When it comes to street food there is not a continent that can even hold a candle to Asia, well maybe Central America. Bustling markets, weird snacks, hawkers, and the sights, sounds, and smells that are enough to drive any foodie mad. Asia has it all.
Now, I also realize Asia is a bloody big place, so for this article, I am going to be ignoring the Indian sub-continent, and the middle-east, both of which deserve their own specific ones.
Here in my mind are the top 5 places in Asia to get your street food on.
5) Cebu City – The Philippines
Am I being serious? Yes, I am, now whilst the cuisine of the Philippines is not exactly earth shattering when it comes to Street Dining they cook up a storm. Filipino BBQ is some of the best I have had in the world, and then, of course, there is balut. To qualify for great street food, you need some weird shit. Cebu City is the most famous place for Street Food in the Philippines (they were even featured on Netflix). The outdoor food court near Mango square is my favorite street food place in the Philippines.
4) Dandong (and China in general)
China could well have its own top 5 places to eat street food (I will probably write that too). Street food is life in China, well all manner weird stuff I like, but most importantly kao rou (BBQ), and mala tang. China doesn’t really do bars, if you want to get your drink on with friends, you do it at BBQ. Dandong is my favorite for many reasons, but I find the BBQ here fairly unbeatable, and I often have it within view of North Korea, with North Korean friends. Can’t say fairer than that.
3) Hong Kong – Hong Kong
Street food in Hong Kong has Michelin stars man! Here it is all about boiled fish balls, hot-dogs, and a bunch of other weird stuff I do not even understand. My stand out place for street food in Hong Kong is in Wan Chai on Lockhart Road. Maybe it is probably because i’m half cut when I eat here, but a few beers and great street food drenched in mustard is a great way to spend a Sunday.
2) Macau – Macao
Macao has frankly amazing street food. You can read about Macao street food in more detail here, such as where to go, but not only do they also have Michelin starred establishments, but it is very eclectic. In central Taipa, you can get a huge piece of lobster for a few dollars on the street, and then there are the mozzarella filled fish balls in curry sauce. This is by far the best street food dish I have ever tried.
1) Hanoi – Vietnam
Vietnam is another place that could, and probably will get its own street food article. Hue, and Cao Bang certainly deserve an honorable mention, but Hanoi is where it’s at. Head to the old town of Hanoi late at night, beer costs 10 cents a glass, and you cook your own meat in butter. That is right butter. French colonial rule might not be remembered that fondly, but they at least helped a lot with the food. Escargot, foes gras sandwiches, and bun cha, the list could go on and on. The old town also offers one of the best nights out there is in Vietnam.
So there’s top Asia tips from a top street guy. What would be in your top 5?
Gareth Johnson is the founder of Young Pioneer Tours, a published writer, and all round entrepreneur. He enjoys street food, and encourage others to get paid to travel the world.