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18 Must-Try Street Foods You Gotta Try On Your Asian Tour

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A once-in-a-lifetime gastronomic exploration is one of the biggest — and best — parts of touring a new place. From five-star Michelin restaurants to the most affordable street food delights in alleyways, there’s always something new to discover when trying out a new cuisine in a foreign country.

There’s no denying that some of the best food in the world comes straight out of Asia. If you’re going on a tour of the continent or even just visiting one or two countries, here are 18 must-try culinary gems and street foods you cannot miss out on:

Tokyo, Japan: Sushi Galore in Tsukiji Fish Market

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Dive into the heart of Japanese culinary culture by wandering through the bustling Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. Here, you’ll find an array of fresh seafood straight from the ocean, including the world-famous tuna auctions.

After exploring the market’s vibrant stalls and witnessing the artistry of sushi chefs at work, indulge in a sushi breakfast at one of the many sushi bars lining the market’s periphery. Whether you prefer delicate slices of sashimi or meticulously crafted nigiri, Tsukiji offers a sushi experience like no other.

Seoul, South Korea: Night Market Feasting in Myeongdong

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Myeongdong in Seoul comes alive at night with a tantalizing array of street food stalls offering a fusion of traditional Korean flavors and contemporary twists. Wander through the bustling streets and sample classics like tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), hotteok (sweet pancakes filled with honey or brown sugar), and Korean fried chicken.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes) or gyeran-bbang (egg bread) from the vendors lining the streets. Myeongdong’s vibrant atmosphere and diverse culinary offerings make it a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts.

Bangkok, Thailand: Flavors of the Floating Markets

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Explore the enchanting floating markets of Bangkok, where vendors sell fresh produce, aromatic spices, and delicious street food from boats navigating the city’s waterways. Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and bustling energy as you sample traditional Thai dishes like pad thai, tom yum goong (spicy shrimp soup), and mango sticky rice.

Be sure to try grilled seafood skewers, coconut ice cream, and refreshing fruit juices as you meander through the labyrinth of canals. The floating markets offer a unique opportunity to experience Thailand’s rich culinary heritage in a picturesque setting.

Hanoi, Vietnam: Pho Adventures in the Old Quarter

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Embark on a culinary journey through the historic streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where the aroma of simmering broth and fresh herbs fills the air. Sample Vietnam’s national dish, pho, at one of the many street-side stalls serving up steaming bowls of fragrant noodle soup topped with tender slices of beef or chicken.

Don’t forget to try other Vietnamese specialties like banh mi (French-inspired baguette sandwiches) and bun cha (grilled pork with vermicelli noodles). Wash it all down with a glass of ca phe trung (Vietnamese egg coffee) for the perfect balance of sweet and bitter flavors.

Singapore: Hawker Center Heaven

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Experience the culinary melting pot of Singapore at its iconic hawker centers, where you’ll find a dizzying array of dishes representing the city-state’s diverse cultural heritage. From Malay satay to Chinese dim sum and Indian curry, hawker centers offer a feast for the senses. Be sure to try signature dishes like Hainanese chicken rice, laksa (spicy coconut noodle soup), and chili crab for a true taste of Singaporean cuisine.

With countless stalls to choose from, each offering its own unique specialties, Singapore’s hawker centers promise an unforgettable gastronomic adventure.

Taipei, Taiwan: Night Market Extravaganza

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Dive into Taipei’s vibrant street food scene at one of its many night markets, where you’ll find a dizzying array of local delicacies and exotic treats. From the iconic stinky tofu to xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and oyster omelets, night markets offer a feast for adventurous foodies.

Don’t miss out on Taiwanese favorites like gua bao (steamed pork buns), beef noodle soup, and bubble tea. With vendors cooking up a storm right before your eyes, Taipei’s night markets are a paradise for those craving bold flavors and culinary excitement.

