A Compilation Best Street Foods in Southeast Asia by CNN Travel
When it comes to street food, Asia is heavy on variety and flavor, with bubbling cauldrons of noodle soup, flaky flatbreads, and multicolored desserts.
It's not surprising that diversity abounds in this enormous territory, which stretches across equatorial tropics, mountain ranges, volcanic islands, and chaotic megacities.
However, there are also a lot of similarities. Many recipes have crossed boundaries due to centuries of migration and trade only to become regional specialties thousands of miles from their original locations.
We've compiled a list of 50 popular, must-try street meals and beverages across Asia in alphabetical order to honor the region's boundless culinary talent and passion for food.
It goes without saying that this is by no means a complete list of the amazing culinary traditions of the area and where to locate them.
Asam laksa, Malaysia
A substantial bowl of wonderful soup can be the perfect cure on occasion. Asam laksa, a native delicacy, can satisfy hunger.
The fish-based soup, which is thought to have its origins on the coast, has a sour, tamarind flavor that is unexpectedly cooling even on hot, muggy mornings.
A typical bowl is filled to the brim with rice noodles, veggies, fish that has been chopped up, coriander, and Malaysian shrimp paste.
Banh mi, Vietnam
Vietnamese invented the famous banh mi, not the French who may have brought baguettes to the country. The ingredients will differ from north to south and east to west, just like many of the meals on this list. Pork, pickled carrots, coriander, chili, and a generous spread of pâté between two crisp, fluffy baguettes are still a traditional combination.
Chili Crab, Singapore
These days, chili crab can be found in many hawker centers and speciality eateries, but this famous dish first appeared on the streets of Singapore in a pushcart in the 1950s. It's messy in all the greatest ways, and you're not doing it right if you don't get your hands muddy snapping mud crab legs.
Scoop up the rich chili-tomato sauce with buttery fried mantou buns after removing the crab meat.
Crab omelets, Thailand
It's difficult to comprehend why all egg dishes don't taste this amazing until you've tried a kai jeow pu (a Thai crab omelet).
The perfect combination of crab and eggs is enhanced by the wok's crispy edges, fluffy inside, and drip of sweet chili sauce.
Gado gado, Indonesia
Gado gado, which translates to "mix-mix," is a filling dish that combines delectable components with a bounty of veggies in a rich, peanutty sauce. It's typical to see green beans, cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, lettuce, tofu, cucumbers, tempeh, potatoes, a hard-boiled egg, and sides of lontong (rice cakes) and prawn crackers, however the exact ingredients vary depending on the vendor.
It's impossible to pass this vibrantly colored dessert without stopping to try some. There are various options for getuk (or gethuk), including yam, potato, banana, taro, and cheese, in addition to cassava (a nutty, starchy root vegetable) and coconut.
Halo-halo (or haluhalo, meaning "mixed" in Tagalog), a mountain of crushed ice and condensed milk with a rainbow of toppings, is the ideal remedy for the hot and muggy summers in the Philippines. The lengthy list of ingredients may include cubed yam, taro, coconut flakes, tapioca pearls, flan, sweetened beans, plantain, jackfruit, coconut jam, nuts, sago, cheese, ice cream, ube (purple yam), toasted rice, and more, however it varies across the nation.
This is one meal that truly lives up to its name because of the different textures—crunchy, crispy, chewy, and creamy—that it offers.
Iced coffee, Vietnam
Cà phê, as it is known in Vietnam, is sold by both street sellers and cafes. It can be consumed in a variety of ways, including black, with condensed milk, a little bit of sugar, or combined with coconut milk.
On a plastic stool, make some new friends or continue your exploration while holding a cold beverage.
Kaya toast, Singapore/Malaysia
Not sure if you want a sweet or savory breakfast? Now meet kaya toast, a breakfast sandwich toasted with charcoal that is practically a daily ritual in both Singapore and Malaysia.
The kaya, an aromatic jam consisting of coconut milk, eggs, sugar, and pandan, is what gives it its extremely amazing flavor.
Enjoy it with soft-boiled eggs for dipping or eating separately with a dash of black soy sauce. This classic experience is completed with a cup of thick kopi (Nanyang coffee) or milk tea.
Kerak telor, Indonesia
Don't believe what you think you know about omelets. A traditional Betawi dish known as kerak telor, or "egg crust," is prepared over charcoal and is bursting with taste and texture from the use of ingredients including duck eggs, glutinous rice, grated coconut, fried shallots, dried shrimp, and Indonesian spices.
Khao jee, Laos
There's more to this ubiquitous street snack than meets the eye, despite the fact that it appears straightforward—a grilled sticky rice patty on a stick.
