Asia's 10 greatest street food cities

Asia's 10 greatest street food cities

Penang, Bangkok, Singapore, Hanoi, more -- the best street dishes from the best foodie cities

Food is one of the most enjoyable things for travelers in Asia. But do you know where to find its best street dishes?

Now you do, with this collection of best street food from 10 of the top food cities in Asia.

While the nature of mobile street carts and movable market stalls means pinpointing every dish isn’t possible, the listings below indicate roads in each city that are more than likely to have someone selling.

Start your Asian street food journey by clicking on a city on the left.

Vote for your favorite Asian street food here.

First published March 2012, updated February 2013.

Penang, Malaysia

Penang street food

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'sl 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.

Penang_Assam laksaPenang’s personality in a bowl.

1. Penang assam laksa

Assam laksa is so closely associated with the city that it's often called Penang laksa. The fiercely contrasting flavors of this soup -- fishy mackerel, sour tamarind and fiery chili -- come together perfectly in assam laksa.

It's served with chewy white noodles and garnished with fresh mint, shallots, cilantro, cucumbers and sweet pineapple.

You can find assam laksa outside of Penang, of course, but it's never as sour and certainly never as delicious.

Try it at: Cecil Market Food Court, Lebuh Cecil, Penang

Penang_Hoikken meeChinese goes Malaysian.

2. Hokkien mee

It may have its roots in the Fujian province of China, but the Hokkien mee you'll find in Penang is different.

The soup is a fragrant, fatty prawn-and-pork-bone-based broth served with a combination of chewy yellow egg noodles and thin, white rice vermicelli. Topped with hard-boiled egg, small prawns, fish balls, crispy fried shallots and spicy sambal, the dish is a perfect breakfast food.

Try it at: Beach Street (between Magazine Road and Prangin Road Ghaut), Penang

 Penang_Wantan MeeAll together now.

3. Wonton mee

You'll find variations of wanton mee, a dish of Chinese origin, all over Asia, but the one in Penang leaves them in the dust.

Springy egg noodles are served al dente with a sticky sauce made from soy sauce and lard oil, with a spoonful of fiery sambal on the side. It's topped with pieces of leafy green Chinese kale, sliced green onions, pickled green chilies and wontons. The wontons are either boiled or steamed, as you'll find them elsewhere in Malaysia, or fried, in a unique Penang twist.

If you prefer, you can also order wanton mee "wet," meaning the noodles are served in a rich broth.

Try it at: Lebuh Chulia (in front of furniture shop), Penang


Penang_Nasi KandarRich flavor for not-so-rich eaters.

4. Nasi kandar

Nasi kandar, a dish of Indian Muslim origin that’s now a Penang specialty, used to be peddled by men carrying containers full of rice and curry on poles balanced on their shoulders.

Today it’s most often found in small restaurants that spill out onto the street.

This richly spiced meal features various meat curries and gravy over white rice -- prawn curry is especially popular.

Try it at: Line Clear, Alley next to 177, Jalan Penang, Penang

Penang_RojakFruit salad, Penang-style.

5. Rojak

A dish that sounds unappetizing but tastes wonderful, rojak is a fruit salad with pieces of fried crullers and topped with a thick, sweet sauce made of black shrimp paste and crushed peanuts. Sweet pineapple, green mango and papaya, rose apples, jicama, cucumber and guava are tossed in to the dark sauce, which has the consistency of molasses.

The combination of sweet fruit and savory seafood is surprisingly good.

Try it at: Gurney Drive Hawker Center, Persiaran Gurney, Penang

Penang_Lor-BakSo tasty, you don’t even need the dipping sauces. But try 'em anyway.

6. Lor bak

A Nyonya dish that is a specialty of the Chinese of Penang, lor bak is minced pork that has been marinated in five-spice powder before being wrapped in soft bean curd skin and deep-fried. Lor bak is served with two dipping sauces, a spicy red chili sauce and a gravy thickened with cornstarch and beaten egg called lor.

Try it at: Jalan Johor (near Jalan Dato Keramat), Penang

Penang_Curry meeMore ingredients, more taste. Forget about the more calories.

7. Curry mee

Sometimes called curry laksa, curry mee is an amazing spicy coconut curry soup with yellow egg noodles and rice vermicelli.

The soup is rich and a bit sweet; it's definitely not for calorie counters. Each bowl has at least a few of the following: chicken, tofu puffs, prawns, pork blood, cockles and cuttlefish. Garnished with fresh mint leaves and a spoonful of peppery sambal paste, curry mee is, at its best, transcendent.

Try it at: Lebuh Cintra between Lebuh Campbell and Lebuh Chulia, Penang

Penang_Char kway teowEven better when served on a banana leaf.

8. Char kway teow

A Penang specialty, char kway teow consists of long, flat rice noodles stir-fried in a hot wok with soy sauce, fresh prawns, cockles, scrambled egg, bean sprouts and green onions. The dish is commonly served on a banana leaf and is one of the most popular hawker dishes in town.

Try it at: Pulau Tikus Night Market, Jalan Pasar, Penang

Penang_Koay chiapTaste the adventure. And the ears, tongue and blood.

9. Koay chiap

This fragrant pork and duck soup is flavored with star anise and cinnamon and filled with the parts of the duck and pig that many prefer to avoid: ears, tongue, liver, intestines, blood.

The rice and tapioca noodles, or koay chiap, are handmade and the soup is served with a hard-boiled egg, sliced green onions and spicy chili sauce. Usually served at night, this is a delicious dish that rewards the adventurous.

Try it at: Kimberley Street Duck Koay Chiap, Lebuh Kimberley, Penang

Penang_Ice KacangBeans and corn for dessert? Some might say.

10. Ice kacang

The perfect refreshment on a hot day, ice kacang is a shaved ice dessert topped with red bean, grass jelly, sweet corn and attap chee (palm fruit). Sugar syrups and condensed milk or coconut milk are then poured over the ice to sweeten the dish. A Penang variation on this Malaysian dessert is the punchy addition of shredded nutmeg, a native fruit.

Try it at: Gurney Drive Hawker Center, Persiaran Gurney, Penang

 

 

Taipei

Taipei street food

One of the best street food cities in Asia, Taipei has streets that teem with vendors serving savory noodle soups, dumplings and steamed buns.

In the evening, night markets open all over the city selling a plethora of clothes and household goods, but their real draw is the food.

Much of Taipei's street food has its roots in mainland China, but the people of Taiwan have put their own spin on the dishes. Flavored with star anise, Taiwanese basil, chilis, pickled vegetables, white pepper and cilantro, the street foods of Taipei might not be strictly native to Taiwan, but they just seem to taste better there.

1. Taipei_Sheng jian bao_Who doesn't love a nice set of oiled buns?

1. Sheng jian bao

These small pork dumplings topped with nutty, toasted sesame seeds are worth waiting for. They hail from Shanghai, where they are commonly eaten for breakfast.

In Taipei you'll find them at night markets being cooked in oiled, shallow pans while people line up -- sometimes 40 deep -- to get the chance to savor them.

Try it at: Linjuang Night Market, Tonghua Street, Taipei

2. Taipei_Stinky tofu_Smells like sewage; tastes great.

2. Chou doufu

Famous around the world for its unmistakable odor, chou doufu, or stinky tofu, is a Taipei night market specialty.

