice noodles drowned in peanut sauce) or even Hainanese chicken rice (a Chinese mainland favourite adopted by Singaporeans).
There are over 1209 government run hawker centres alongside at least over 200-plus privately run ones in Singapore, you definitely won’t be hungry in Singapore.
Thailand – Bangkok the capital is world famous for street food. Some of the places to get fantastic street food are: Sukhumvit Road; Yaowarat Road in Chinatown; the Victory Point street market near the Victory Monument; and Lumphini Park’s Ratchadmri Road.
Try some the lesser known dishes from Northern Thailand if you get a chance such as the Isan-style minced meat and sticky rice known as laap; the Chinese-inspired fish porridge called Khao Tom Pla; and phat kaphrao, or fried meat infused with basil and served alongside rice. of course you can also get all the popular and well known Thai dishes to such as Pad Thai, green curry, massaman curry, tom yum amongst others.
The Thai local beer is good too, try the food with a Chang or a Singha beer, and if your after something non alcoholic try a fresh fruit tropical shake.
One of the best street food cities in Asia, Taipei has streets jam packed with vendors serving everything from noodle soups, to delicious dumplings and steamed buns. In the evening, the night markets draw crowds in for the food. Much of Taipei’s street food comes from food influences from mainland China, but the people of Taiwan have put their own twist on the dishes.
Grandma Lai’s Taro Balls, is a traditional shop by the road selling these handmade taros that are freshly peeled, steamed, mixed with potato starch and diced into petite-sized pieces. They are then placed in boiling water to attain its chewy texture. it comes in a mixture of flavours such as green tea, sesame and you can have fresh ice-cream with it and peanut candy – very very tasty!!
Lan milk tea, or bubble tea comprises of a smooth black tea with milk and chewy tapioca pearls where each sip leaves behind an aromatic milky after-taste. It comes in many varieties and is a must try when in Taipei.
What are some of your favourite destinations in Asia to experience street food? What are some of the TOP dishes you have tasted? Share your experiences in the comments below.