Street food tours of Asia: where to go?

As a continent, Asia has contributed enormously to the world of street food. Its influence is now found everywhere, with Chinese takeaways in every British town and city.

But what we consider Chinese food is barely scratching the surface of what’s on offer. For the travelling foodie, there’s no substitute for visiting the streets of Asia and sampling the real thing.

A street food tour of Asia might be a once-in-a-lifetime expedition. This is the kind of thing that you’ll need to fund with the help of an equity release calculator, or a substantial pile of your savings.

If you’re going to get the most from it, it’s vital that you do a little advance planning, and set out a route that exposes you to the most famous vendors and gastronomic cultures on the continent.


Thailand is a nation whose street food is legendary. Wander around the streets of Bangkok at night, and you’ll come upon an abundance of inexpensive, delicious cuisine. In the city, Monday is usually reserved for cleaning – but the vendors are out on every other day. Look for Pad Thai, and for the local version of satay – which, despite being an import from Indonesia, has taken on a life of its own in Thailand.


This corner of Asia is better known for freshness and aromatics than it is for fermented spices and rich sauces. Expect an abundance of grilled foods and broths, especially in Hanoi and Saigon (which is what everyone still calls Ho Chi Minh City). Pho is the dish of choice – it’s served throughout the day, including at breakfast.


We might associate Japan with sushi, but the truth is that the famous set of islands provides an amazingly diverse array of street food options, some of which aren’t quite as upmarket as the country’s reputation might suggest. Pay a visit to Osaka, where the street food scene is especially impressive.

Takoyaki is a particular favourite, being a ball of batter filled with various seafood, pickled ginger and tempura. Then, of course, there’s the famous Teppanyaki, which is delicious as well as slightly theatrical.


Plan your tour according to your preferences, and to your budget. If you have the budget for it, an extended stay in Japan might appeal – otherwise, it’s probably better to tip the scales toward the mainland, where things are a little bit more affordable!


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