Fermentation gives the tofu its distinctive odor and delicious taste.

Although it's available elsewhere, it's best from street vendors, who usually make it by hand in the traditional (rather than mass-produced) way. It's served deep-fried or grilled and topped with pickled vegetables.

Those new to the dish often find that deep-fried chou doufu is less intimidating and less, well, stinky.

Try it at: Raohe night market, Rahoe Street, Taipei

3. Taipei_Oa misua_Taiwanese vermicelli: slightly gooey, very oystery.

3. Oa misua

A Taiwanese specialty often seen in the night markets, oyster vermicelli, or oa misua, is a soup made from misua, a thin Chinese wheat-flour noodle.

In Taiwan these noodles are steamed until the sugar in the noodles caramelizes and turns the noodle brown. The thick, rich broth is topped with fresh oysters, finely minced garlic and cilantro and a bracing splash of vinegar.

Try it at: Shilin night market, 101 Jihe Road, Taipei

4.Taipei_Gua bao_A burger good enough to make you forget about the fries.

4. Gua bao

Gua bao is the sort of street food that inspires big name chefs to serve knock-offs at posh restaurants for inflated prices. But this pork belly bun (or "Taiwanese burger," as it's sometimes called) tastes even better on the streets of Taipei.

Braised pork belly is served in a steamed bun with fresh cilantro, pickled mustard greens and pulverized peanuts, creating one of the world’s greatest snacks.

Try it at: Gongguan night market, Luoifu Rd, next to the Gongguan MRT station, Taipei

5. Taipei_Hujiao bingLike having a pepper plant in a pie.

5. Hujiao bing

Baked in a clay oven, hujiao bing may not look like much, but they’re a deceptively delicious, meaty snack. They're wheat buns (more accurately, pies or pockets) topped with sesame seeds and filled with minced pork, caramelized green onions and lots (and lots) of ground black pepper.

The name translates literally to “black pepper pie.” The baking method gives them a crisp bottom; the contrast with the steaming, savory filling is impossible to resist.

Try it at: Raohe night market, Rahoe Street, Taipei

6. Taipei_Niu rou mian_Taiwan's signature soup.

6. Niu rou mian

A Taiwanese specialty, niu rou mian is a spicy beef soup with hand-pulled noodles.

The aromatic broth has subtle hints of cinnamon and star anise and the beef is cooked until it is ridiculously tender.

Served on the side is a mixture of finely chopped ginger and garlic, chili flakes in oil and tart, pickled mustard greens. The Taiwanese like to sprinkle these spicy pickles on top.

Try it at: LaoPai Niurou La Mian Da Wang, Chongqing Nan Lu Yi Duan 46 Xiang, Taipei

7. Taipei_Douhua_Soft and silky, like eating melted butter. Well, nothing could be that good -- but this is close.

7. Douhua

A popular Taiwanese dessert made from the softest, silkiest tofu that you can imagine, this dish has its origins in China, where it's a savory snack. But in Taiwan, douhua is a sweet dessert often served with large, chewy boba, or tapioca pearls, and simple sugar syrup.

In winter it's served warm, in the summer, over crushed ice.

Try it at: Shilin night market, 101 Jihe Road, Taipei

8. Taipei_Ba WanA meatball inside a rice ball wrapped in delicious.

8. Ba wan

They're often called Taiwanese meatballs, but these savory snacks are more like dumplings, with a glutinous outer wrapper stuffed with bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms and pork. Sticky, chewy ba wan are served with a sweet and spicy sauce and topped with cilantro.

Ba wan are a traditional Taiwanese snack food considered by many to be the country's national dish and can be found at every night market in Taipei.

Try it at: Shilin night market, 101 Jihe Road, Taipei

9. Taipei_Cong you bing_The ultimate scallion recipe.

9. Cong you bing

Another dish with its roots in China, cong you bing is a flaky scallion pancake made with hand-rolled dough. The Chinese rendition of this flatbread is usually thicker and doughier than its Taiwanese counterpart and sometimes stuffed with meat.

In Taipei you’ll find vegetarian versions that are light and fluffy, the result of many thin layers of dough being folded over each other.

Try it at: Shilin night market, 101 Jihe Road, Taipei

10. Taipei_Da chang bao xiao chang_Proof that anything can be made into a sausage.

10. Da chang bao xiao chang

Found at every night market in town, dachang bao xiao chang is a popular snack. The name literally means "big sausage wrapped around small sausage," and it's served in manner similar to a hot dog.

A sausage casing stuffed with sticky rice acts as the bun -- it's split open and a tender ground-pork sausage is inserted. Topped with garlic and basil, it's also available in different styles flavored with butter, chili or black pepper.

Try it at: Shilin night market, 101 Jihe Road, Taipei

 

 

Bangkok

Bangkok street food

Bangkok is a street food heavyweight; one can eat well in the city without ever setting foot inside a restaurant.

The street food scene in Bangkok is an integral part of the culture and locals know that the cuisine you'll find on the sidewalk is often the tastiest.

Bangkok street food culture is built around the Thai habit of eating many small meals throughout the day.

The sheer variety of street food options in Bangkok can be overwhelming -- from fried noodles to creamy coconut and tropical fruit desserts -- but those who choose to indulge are amply rewarded.

1.Bangkok_Pad See EwBangkok_Mu Ping_BrockeatsdotcomDespite the name, there¹s nothing "ew" about this dish.

1. Pad see ew

Fresh rice noodles are stir-fried with Chinese broccoli and dark soy sauce to make pad see ew, a dish that's considered comfort food by many Thais. The wide, flat noodles are added to a protein or two -- in Bangkok it's usually chicken or pork and a fried egg -- and cooked on a sizzling hot wok.

You can try to make this at home, but it will never be as good as what you get on the streets of Bangkok.

Try it at: Ran Guay Jab Jaedang, Ratchawithi Road, Bangkok

2.Bangkok_Som Tam Thai_Shredded papaya, chili, som tom ... if only every salad were this exciting.

2. Som tam

Many travelers have found themselves unable to leave Thailand due to a serious som tam addiction. The refreshing salad made from unripe green papaya is similar to dishes found in Cambodia and Laos, but the Thai versions, like som tam Thai, a mild, sweeter variation with peanuts, are better known. The combination of sour, sweet, salty and spicy makes for an unbeatable afternoon snack.

Try it at: Sukhumvit 38, Bangkok

3.Bangkok_Mu PingAs long as the pork is this good, the tiny stick industry will never suffer.

3. Moo ping

Often served with sticky rice, these grilled pork skewers are a fragrant, smoky and inexpensive snack.

Pork that's been marinated with tangy fish sauce and cilantro is brushed with rich, creamy coconut milk while being grilled over hot coals.

You can easily find mu ping vendors by searching for the clouds of garlicky, porky smoke coming from their grills. Moo ping is often served with a spicy chili dipping sauce called jaew.

Try it at: Sukhumvit 38, Bangkok

4.Bangkok_Boat Noodles_guay teow rhuaNowadays, most bowls of Thai boat noodles are served on dry land.

4. Boat noodles

Guay teow rhua, a flavorful Thai noodle dish, was traditionally sold by vendors in boats who paddled down Thailand's many canals.

