Street corners in Hanoi conjure up imagery of locals serving steaming bowls of pho and glasses of fresh cafe da or coffee sweetened with condensed milk. In Tokyo, Okonomiyaki, or Japanese savory pancakes are filled to the brim with squid, beef and cabbage and fried on street carts, served fresh and piping hot. The spicy, sweet and savory scents of kaffir lime, chili and lemongrass are permanently infused through Bangkok's congested streets with carts selling everything from pad see ew to Tom Yum soup. Asia, is a street food wonderland and a foodie heaven.
Here are our top five cities for street food on the continent:
The beautiful capital of Vietnam is an effervescent city bursting with some of the best food in the world. Many quintessential Vietnamese dishes found its birthplace in the picturesque city and still echoes to its French influences. For cheap eats on the street, travelers and locals alike, need only look on any street corner to find the best pho, bun cha and café suda ,iced coffee, on the planet.
Bun cha is pork patties and slices of pork grilled on hot coals and accompanied with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs such as cilantro and basil and a sauce mixture of fish sauce, lime, chilli, sugar and vinegar.
Vietnam's famous staple, pho is a fragrant, savory rice noodle soup served with fresh herbs and meat.
Bangkok's bustling street food scene is one of the best in the world and an important part of the city's culture. Some of the booming metropoli's' traditional and most delicious food can be found streetside without ever stepping foot into a restaurant. With everything from Thai mainstays like pad thai and Tom Yum soup to traditional uay teow rhua or boat noodles, sold by vendors in boats, the city is a playground for food lovers and foodies on a budget. For dessert, Bangkok is a sweet lovers paradise with the best mangoes with sticky rice you'll ever taste and creamy concoctions of cha yen, or Thai iced tea at your disposal.
Singapore is a melting pot of Asian cultures and the food scene is just as complex. The city has a pulsating hawker, or food court, scene that encompass many of its city streets. Singapore's diverse cultural heritage make for a rich food haven with mixtures of Malaysian Indian and Chinese flavors. Try famous staples like chilli crab, kaya toast--or bread toasted and served with a spread made of eggs, sugar and coconut leaves--and succulent, savory chicken rice, the city/country's national dish.
Penang is well known to be Malaysia's top food destination and one of the top dining destinations on the globe, with street food being a major appeal. Penang culture is a fusion of flavors from China, Malaysia and India that nod to it's multicultural heritage. Nonya is a popular food area in Penang that fuses Malay and Chinese cuisine brought from the immigrants in the area.
For a burst of traditional Penang flavor try dishes like Penang assam laksa, or a spicy tamarind based soup with chilli, seafood, noodles, and fresh herbs. Curry laksa is equally as elegant with its creamy soup made of coconut curry as the backdrop for egg noodles, vermicelli, tofu puffs and meat. Wonton mee is the perfect stir fried noodle dish served with a combination of meat and spicy sambal.
Japan's pulsating concrete artery is a top foodie destination. It not only boasts fine-dining restaurants but it has one of the best street-food scenes in the world. With underground hidden alleyways, serving savory bowls of pork ramen and street side vendors serving up smoky sticks of yakitori, or grilled meat, there are myriad options for streetside fare in the metropolis. For a bite of real Japan don't miss street side ramen, or rich, creamy broth floating with noodles and sliced pork. Try yakitori, or an assortment of bbq'd meats including chicken, beef, meatballs and other more interesting varieites of offal. Okonomiyaki is the perfect combination of doughy pancake and savory meat and vegetables served straight from the pan to hungry travelers streetside.
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