Manila, Philippines: Street Food Galore in Quiapo and Binondo

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Dive into the vibrant street food scene of Manila, where the historic districts of Quiapo and Binondo offer a tantalizing array of Filipino delicacies. Begin your culinary adventure with balut, a fertilized duck embryo boiled and eaten straight from the shell, or indulge in isaw, grilled chicken or pork intestines skewered on bamboo sticks and dipped in vinegar.

Don’t miss out on Filipino favorites like adobo, a savory stew of meat marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and spices, or halo-halo, a colorful dessert of shaved ice, fruits, beans, and sweet preserves topped with evaporated milk and ice cream. With its bustling streets and diverse culinary offerings, Manila promises a taste of authentic Filipino flavors amidst its historic landmarks and bustling markets.

Mumbai, India: Chaotic Charm of Chowpatty Beach

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Explore the chaotic charm of Mumbai’s iconic Chowpatty Beach, where street vendors serve up a tantalizing array of Indian snacks and sweets against the backdrop of the Arabian Sea. Indulge in classics like pav bhaji (spicy vegetable mash served with buttered bread rolls), bhel puri (puffed rice salad), and vada pav (potato fritter sandwiches).

Satisfy your sweet tooth with traditional treats like jalebi (deep-fried syrupy spirals) and kulfi (creamy frozen desserts). As the sun sets over the horizon, join locals and tourists alike in savoring the flavors of Mumbai’s vibrant street food scene.

Beijing, China: Dumpling Delights in Wangfujing Snack Street

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Venture into the heart of Beijing’s bustling Wangfujing Snack Street, where vendors hawk an eclectic mix of Chinese street food favorites, with dumplings taking center stage. Whether you prefer steamed, fried, or boiled, there’s a dumpling to suit every palate, from pork and chive to shrimp and mushroom.

Explore the maze of stalls offering everything from spicy Sichuan noodles to crispy scallion pancakes and savory jianbing (Chinese crepes). Wash it all down with a refreshing glass of freshly squeezed sugar cane juice for the perfect culinary adventure in the heart of Beijing.

Penang, Malaysia: Spice Paradise at Gurney Drive

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Embark on a culinary journey through the flavors of Penang at Gurney Drive, where hawker stalls line the waterfront promenade, offering an irresistible array of Malaysian delights. Feast on Penang laksa, a tangy noodle soup with fish broth and tamarind, or indulge in char kway teow, stir-fried flat rice noodles with prawns, cockles, and Chinese lap cheong sausage.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try otak-otak, spicy fish cakes wrapped in banana leaves, or cendol, a refreshing dessert of shaved ice, coconut milk, and pandan-flavored jelly. Gurney Drive’s vibrant atmosphere and diverse culinary offerings make it a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts.

Kyoto, Japan: Tempura Temples and Tea Houses

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Immerse yourself in the culinary traditions of Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, where temples, tea houses, and traditional ryokan inns offer a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage. Indulge in crispy tempura, lightly battered and deep-fried seafood and vegetables, at one of Kyoto’s renowned tempura restaurants.

Pair your meal with a cup of matcha tea and savor wagashi, delicate Japanese sweets made from mochi, red bean paste, and seasonal ingredients. From kaiseki ryori (traditional multi-course meals) to tofu kaiseki and yudofu (hot pot tofu), Kyoto offers a diverse range of culinary experiences amidst its serene temples and gardens.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Roti Canai and Nasi Lemak Adventures

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Explore the vibrant flavors of Malaysian cuisine in Kuala Lumpur, where street stalls and hawker centers beckon with tantalizing aromas and exotic spices. Start your culinary adventure with roti canai, flaky flatbread served with a side of curry sauce for dipping, or indulge in nasi lemak, Malaysia’s national dish of coconut rice served with sambal, fried anchovies, peanuts, and boiled eggs.