Nowadays, boat noodles are a popular street food in Bangkok, served with morning glory, pork blood, bean sprouts and pieces of pork or beef.

The bowls are cheap and tiny, allowing patrons to order several and try different meat and noodle combinations.

Try it at: Boat noodle alley, Victory Monument, Bangkok

5.Bangkok_Kao Pad poo"Poo" is Thai for "crab," which some Thai English menus sometimes render as "crap." Be not afraid.

5. Khao pad poo

It might not sound exciting, but the fried rice you get in Thailand is a world apart from what you're used to.

Khao pad, or fried rice, is made with fragrant Jasmine rice and the ubiquitous Thai fish sauce. Poo is fresh crab, and crab fried rice is cooked in a sizzling hot wok with a scrambled egg and topped with cilantro and fresh lime. The result is moist, fluffy and delicious.

Try it at: Naay Mong, 539 Thanon Phlapplaachai, Bangkok

6.Bangkok_Moo-dad-diewAir-dried pork. Tastes better than it looks.

6. Moo dad diew

A dish that is best accompanied by cold beer, moo dad diew is pork that's been marinated in a dark soy sauce with crushed coriander root and fish sauce, then air-dried in the sun until it has a jerky-like texture. Later, it's deep fried and served with a dry-roasted ground chili sauce. The fatty, spicy combination is the perfect Bangkok booze food.

7.Bangkok_kanom jin gaang keow wan gaiThink of it as cold spaghetti.

7. Kanom jeen

Served at room temperature, this dish of noodles made from fermented rice is the perfect breakfast or refreshing early afternoon snack. The noodles, called kanom jeen, are topped with a curry, or gang.

There are many varieties of curry for kanom jeen, including chicken and fish, all of them appetizing. It's served with crisp fresh vegetables, lightly pickled cucumbers and other pickles and blanched greens.

Try it at: Ko Lun, Thanon Mahanop, Bangkok

8.Bangkok_Cha YenDessert in a glass.

8. Cha yen

You can find cha yen, or iced tea, in Thai restaurants all over the world, but it always tastes better in Thailand, where it's usually served in a plastic bag with a straw.

Cha yen is strong black tea flavored with star anise and crushed tamarind seeds, which give the drink its unique reddish-orange hue.

The tea is served over ice with sweet condensed milk and topped with a floater of evaporated milk for extra creamy goodness.

Try it at: Or Tor Kor Market, Kamphaeng Phet Road, Bangkok

9.Bangkok_Kao niew ma muang_So delicious you'd arm wrestle your grandma for the last bite. Well, we'd arm wrestle your grandma for it.

9. Khao niew ma muang

It may not sound like much, but khao niew ma muang is one of the most perfect food combinations in the world.

It's glutinous sticky rice paired with fresh sweet mango and drizzled with rich coconut cream. Widely available in Bangkok when mangoes are in season, khao niew ma muang is sometimes topped with peanuts, toasted sesame seeds or fried salty mung beans.

Try it at: Thonglor Night Market, Sukhumvit Soi 38, Bangkok

Khanom krokCoconut pudding topped with fried shallots. Sounds crazy, but it works.

10. Khanom krok

A simple yet delicious Thai dessert, kanom krok is best described as coconut pudding, made by cooking a mixture of flour batter and coconut cream over a charcoal fire. The snack is often served with crispy fried shallots on top, a tasty contrast to the rich flavor of the coconut.

Try it at: Or Tor Kor Market, Kamphaeng Phet Road, Bangkok

 


Fukuoka, Japan

Fukuoka street food

Japan is famous for its cuisine, but one city in particular is known for its street food scene. Fukuoka, on the northern shore of Kyushu, has more than 150 open air food stands, called yatai.

Yatai resemble miniature restaurants, except that most fold up shop every night and disappear until the next day.

The food served there is famous for being delicious and affordable.

Yatai open around dusk and offer diners the opportunity to drink sake and shochu with locals and sample Fukuoka's specialties. Yatai can be found all over the city, but many are clustered on the southern end of Nakasu Island and near Tenjin Station.

1.Fukuoka_Ramen_Tonkotsu ramen. Like a good sumo wrestler, made from pork bones and fat.

1. Tonkotsu ramen

No two bowls of tonkotsu ramen are alike, which is all the more reason to eat as many as possible.

The richest of all the standard ramen types, tonkotsu ramen has a creamy, whitish broth made from pork bones and fat. Fukuoka is famous for Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen, served with straight, thin noodles, chashu (braised pork belly), red pickled ginger and fresh minced garlic.

Try it at: Daichan, Nakasu Seiryu koen, Nakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka

2.Fukuoka_Mentaiko_Spicy pollack roe, a Fukuoka fave.

2. Mentaiko

Although the dish originated in Korea, Fukuoka is famous for its mentaiko, or spicy pollack roe. Pollack eggs are marinated in chili, sake, konbu and yuzu and you'll find the resulting spicy red eggs in dishes from spaghetti to onigiri (rice balls). Mentaiko can also be eaten by itself or with rice, complemented by a glass of sake.

Try it at: Tsukasa (司), By Haruyoshi bridge, on the side of Nakagawa, Nakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka

3.Fukuoka_Gyoza_Nothing says Hakata at night better than the sizzle of gyoza in a pan.

3. Hakata gyoza

Hakata gyoza are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, stuffed with cabbage and pork.

They're bite-sized and often eaten as an accompaniment to a bowl of ramen.

A variation, tetsunabe Hakata gyoza, originated in Fukuoka's yatai: the gyoza are served directly in the iron frying pan that they’ve been cooked in, to keep them crisp and warm in the cool night air.

Try it at: Take chan, Adjacent to Haruyoshi bridge, Haruyoshi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka

4.Fukuoka_Yakitori-Real men have their yakitori with shio -- tare’s for wimps.

4. Yakitori

Bite-sized pieces of chicken are skewered and grilled over hot charcoal, either with salt or tare, a sweet soy-and-mirin-based sauce. It's customary to order two skewers at a time, and most yatai will serve skewers of wings, skin and chicken liver in addition to white meat.

Try it at: Hiroya, In front of Nihon Ginko (Bank of Japan), 4-2-1, Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka

5.Fukuoka_Tempura_Tempura. Deep-fried yet light as air when done right.

5. Tempura

In this famous Japanese dish, seafood and vegetables are battered and deep-fried. The best tempura is light and not greasy, and served with a dipping sauce and grated daikon radish.

A delicious Fukuoka specialty is mentaiko that’s wrapped in a shiso leaf, then deep-fried in tempura batter.

Try it at: Ten'ichi, in front of Fukuoka Diamond building, 1 Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka

6.Fukuoka_Motsunabe_Some say it’s offal, but we quite like motsunabe.

6. Motsunabe

Motsunabe is a type of Japanese hotpot invented in Fukuoka that is popular throughout the country.

The dish is made from beef or pork offal, cabbage, leeks and chili peppers in a soy or miso broth. When eating motsunabe, diners ask for rice or noodles to be added at the end to soak up the remaining liquid. This steaming hot pot is the perfect dish to eat in cool weather.

Try it at: Chikara, At the intersection in front of Hakata Police Department, Gion-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka

japanese street foodThe piñata of the fish world.

