Asian street food has increasingly been making their mark beyond the region, like in the video below, which shows Burmese street food being served at New York’s Queens Night Market. And since street food is everywhere, especially in Asia, we’ve put together the best of the region’s offerings, based off the locals’ most popular, go-to affordable grub.
While the price may be appealing and the authenticity tempting, street food in Cambodia comes with its hazards, mostly in the form of food poisoning. However, by taking a few cautious steps, such as heading to stalls that are surrounded by crowds of Cambodians and ensuring your food is piping hot when it’s served, this can pretty much be avoided.
One of Cambodia’s most popular street food offering is grilled pork on skewers. There are usually two kinds of skewers; one is served with pickle salad and vegetables, together with rice, and the other is packed with herbs and condiments. The former is a prominent breakfast for locals, while the latter is a popular on-the-go snack.
Mont Lin Ma Yar is affectionately translated as the couple snack (or husband and wife snack), because its two halves are grilled separately to golden-brown perfection and then combined into a single round bite-sized ball of quail eggs, chickpeas and a dash of pepper. It is sold in tens for about K300-500 (less than $0.50) around the city, with varied toppings.
Khanom Bueang is a sweet snack found all over Thailand and its history dates back 600 years to the Ayuttya Period. The batter is made using rice flour, pea flour, some palm sugar, eggs, water and a pinch of salt. Once the rounds are brown and super-crisp, they are topped with an egg white and coconut sugar mixture that is whipped until stiff (resembling meringue), or a mixture of dried shrimp, and both grated coconut as well as egg yolk, called foi thong (golden strands), with chopped coriander finishing it off.
Another local favourite is boat noodles, or guay teow rhua, which was traditionally sold by vendors who paddled down Thailand’s many canals in boats. Today, boat noodles is served with morning glory, pork blood, bean sprouts and pieces of pork or beef, in small bowls, which allow customers to order several servings, to try different meat and noodle combinations.
The same foods repeat themselves almost everywhere in Malaysia, and most often reliably. Penang street food (or hawker food) reflects the multicultural makeup of the town, which has citizens of Chinese, Malay and Indian descent.
Assam laksa is more commonly known as Penang laksa and it is spicy, sour, minty and fragrant at the same time. The fiercely contrasting flavours of its fish broth, which is cooked with fishy mackerel, sour tamarind and fiery chili – come together in a perfect balance. It’s served with chewy and soft white noodles and garnished with fresh mint, shallot, cilantro, cucumber and sweet pineapple.
Credit: Jonathan Lin
Featured image credit: ninara