Don’t miss out on other Malaysian favorites like satay skewers, beef rendang, and assam laksa, a tangy fish-based noodle soup. With its multicultural influences and diverse culinary offerings, Kuala Lumpur is a paradise for food lovers.

Hong Kong: Dim Sum Delights in Central

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Dive into the culinary paradise of Hong Kong’s Central district, where traditional tea houses and dim sum parlors serve up an array of steamed, fried, and baked delicacies. Indulge in classics like har gow (shrimp dumplings), siu mai (pork dumplings), and char siu bao (barbecue pork buns) as you sip on fragrant Chinese tea.

Don’t forget to try other dim sum favorites like cheung fun (rice noodle rolls), turnip cake, and custard buns. With its bustling atmosphere and endless variety of dishes, Central offers a quintessential dim sum experience that’s not to be missed.

Chiang Mai, Thailand: Northern Thai Street Food Delights

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Discover the bold and flavorful cuisine of northern Thailand in the bustling streets of Chiang Mai, where street vendors dish out spicy curries, aromatic soups, and grilled meats. Sample khao soi, a coconut curry noodle soup topped with crispy fried noodles, or indulge in sai ua, northern Thai sausage bursting with herbs and spices.

Don’t miss out on other regional specialties like gaeng hanglay (pork belly curry) and nam prik ong (spicy tomato dip served with vegetables). With its rich culinary heritage and vibrant street food scene, Chiang Mai offers a taste of authentic Thai flavors.

Busan, South Korea: Seafood Extravaganza at Jagalchi Market

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Dive into the world of seafood at Jagalchi Market, South Korea’s largest fish market located in the port city of Busan. Explore the market’s vibrant stalls piled high with freshly caught fish, squid, octopus, and other marine delicacies. Indulge in raw fish dishes like hoe (sliced raw fish) or sannakji (live octopus) for a truly adventurous dining experience.

Check out other seafood specialties like grilled eel, seafood pancakes, and spicy seafood stew. With its bustling atmosphere and endless array of fresh seafood, Jagalchi Market is a paradise for seafood lovers.

Yangon, Myanmar: Mandalay Noodles and Tea Shops

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Experience the flavors of Myanmar in the bustling streets of Yangon, where tea shops and noodle stalls abound. Start your culinary journey with a bowl of Mandalay meeshay, rice noodles tossed in a savory pork and tomato sauce, or indulge in mohinga, a fragrant fish noodle soup considered Myanmar’s national dish.

Wash it all down with a cup of sweet Myanmar tea or lahpet yay (fermented tea leaf salad), a traditional Burmese delicacy. With its diverse culinary influences and rich flavors, Yangon offers a taste of authentic Myanmar cuisine amidst its bustling streets and markets.

Delhi, India: Spice Bazaar and Street Food Wonders

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Dive into the vibrant culinary scene of Delhi, where the narrow lanes of Old Delhi’s spice bazaar lead to an array of street food delights. Explore the bustling markets of Chandni Chowk and Khari Baoli, where vendors hawk everything from fragrant spices to mouthwatering snacks.

Indulge in classics like paratha stuffed with spicy potato filling, chole bhature (spicy chickpea curry with fried bread), and golgappa (crispy hollow puris filled with spicy water). Don’t miss out on sweets like jalebi, rabri, and kulfi for a truly indulgent experience in the heart of India’s capital.

Osaka, Japan: Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki Street Stalls

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Experience the lively street food scene of Osaka, Japan’s culinary capital, where takoyaki and okonomiyaki stalls line the bustling streets. Indulge in crispy octopus balls drizzled with savory sauce and mayonnaise, or savor the flavors of okonomiyaki, a savory pancake filled with cabbage, seafood, and meat, topped with a sweet and tangy sauce.

Don’t miss out on other Osaka specialties like kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers), yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), and taiyaki (fish-shaped cakes filled with sweet fillings). With its lively atmosphere and diverse culinary offerings, Osaka promises a gastronomic adventure like no other.

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