7. Iwashi mentaiko

Japanese sardines stuffed with mentaiko, or spicy pollack roe, are grilled over hot charcoal and served with sake. Iwashi mentaiko is a Fukuoka specialty, and the strong, salty flavor when you bite into the sardine bulging with roe makes the dish a perfect accompaniment to a night of drinking.

Try it at: Tsukishan, On Hakata River; Suzaki, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka

8.Fukuoka_Yaki-ramen_There’s nothing that can’t be improved with a splash of Worcestershire.

8. Yaki-ramen

Another Fukuoka specialty, yaki-ramen was invented by a yatai owner 40 years ago and remains popular today. Ramen noodles are pre-cooked and then stir-fried with vegetables, pork and tonkotsu broth.

Served with Worcestershire sauce, yaki-ramen is a filling dish that, although imitated all over the country, still tastes the best in Fukuoka.

Try it at: Koganechan, Oyafuko-dori Ave. 2-14-13, Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka

9.Fukuoka_Tsukune_Like Christmas with the in-laws, this one's best taken with alcohol.

9. Chicken tsukune

Like many yatai foods, tsukune is a dish best accompanied by alcohol. A combination of minced chicken parts are made into a patty and grilled over charcoal with salt. Chicken tsukune is often served with a raw quail egg or a sweet soy dipping sauce and is a popular after-work snack with salarymen.

Try it at: Tsukasa (司), by Haruyoshi bridge, on the side of Nakagawa, Nakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka

10.Fukuoka_Bacon MakiBacon maki -- king of pig-based eats.

10. Bacon maki

A modern Japanese dish that is meant to complement copious amounts of alcohol, bacon maki comes in many forms, all of them delicious.

Usually it's bacon wrapped around asparagus, okra or green pepper and then grilled and served with mayonnaise or ponzu sauce. Other variations wrap the bacon around prawns, scallops or other types of seafood.

Try it at: Hanayama 1-44-18, Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka

 

 

Hanoi

Hanoi street food

Hanoi and its environs are the birthplace of many quintessential Vietnamese dishes, such as pho and bun cha, and the city is often cited as one of the world's great food capitals.

It's a street eater's paradise, with a plethora of options for those who want to eat like a local. In fact, many swear that the best food in Hanoi is found on the sidewalk, with dishes that often feature fish sauce, lemongrass, chilies, and cilantro and other fresh herbs.

The city, which celebrated its one-thousandth birthday last year, has put those centuries to good use perfecting its curbside nibbles.

Although vendors often cook in small shop fronts, they serve their wares on the sidewalk, on small plastic tables and chairs that can seem woefully inadequate for overgrown foreigners.

1.Hanoi_Bun cha_Voted Vietnam’s tastiest pork. By the guy who wrote this caption.

1. Bun cha

Possibly the most delicious food available to man, bun cha is the lunch of choice all over Hanoi.

Pork patties and slices of pork belly are grilled over hot coals and served with fish sauce, tangy vinegar, sugar and lime, which, when combined, creates a sort of barbecue soup that is eaten with rice vermicelli and fresh herbs.

Accompanied by deep-fried spring rolls, this calorically rich dish is served with garlic and chilies on the side for an extra kick.

Try it at: Bun Cha, 34 Hang Than, Hanoi

2.Hanoi_Pho_A true world traveler, born in Hanoi.

2. Pho

As the birthplace of pho, Hanoi is ground zero for the fragrant rice noodle soup served with fresh herbs that has become popular all over the world. It's no surprise, then, that Hanoi's pho is outstanding. Two variations are most popular: pho ga (with chicken) and pho bo (with beef). Pho is traditionally served as a breakfast food, so you'll find pho sellers all over town from before dawn to mid-morning.

Try it at: Pho 112, 112 Van Phuc, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

3.Hanoi_Bun rieu cua_Even without the purple shrimp paste (really) it’s delicious.

3. Bun rieu cua

Freshwater crabs flavor this tangy tomato soup that's made with round rice vermicelli and topped with pounded crabmeat, deep-fried tofu and, often, congealed blood. An odoriferous purple shrimp paste is offered on the side -- it tastes delicious.

Chilies and fresh herbs are the finishing touches for a complete one-dish meal.

Try it at: 11 Hang Bac St, Old Quarter, Hanoi

4.Hanoi_BBQ ChickenIn Hanoi, where there’s smoke, there’s flavor.

4. Barbecue chicken

Ly Van Phuc is its official name, but the place is colloquially known as "Chicken Street" in honor of the tasty poultry being barbecued up and down this crowded alley.

Grilled chicken wings and feet, sweet potatoes and bread that's been brushed with honey before being grilled are served with chili sauce and pickled cucumbers in sweet vinegar.

The simple, enticing menu is nearly identical for all the vendors on the street.

Try it at: Pho Ly Van Phuc, Hanoi

5.Hanoi_Sticky RiceRib-sticking breakfast to go.

5. Sticky rice

In the morning you'll find the sticky rice vendors out hawking their wares. Sticky rice is a hugely popular carb-rich breakfast food that comes wrapped in a banana leaf. There are dozens of variations on the dish.

One is served with crushed peanuts and sesame salt, another involves white corn and deep-fried shallots.

Try it at: Street Xoi, 6 Hang Bac St, Old Quarter, Hanoi

6.Hanoi_Iced coffee_So good, they drank it before we could take a picture.

6. Iced coffee

Coffee was brought to Vietnam by the French and is, along with baguettes, one of their lasting culinary legacies. Beans are grown in Vietnam and roasted, often with lard, before being ground and served in single-serving metal filters.

Drinking a cup of cafe nau da, iced coffee with condensed milk, on a busy side street is one of Hanoi's great pleasures.

Try it at: Cafe Nang, So 6 Hang Bac, Hanoi

7.Hanoi_Nem cua beCan “rolls” be square? In Hanoi, yes.

7. Nem cua be

You can find many types of excellent spring rolls all over Vietnam, but nem cua be, made with fresh crab meat, are particularly good. Unlike regular spring rolls, they are wrapped into a square shape before being fried.

Nem cua be are a specialty of Hai Phong, a seaside town not far away, but are fantastic in Hanoi as well.

Try it at: Nem Vuong Pho Co, 58 Dao Duy Tu, Old Quarter, Hanoi

8.Hanoi_Chao ca_Vietnam’s take on Chinese congee.

8. Chao ca

Toast has nothing on chao ca, so if you're looking for a satisfying breakfast in Hanoi, why not try a steaming bowl of fish porridge?

Like Chinese congee, it's a rice gruel made by cooking down the grains until they are nearly liquid. In Hanoi, it's most often served with green onion, sprigs of dill and slivers of ginger.

Try it at: Doan Xom Chao Ca, 213 Hang Bang, Hanoi

9.Hanoi_Banh cuon_The city’s “goopiest” snack.

9. Banh cuon

Banh cuon is a Northern Vietnamese dish that migrated to Hanoi. Thin steamed rice flour pancakes filled with minced pork and cloud ear mushrooms are served with nuoc cham, a fish-sauce-based dipping sauce, fried shallots and fresh herbs. Slightly goopy in texture, banh cuon are often eaten for breakfast or as an evening pick-me-up.