Khao jee has a bright golden color, a sweet and nutty flavor, and a pleasantly chewy texture because to a thin egg covering and a faint grill char.
By happy coincidence, khao jee pâté, a Lao-style baguette sandwich akin to a Vietnamese banh mi, also happens to be a terrific street food. It is stuffed with pork liver pâté, pickled carrots, cucumber, papaya, and a regional chili condiment called jeow bong.
Khao soi, Thailand
Khao Soi, a curry noodle soup with deep-fried egg noodles on top, is a favorite in Northern Thailand. Vendors spoon thick, creamy, chili-infused coconut soup over a bed of egg noodles with beef or chicken legs, creating lovely golden bowls. Mustard greens, freshly cut shallots, lime wedges, and chili paste are frequently served on the side.
Kuih cincin, Brunei
Kuih cincin, or "ring cakes," is a popular after-dinner delicacy in Brunei.
Due to its flower-like form, this appealing cookie-like treat is simple to recognize. It has a delightful crunch and a sweet, nutty flavor that matches how good it looks.
Kwek kwek, Philippines
Try eating deep-fried quail eggs, or kwek kwek, the next time you're in the Philippines. The annatto powder in the batter is what gives them their brilliant orange color.
The citrus-hued powder, which is mildly spicy, sweet, and nutty, is made from the prickly fruits of the achiote tree, however some vendors also use orange food coloring to achieve the same result.
The hard-boiled eggs are coated in the orange batter before going into the deep fryer and emerging with a dipping sauce that is sour and hot.
Lahpet thoke, Myanmar
Due to its main component, fermented or pickled Assam tea leaves, tea leaf salad, also called lahpet thoke in its native region, has an earthy, sour, and slightly bitter flavor. Then, for a salad that is bursting with flavors and textures, the tea leaves are combined with cabbage, tomatoes, beans, roasted almonds, toasted seeds, dried shrimp, and fried garlic.
Lort cha, Cambodia
Nothing is more satisfying than a bowl of stir-fried noodles, and Cambodia's favorite kind is no different.
Short and squat rice pin noodles are tossed with spring onions, Chinese broccoli, crisp bean sprouts, chives, garlic, and beef in lort cha, which is typically served on street carts and marketplaces. The dish is then topped with a fried egg and a special sauce.
The spicy level is enhanced by generous toppings of fermented red chili paste from Cambodia, which merchants are happy to turn up for you.
Grab a seat at an early-morning food stand, or really any time of day, to savor a steaming bowl of mohinga (fish noodle soup). Fresh catfish with lemongrass, toasted rice, ginger, garlic, and springy rice noodles prepared to order with a variety of optional toppings make up the de facto national cuisine of the nation.
Nam khao, Laos
Although nam khao (crispy rice salad) can also be found in Thailand, it is considered that Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is where the cuisine first appeared. The dish's highlight are crispy deep-fried rice balls prepared with a base of red curry paste, coconut flakes, and egg. It's a balancing act of exquisite flavors, scents, and textures.
Then, the crumbled up fried rice is combined with sausage, tempura, peanuts, onion, chili, and other ingredients before being served with crisp lettuce leaves.
Nasi Lemak, Malaysia
There is no need to introduce nasi lemak to fans of Asian cuisine. This mouthwatering spread, which is served hot and steaming in a fragrant banana leaf, tempts taste buds with a bed of coconut rice covered with salty anchovies, roasted peanuts, boiled eggs, cucumbers, and sambal. It is the national dish of Malaysia for good reason. There are several variations; some vendors provide fried chicken, curries, fish, or fried eggs on the side.
Few street delicacies can match the fame of pho around the world. This substantial noodle soup, which is sold in roadside stalls and cafes, is renowned for its aromatic and flavorful broth, springy rice noodles, and tender protein (usually beef or chicken).
In order for you to customize the noodle soup to your tastes, it is often served with a variety of fresh garnishes, including herbs, bean sprouts, lime, chili sauce, and chili slices.
Rojak (or rujak), which has its roots in Java, Indonesia, is popular throughout Malaysia and Singapore as well. The sour and hot salad evokes the warmth of Southeast Asia by combining jicama, a root vegetable, bean sprouts, cucumbers, fried tofu, and other ingredients. All of these ingredients are combined with crushed peanuts and tossed in a thick, sweet and sour dressing that is similar in consistency to caramel or mole sauce.
Sai krok Isan, Thailand
One of the most popular street delicacies in northeastern Thailand is sai krok Isan, a short, ripe pork sausage. It is typically made using pork, sticky rice, and garlic and is then hung up to ferment and dry. It is sour and garlicky.
While herbs and spices can differ from one seller to the next, toppings like ginger, chiles, and cabbage usually complete the ideal taste.
Source: CNN Travel