Top 5 Cities for Street Food in Asia

Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
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Adventures don’t always have to include adrenaline pumping action, like jumping off cliffs and skydiving. Sometimes the best adventures are food-oriented. You might agree that some of the things you remember best from your travels are the meals you had and the new foods you tried. It’s no secret that eating is one of our favorite activities while traveling, especially in Asia.

We have quite a few favorite destinations in Asia for street food – countries like Vietnam, Thailand, and Hong Kong that are very well known for their street food.

If you’re looking for somewhere to go in Asia where you can enjoy an overwhelming amount of delicious street food, these are your destinations!

Hong Kong

One dim sum restaurant

Hong Kong is a wonderful food city, with all kinds of great food stalls, restaurants, and dishes with many cultural influences to try.

I highly recommend going to one of the top-rated restaurants to order a full meal of dim sum. For a Michelin-star meal, head to Tim Ho Wan. The table above is filled with delicious dishes from One Dim Sum.

Roast goose is a dish you must try in Hong Kong. The crunchy skin and layer of rendered fat over tender meat. It’s a thing of true joy. We ordered roast goose in a tiny restaurant called Yat Lok Roast Goose in the Central neighborhood on Hong Kong Island

You can try lots of great dishes on a Hong Kong Foodie Tasting Tour. There’s really no better way to explore the food scene and find great places to go back to during your visit. Their knowledgeable guides know where to find the most incredibly tasty food at exceptional venues throughout the city, so not only are you trying the foods on your list, you’re getting them from the best sources.

Indonesia

Mie Goreng
Mie Goreng

If you’ve never experienced Indonesian food, you’re missing out. In many Indonesian cities, you’ll find hundreds of restaurants serving cheap and delicious specialties from street food stalls and restaurants.

A lot of the street food in Indonesia is fried. Some specialties to look out for include gorengan (fritters), nasi goreng (fried rice), mie goreng (fried noodles) and ayam goreng (fried chicken). Be sure to try some bakso meatball soup, traditional soto soups and fruit rujak as well.

Indonesia also has a lot of upscale dining experience, particurly in Seminyak, one of the more upscale resort areas. Be sure to visit Metis, one of Seminyak’s most popular restaurants, where you can dine at a private table surrounded by their famous lotus pond.

→ Check out even more Seminyak restaurants here.

Singapore

Singapore is one country that has a lot to offer in terms of food owing to its rich heritage. The local cuisine has evolved and obtained influences from various other cultures such as Malaysian, Chinese and even Indian, morphing into an exotic palette bursting with flavors.

One of my favorite food experiences in Singapore is the hawker centers. These huge collections of street food stalls can be found all over the city and they feature some of the best food options around.

Not only is the food amazing, and in great abundance and variation, it’s also very inexpensive. You can find a place to sit and then sample dishes from all the different vendors.

The best dishes to try are laksa (a spicy coconut curry soup), Hainanese chicken rice, Chai tow kueh (aka carrot cake – which is not a dessert as you might expect), and the iconic Singapore Chili Crab.

Thailand

Som Tam
Som Tam
Thailand is a food mecca. Not only is the cuisine creative and diverse from region to region, it is incredibly cheap by western standards. Each of the regions of Thailand have their own unique style of food, but in most restaurants and from street food vendors you’ll find a variety of dishes on the menu.
 
Thais like their food spicy, but they generally won’t serve it to you that spicy once they’ve determined that you’re a Western tourist. You can determine your level of spice on a scale of 1-5, being how many chilies you want. We found that 3 was just right for us, but if you can tolerate spice, just ask for it “mị̀ p̄hĕd” (not spicy).
 
My favorite dishes are Pad See Ew (stir fried noodles) and Kao Soi (Chiang Mai noodles), but I learned quickly that any stir fried or noodle dish was equally as delicious and helped me branch out a bit. Being willing to eat street food also expanded my Thai food repertoire. Som Tam, Tom Yum Goong, and Char Guay Teow are dishes to look out for.

Penang, Malaysia

Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia (Image via Flickr by yeowatzup)

If there is any place on earth where you can find just about any type of street food available at any hour of the day, it’s in Penang. You can’t walk more than a block and not encounter street food vendors. It’s even been called Asia’s street food capital.

When you’re in Penang, it’s only appropriate to go on a street food mission. The best place to go is George Town, where hawker centers prevail. If you don’t know where to start or how and what to order, follow this 24-hour street food experience that will guide you through a 24-course eating extravaganza.

If you want to find the best food stalls, and try all the required foods while in Penang, I would suggest going on this Best of Penang Street and Local Food Tour. It’s a 4-hour tour that will take you to a minimum of 4 destinations within town and its outskirts, to try local specialties and discovering the city’s edible hidden gems.

CONCLUSION

If you a have a chance to visit any of these great Asian foodie destinations, we’re sure you’ll love the food in each and find that these top five Asian adventures for foodies stoke your excitement for culinary travel.

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Top 5 Cities for Street Food in Asia
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17 thoughts on “Top 5 Cities for Street Food in Asia

  1. Paula McInerney says:

    I have eaten in a few of these places, but not all. I feel an Asia trip is coming up soon, and I have Penang on the radar purely for the food.

  2. Lauren says:

    There is such a variety of flavours and styles of dish in Asian food, it’s a foodie’s heaven! Hoping I can visit sometime not too far away.

  3. Wai says:

    Hong Kong is definitely a great destination for asian street food. We have a great mix of sweet options like egg waffles to exotics like pig intestines. My favourite is Dao Fu Fa, a sweet tofu pudding.

  4. Pingback: Street Foods in the Philippines You Must Try | Savored Journeys

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