Try it at: Thanh Van Banh Cuon, 14 Hang Ga, Old Quarter, Hanoi

10.Hanoi_Muc nuongPairs well with rice wine. But you can do it straight.

10. Muc nuong

There's no greater pleasure than drinking on a busy Hanoi sidewalk, and what better to nosh on at while you do than muc nuong? Dried squid is grilled over hot coals before being shredded and served with a spicy sauce. It's a chewy treat that is best washed down with shots of rice wine.

Try it at: Muc Nuong, 36 Hang Bo, Old Quarter, Hanoi

 

 


Singapore

Singapore street food

The street food scene in Singapore is now less “street food” and more “food court.”

Regulated out of existence years ago, street food vendors moved into government-sanctioned "hawker centers" where they still sell the same dishes.

While this may undermine the cuisine’s credibility as street food, it offers those with delicate stomachs the opportunity to partake -- strict safety and hygiene regulations make Singapore's hawker food some of the safest “street food” around.

Hawker centers offer a blend of inexpensive Malaysian, Indian and Chinese cuisines, which combine to offer a uniquely Singaporean eating experience.

A strong food culture also means that Singaporeans feel passionately about their hawker centers and the dishes found there, keeping standards of tastiness and authenticity high.

1.Singapore_chili-crabThe sloppiest delicacy you’ll ever crave.

1. Chili crab

One of Singapore's signature dishes, chili crab was invented in the 1950s when a Singaporean chef steamed crabs in chili and tomato sauce.

Since then it's become the go-to dish for tourists, but locals flock to it as well.

Toasted buns called mantou are often eaten with chili crab to sop up the sweet tomato gravy, although it's virtually guaranteed that you'll end up with at least some on your shirt. Chili crab has become so popular in the last half century that it's widely considered the Singapore national dish.

Try it at: Mattar Road BBQ Seafood, Old Airport Road Food Center, Block 51 Old Airport Road, Singapore

2.Singapore_Kaya Toast_Can’t live on bread alone? Add coconut, pandan and coffee.

2. Kaya toast

Often called Singapore's national breakfast dish, kaya toast is thinly sliced, crisply toasted bread served with a spread made of eggs, sugar and coconut milk that has been flavored with pandan leaves.

Hinting at a colonial influence, kaya toast is usually enjoyed with tea or strong coffee (called kopi) and soft-boiled eggs.

Try it at: Hylam Brothers, Amoy Food Center, 7 Maxwell Road, Singapore

3.Singapore_Chicken rice_Simple, not simplistic.

3. Chicken rice

Another contender for Singapore's national dish, this is sometimes called Hainanese chicken rice due to its Chinese roots. Chicken is steamed or boiled until it is just cooked and still a little bit pink near the bone.

It's served with oily rice that's made with chicken broth and slices of cucumber on the side. Chicken rice's simplicity belies its deliciousness, especially when eaten with chili sauce.

Try it at: Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, Maxwell Food Center, Corner South Bridge Road and Maxwell Road, Singapore

4.Singapore_sambal-stingray_Fishy feast.

4. Barbecue stingray sambal

A dish with Malaysian roots, stingray (sometimes called skate in the United States) is coated in sambal, a sauce made from fresh chilies, garlic, tamarind, shallots and belacan, a mild fermented fish paste, then wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled.

The dish, also called ikan pari bakar in Malay, is spicy and aromatic.

Try it at: Leng Heng Seafood BBQ, East Coast Lagoon Food Center, East Coast Lagoon Road, Singapore

5.Singapore_Katong Laksa_Slurp, smile, repeat.

5. Katong laksa

Named for an area of Singapore near the seafront, Katong laksa is the Singaporean take on curry laksa.

With a base of fresh coconut milk and spices ground into a paste, Katong laksa features rice noodles and shrimp and is served with a scoop of sambal and slivers of laksa leaves.

Katong laksa noodles are cut into bite-sized pieces, allowing those who enjoy it to ditch the chopsticks and eat the entire dish with a spoon.

Try it at: 328 Katong Laksa, 216 East Coast Road, Singapore

6.Singapore_Roti Prata_It’s bread that goes down like butter.

6. Roti prata

It’s not unique to or even from Singapore, but that doesn't stopped the locals from scarfing roti prata whenever possible.

Roti prata has its roots in Southern India, but you'll find it being eaten all over the city here. One of the joys of eating this richly textured flatbread is watching it being prepared -- flipped repeatedly in the air until tissue thin, then folded over and grilled until it's crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Try it at: Prata Saga Sambal Berlada, 665 Buffalo Rd, Tekka Center, Singapore

7.Singapore_Otaks-Otaks_Tastes much better than it translates.

7. Otah

It's called Otak-Otak in Malaysian, which means brains, but don't let the mushy consistency scare you.

Otah is a fish paste made from mackerel, chilies and spices, then put into either a coconut or banana leaf and grilled over hot coals.

The result, though it may look slightly disgusting, is a salty, spicy treat.

Try it at: Lee Wee Brothers, Blk 51 Old Airport Road, Old Airport Road Food Center, #01-79, Singapore

8.Singapore_Hokkien-mee_Need an excuse to eat pure lard? Right here.

8. Hokkien mee

Hokkien mee is a dish you'll find all over Malaysia, but the Singapore version is distinctly different from its Penang and KL counterparts. Singaporean hokkien mee includes both egg and rice noodles that are stir-fried and served dry (as opposed to in a soup) with prawns and sambal paste. What makes Singapore's hokkien mee so delicious is the healthy helping of lard that’s used to prepare every plate.

Try it at: Tiong Bahru Hokkien Prawn Mee, 30 Seng Poh Rd, Tiong Bahru Market & Food Center, #02-50, Singapore

9.Singapore_Satay_Peanuts turned delicacy.

9. Satay

One of the first street foods in Singapore -- back when street food was still legal -- satay can be enjoyed across Southeast Asia and at hawker stands all over Singapore.

Satay consists of marinated skewers of meat, grilled and served with a peanut sauce.

Chicken is most common, but you'll also find beef, mutton and tripe. It's best to order 10 at a time, because you won't be able to eat just one.

Try it at: East Coast Lagoon Food Village, 1220 East Coast Parkway, Singapore

10.Singapore_Chai tao kway-cake_When is a carrot cake not a carrot cake?

10. Chai tao kway

No, it's not a dessert, and no, there are no carrots in it, but chai tao kway, also known as carrot cake, is nevertheless one of the tastiest dishes that Singapore's hawkers offer.

A mixture of shredded white radish (daikon) and rice flour is stir-fried with egg, garlic and green onions. You can order it white or black -- the black version is darker because it includes sweet soy sauce.

Try it at: Heng Carrot Cake, #01-28 Newton Food Center, 500 Clemenceau Ave, Singapore

 

 

Seoul

seoul street food

Seoul is a city that doesn’t exactly embrace its street food -- street carts are illegal and the authorities are trying to get rid of them -- but that doesn’t stop the locals from enjoying every morsel.

Pojangmacha, or street vendors, line busy shopping districts selling sweets and savory snacks. Some operate in the open air, and others have small, portable restaurants that offer shelter from inclement weather.

Pojangmacha literally means "covered wagons," and their tented street food stalls are popular with the after-work crowd.

Later in the evening, pojangmacha serving soju, a Korean spirit made from rice, are the perfect place to drink on the cheap.

The many markets in town also offer places to try a wide variety of inexpensive Korean snacks.

1.Seoul_TteokbokkiParadise on a plate.

1. Tteokbokki

They used to be considered Korean royal court cuisine, but nowadays, tteok, or rice cakes, are found on street corners all over Seoul.

Tteokbokki is a dish made from cylinder-shaped rice cakes called garaetteok. The glutinous rice cakes are cooked with spicy red pepper paste and fish cakes to create this seriously chewy, seriously satisfying dish.

Try it at: Hyojadong Old-Fashioned Tteokbokki, Tongin Market, Tongin-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

2.Seoul_Haemul pajeon_Koreans know how to entertain their pancakes.

2. Haemul pajeon

This savory pancake is filled with a combination of seafood: oysters, shrimp, squid, clams.

It's a delicious and filling dish that's often served in restaurants as an appetizer or one of the small side dishes known as banchan.

Eaten at pojangmacha, haemul pajeon taste best when accompanied by copious amounts of alcohol.

Try it at: Gongdeok Market, Gongdeok Station Exit 4, Gongdeok-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

3.Seoul_GimbapSeoul's streets don't discriminate against vegetarians.

3. Gimbap

The perfect street food, gimbap is tasty and easy to eat on the go. Made from steamed white rice and gim (dried laver seaweed), gimbap can have many possible fillings.

Vegetarians can rejoice as most street food vendors carry a vegetable gimbap made with spinach, carrots, cucumber and pickled radish.

Try it at: 72-4, Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

4.Seoul_SundaeA popular way to enjoy this dish is to dip it in tteokbokki sauce.

4. Sundae

No, it's not an ice cream dessert; it's a Korean blood sausage.

Traditionally, sundae is made of pig's intestines stuffed with vegetables, glass noodles and pork blood.

These days, when you buy sundae at pojangmacha it probably won't be made with pork intestines, but you'll still get a healthy helping of blood. It's especially yummy with salt.

Try it at: Gwangjang Market, 6-1 Yeji-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

This sweet treat goes away in summer, so get as much as you can during the chilly season.

5. Hotteok

A snack that is most popular during the chilly winter months, hotteok is a pancake filled with cinnamon and sugar and cooked on a flat grill.

The heat causes the sugar to caramelize, creating a taste sensation that will both burn and delight your mouth.

Sometimes you'll also find black sesame seeds and peanuts as a filling for hotteok.

Try it at: Namdaemun Market, Jung-gu, Seoul

street eats in seoulWinter broth.

6. Odeng

You'll see these tasty fish cakes being sold all over Seoul at night, where they are often an accompaniment to soju.

Odeng are boiled in a seafood broth made from crab or anchovies with spring onion and daikon.

When you order, you'll get an extra cup of the broth to drink or dunk your odeng in.

Try it at: 72-4, Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

7.Seoul_Hot dogA blown-up wand from the culinary magicians of Seoul.

7. Gamja-dog

You have to hand it to the Koreans for this revolutionary twist on the common corn dog.

Realizing the difficulty inherent in eating both a hot dog and fries while walking, some ingenious vendors came up with the idea of jamming hot dogs onto a stick, dipping them in batter, covering them with French fries and then deep-frying the whole mess.

The result is as beautiful as it is satisfying.

Try it at: Myeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

8.Seoul_BungeoppangClassic buttery snack beloved by all.

8. Bungeoppang

A Korean pastry in the form of a carp, bungeoppang is made by pouring a sweet pancake-like batter into a fish-shaped mold similar to a waffle iron.

Red bean paste is added as a filling, and when it's cooked the result is a crispy-outside, gooey-inside treat.

Red bean paste is the standard filling, but you can also find bungeoppang filled with sweet potato, chestnut or cream. Usually only sold in winter.

Try it at: 72-4, Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Seoul ManduA healthy snack that's also savory.

9. Mandu

These dumplings were long part of Korean royal court cuisine but are believed to have originated with Mongolian traders in the 14th century.

Today you'll find them sold at pojangmacha as a cheap and filling snack. Thin-skinned and filled with minced meat, tofu, green onions, garlic and ginger, mandu are served with kimchi and chili-speckled soy sauce.

Try it at: Gwangjang Market, 6-1 Yeji-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

barbecue in seoulCheapest, tastiest barbecue on the street.

10. Dakkochi

A popular street food that comes in many varieties, dakkochi are simple skewers of grilled chicken. Most often they are served with sweet, tangy sauce, but there are also spicy and savory dakkochi topped with anything from mayonnaise to bright orange cheese powder. Dakkochi are always delicious, but even more so alongside a few drinks.

Try it at: 72-4, Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

 


Xi'an, China

Xi'an street food

Although perhaps most famous for the Terracotta Warriors, Xi'an is also known for its cuisine, a distinctive mix of traditional Shaanxi fare and Chinese Muslim influence.

The city’s Muslim Quarter is packed with tiny restaurants that spill out onto the street, along with more traditional street food vendors. Lamb is particularly popular with the local Muslim Hui population, and the air in the Muslim Quarter is filled with the smell of mutton roasting over smoky charcoal.

Night markets in Xi'an are also a good place to try the local street food. Here you'll find both Muslim-influenced snacks and specialties of Shaanxi Province, of which Xi’an is the capital.

1.Xian_Majiang liang pi_A noodle that cools down the summer heat.

1. Majiang liang pi

A variant of cold sesame noodles that is a Shaanxi specialty, liang pi are thick white wheat noodles that are served with tangy vinegar, salt, chili oil and nutty black sesame paste (maijiang).

The ingredients create a sensational flavor combination that is only improved by adding crunchy sliced cucumbers or bean sprouts.

Although you can get majiang liang pi in restaurants, on the street it's usually served in a plastic bag for easier transport.

Try it at: Muslim Quarter, Bei Yuan Men Jie, off Xi Da Jie, Xian, China

2.Xian_Yang rou chuan_Does anything that comes on little sticks taste bad?

2. Yang rou chuan

Yang rou chuan, or lamb kebabs, is a dish of Chinese Islamic origin that is ubiquitous in Xi'an's Muslim Quarter.

On the street known as Muslim Snack Street, men grill lamb that's been marinated in cumin and red pepper over hot coals.

The result, spicy, tangy and tender, is especially tasty during the cold winter months.

Try it at: Muslim Night Market, Bei Guangji Jie, Xi'an

3.Xian_Persimmon cakes_Perfect combo of persimmon and flour.

3. Shi zi bing

In autumn the streets of Xi'an are overflowing with red-orange persimmons and shi zi bing.

The dough for these small, chewy cakes is made from flour and persimmons, which give them their beautiful orange color.

A variety of fillings are available, including ground walnuts, rose petals, or black sesame, which are mixed with sugar.

The cakes are grilled until the outside is crisp and the filling becomes a sticky, sweet syrup.

Try it at: Damaishi Jie Night Market, Xi'an

4.Xian_Quail eggs_ Like sunshine on a grill.

4. Kao anchun dan

Another specialty of the Muslim Quarter is quail eggs cooked on a specially designed griddle that has rows of small, round wells for the eggs and a groove to slide a skewer in.

As they are cooking, the quail eggs are brushed with sesame paste. The result is a stick of five delicious, bite-sized eggs perfect for eating on the run.

Try it at: Muslim Night Market, Bei Guangji Jie, Xi'an

5. Xun rou da bing

Lest you worry that you'll not be able to get any pork in Xi'an, xun rou da bing come to the rescue.

Smoked pork is wrapped in a crispy pancake with thinly sliced fresh onions and a mild, sweet sauce.

These greasy smoked pork rolls are the perfect companion for a night of boozing, and you'll often find them being sold near bars in the evening.

Try it at: Defu Alley, west of De Fu Xiang, Xi'an

6.Xian_Eight treasure rose mirror cake_Eight treasures, one bite.

6. Babao meigui jing gao

Translated as “eight treasure rose mirror cake,” this is a Muslim treat that's made by putting unsweetened sticky rice into individual wooden molds.

The cake is sprinkled with sugar and a sweet sauce made from rose petals, and then one side is dipped in crushed nuts, the other in black sesame. Other flavors are also available, such as watermelon, red bean and melon.

The steamed rice is then removed from the mold with a skewer and served up as a sort of nut-covered rice lollipop.

Try it at: Muslim Quarter, Bei Yuan Men Jie, off Xi Da Jie, Xian, China

7.Xian_Rou jia mo_Hamburger in a Chinese disguise.

7. Rou jia mo

Often called Shaanxi Province's answer to the hamburger, rou jia mo is a popular street food that's now found all over China.

A meat filling, usually mutton or beef -- although in non-Muslim areas pork is popular -- is stewed with more than a dozen spices until it melts in the mouth.

Then the shredded meat is served in a flatbread bun with sweet pepper and cilantro. The delicious combination is claimed to be one of the world's oldest sandwiches.

Try it at: Muslim Quarter, Bei Yuan Men Jie, off Xi Da Jie, Xian, China

8.Xian_Guang tang baozi_Cousin to Shanghai’s xiao long bao.

8. Guan tang baozi

A Xi'an specialty, these appetizing dumplings are similar to Shanghai's xiao long bao (soup dumplings). They're filled with mutton, beef or prawns and savory gravy that squirts out when you bite into the baozi.

They're served with a vinegar dipping sauce plus red chili and spicy Sichuan pepper.

Try it at: Jia San Soup Parcel Shop, 111 Bei Yuan Men Jie, Xi’an

9.Xian_Jian bing guo ziChina's favorite breakfast.

9. Jian bing guo zi

Commonly eaten as a breakfast food, this tempting crepe-like dish is made of a thin mung-bean-flour batter and cooked on a hot round grill. It's filled with egg, scallions and a crunchy deep-fried stick of dough and then folded over itself many times and topped with a fried egg.

The dish originally hails from Tianjin, but you'll find variations all over Xi'an in the mornings.

Try it at: South gate of Xingqinggong Park, Xianning West Road, Xi'an

10.Xian_Dao xiao min_Grand achievement of a kung fu noodle master.

10. Dao xiao min

These hand-cut wheat noodles, yet another specialty of Shaanxi Province, are sliced off a large block of dough with a knife into a steaming pot of boiling water, earning them the nickname knife-cut noodles.

When they're cooked, dao xiao min are either added to a rich broth and a spicy sauce or served with an eggplant and pork dipping sauce.

Try it: Near the Drum Tower, Bei Yuan Men Jie, Xi’an

 

 


Manila

Manila street food

Manila is a city filled with street-food options. Most vendors are mobile and can be found walking up and down Manila's busy streets, crying out their specialties.

Whenever possible, foods are deep-fried, which makes them that much more mouth-watering and, as a bonus, kills germs.

Cold drinks and sweet desserts are also popular snacks in Manila's tropical heat.

Wherever you are heading in Manila, it's worth stopping for a few minutes and sampling the cuisine of the streets.

1.Manila_Tsistoron_Chicharron improved with chili = tsitsaron.

1. Tsitsaron

Tsitsaron is a popular snack that originated with the Spanish, who call it chicharrón.

These deep-fried, salted pork rinds are eaten with vinegar and sliced chilies or pickled green papaya, called atsara.

You'll find tsitsaron being sold all over the streets of Manila, as well as served in restaurants and homes as a pulutan, or finger food.

Try it at: Quintin Paredes Street, Manila


2.Manila_Taho_Manila champions eat custard for breakfast.

2. Taho

A signature sweet of the Philippines, taho is sold every morning by magtataho, or taho vendors, carrying buckets on a pole across their shoulders.

It’s a custard-like combination of fresh silken tofu, arnibel made from caramelized brown sugar and vanilla, and sago pearls. Served warm and sweet, it’s a tasty Manila breakfast treat.

Try it at: Jorge Bocobo Street, Manila

3.Manila_Balut_A little bit of gross yields a lot of satisfaction.

3. Balut

No mention of Manila street food would be complete without balut. Early evenings you'll hear vendors lustily shouting "Baaaaluuuut" on the streets of Manila, hawking fertilized duck eggs.

The embryos are allowed to develop for about three weeks before they're cooked and sold, meaning that when you crack into the egg you'll find an almost fully-formed baby duck -- complete with tiny feathers -- ready to be eaten whole with chili garlic and vinegar. It’s a crunchy mash of both egg and chicken flavors.

Try it at: Pateros, Metro Manila

4.Manila_Kwek kwek_Bite-sized shots of protein.

4. Kwek kwek

A beloved Filipino street food easily recognized by their bright orange color, kwek kwek are hard-boiled, battered, deep-fried quail eggs served with a spicy vinegar dipping sauce.

They get their distinctive color from atsuete, a mild, peppery spice that was originally brought to the Philippines by the Spanish.

Try it at: Recto Avenue, Manila

5.Manila_Silog_It's all in the banana ketchup.

5. Silog

The most common Filipino breakfast, silog is a word combining sinangag (fried rice) and itlog (egg) and is used to refer to any of the myriad of flavorsome, filling breakfasts that feature these ingredients.

Tocilog, or tocino silog, is sweet cured pork served with rice and a fried egg. Silog is usually served with chili sauce or banana ketchup on the side.

Try it at: Banchetto Shopwise, Parking lot of Shopwise Libis, Rodriguez Jr. Avenue Quezon City, Metro Manila

6.Manila_Isaw_All the intestine that you never knew you wanted to eat.

6. Isaw

In the afternoons, Manila is filled with vendors selling barbecued intestines, pork or chicken, on wooden skewers.

These chewy treats are cleaned multiple times, and occasionally even boiled for the sake of hygiene, before being grilled over hot coals. Isaw is best eaten right off the grill with a vinegar and chili dipping sauce.

Try it at: Mang Larry's Isawan, in front of the Kalayaan Residence Hall, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila

7.Manila_Kikiam_Kikiam. When in doubt, deep-fry it.

7. Kikiam

A Filipino dish with Chinese roots, kikiam are a bit like a dumpling or eggroll. Ground pork and vegetables are seasoned with five-spice powder and wrapped in bean curd before being deep-fried. They're served with a sweet and spicy soy-vinegar sauce and are fried to order.

Try it at: Outside of Saint Jude Catholic School, 328 Ycaza Street, Manila

8.Manila_Sago tgulaman_Manila's coldest sugar-high inducer.

8. Sago't gulaman

The best way to deal with the heat in Manila is with a big icy glass of sago't gulaman.

The drink combines sago, similar to giant tapioca pearls, with caramelized sugar water (sometimes flavored with pandan leaves) and gelatinous red gulaman, or agar jelly.

Although it's a beverage, the sago and gulaman offer a mouthful of chewy goodness.

Try it at: Quirino Avenue, Manila

9.Manila_Banana Cue_Barbecued banana. Almost healthy.

9. Banana cue

This simple yet popular street snack of a deep-fried banana coated in caramelized brown sugar can be found all over Manila.

The name comes from combining the words banana and barbecue. Although it's not actually grilled, it's served and eaten on a skewer -- and in the Philippines, almost anything that's served on a skewer is called barbecue.

Try it at: Padre Faura Street, Manila

10.Manila_Fish balls_Formerly fish, now chewy, spicy morsels.

10. Fish balls

These small, white balls of minced fish are sold by roving vendors pushing fry carts.

When an order is placed, the fish balls are deep-fried and served on skewers with a variety of dipping sauces: a spicy vinegar-based sauce, a sweet banana ketchup and a sweet-and-sour option with hot chilies.

Try it at: Outside of Saint Jude Catholic School, 328 Ycaza Street, Manila

 

 


Phnom Penh

phnom penh street food

Cambodians like to snack throughout the day, so it’s no surprise their capitol is teeming with street-food choices.

Depending on what time it is, you’ll find scores of different types of street cuisine being sold by roving vendors or at stationary street stalls that cook on small charcoal grills.

The local markets are also a good source of Khmer snacks, particularly Central, Kandal and Orussei, as well as the streets around the city’s many schools and universities.

Breakfast time and early evenings are particularly busy, as hungry students flood the streets, looking for fried noodles, Cambodian sandwiches and sweet treats.

1.Phnom Penh_Num pang_A classic with a Cambodian twist.

1. Num pang

Baguettes are a lasting legacy of the French colonization of Cambodia -- as in Vietnam, they are used for street-side sandwiches that are filled with a mixture of Eastern and Western ingredients.

In Phnom Penh the sandwiches are filled with pate, butter or homemade mayonnaise, spicy red chili paste, crunchy pickled green papaya and carrot and a type of pork bologna and served with soy sauce and fish sauce on the side.

Try it at: Outside Kandal Market, Street 5, Phnom Penh

2.Phnom Penh_Nom-banh-chok_Breakfast that travels to you.

2. Nom banh chok

This popular breakfast food is often called the Cambodian national dish.

It's usually sold by women carrying the ingredients in baskets hanging from a pole balanced on their shoulders.

The noodles are made from fermented rice and topped with aromatic green fish curry gravy, flavored with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and turmeric root. Fresh herbs, bean sprouts, banana flower and cucumber are added for a pleasant, refreshing crunch.

Try it at: Russian Market, Street 440, Phnom Penh

3.Phnom Penh_Num plae ai_Eat at your own risk.

3. Num plae ai

These yummy small, round rice dumplings are filled with liquid caramelized palm sugar and topped with fresh coconut shavings.

They're sometimes called nom somlap pdey, or “dessert that kills your husband,” because the smooth, chewy texture makes num plae ai easy to choke on if you eat them too fast!

Try it at: Top of street 258 and Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh

4.Phnom Penh_Bai-sach-chrouk_Get in early.

4. Bai sach chrouk

Bai sach chrouk, or grilled pork with rice, is a simple and delicious breakfast food sold by numerous Phnom Penh street vendors, who usually sell out by 8:30 every morning.

Thinly sliced pork that's been marinated in coconut milk or garlic is grilled slowly over warm coals.

It's served over steamed rice, sometimes with a fried egg, a side of freshly pickled daikon radish and cucumber, and a dab of spicy chili paste.

Try it at: Kandal Market, Street 5, Phnom Penh

5.Phnom Penh_Coconut water_Ask for the food and drink combo.

5. Coconut water

Vendors walk around Phnom Penh with carts piled high with young, green coconuts. They slice the tops off to order so customers can drink the coconut water with a straw. Cambodians believe that coconut water is extremely healthy, and many locals try to drink a coconut every day.

Once you’re finished, you can ask the vendor to slice the coconut open so you can access the flesh inside.

Try it at: Sihanouk Boulevard and Street 51, Phnom Penh

6.Phnom Penh_Fresh fruit_Made to order.

6. Fresh fruit

One of the simplest but most delicious street foods that Phnom Penh has to offer is fresh ripe fruit. Vendors sell juicy pineapple, papaya, dragonfruit, watermelon, guava and green mango out of glass cases.

When you order, they'll offer to cut the fruit into bite-sized pieces, which are eaten with a wooden skewer, and sprinkle it with entirely unnecessary MSG, sugar and chili.

Try it at: Top of street 258 and Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh

7.Phnom Penh_Mi char_Keeps the kids happy.

7. Mi char

Fried noodles are popular with students looking for an afternoon snack once school lets out.

Most noodle sellers carry a few options in their cart -- instant noodles from ramen packages, soft yellow egg noodles, or short, thick rice noodles.

They're stir-fried in fish sauce and soy sauce with beef and greens, and usually a fried egg is added to the equation. Most Cambodians choose to eat mi char with mild, sweet chili sauce.

Try it at: Central Market, Street 53, Phnom Penh

8.Phnom Penh_Kuy tiev_Origin unknown.

8. Kuy teav

You'll find similar noodle soups in Vietnam and Thailand, but kuy teav is believed to have originated with Chinese immigrants in Cambodia.

Whatever its origins, the soup is a hearty breakfast made with pork or beef broth and thin rice noodles, and topped with fried shallots, green onions and crunchy bean sprouts. Sometimes the soup will also contains prawns, beef balls or pork liver and is served with red chili sauce with vinegar and sugar.

Try it at: Across from Pencil, Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh

9.Phnom Penh_Ngeav Chamhoy_Eat with beer.

9. Ngeav chamhoy

Cockles steamed with chilies, fragrant lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal are an enticing late-night snack sold street-side and by roving vendors pushing carts with portable steamers.

Ngeav is the Khmer word for a type of native clam known as the blood cockle due to its red color, caused by hemoglobin similar to that in human blood.

Ngeav chamhoy taste best accompanied by a spicy chili sauce and washed down with a cold beer.

Try it at: Street 13, Phnom Penh

10.Phnom Penh_Num sang khya l'peou_Things are bound to get messy.

10. Num sang khya l'peou

This treat is as tasty as it is impressive. A pumpkin’s seeds are removed and then it’s filled with egg yolks, palm sugar and coconut milk. The top is put back on and the whole thing is steamed for half an hour.

When it's done, it's sliced to best show off the contrasting orange pumpkin flesh filled with smooth, creamy custard.

Try it at: Orussei Market, Street 182, Phnom Penh

 

Lina Goldberg is an American writer based in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and the author of "Move to Cambodia: A guide to living and working in the Kingdom of Wonder." She covers Cambodia happenings and travel news at movetocambodia.com/blog and on Twitter (https://twitter.com/movetocambodia).
 

 

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