Thinking about planning a sneaky trip to Asia? Wondering where and how you might find the best food on offer here? Look no further than on the street!
Asia is an exciting and eye-opening place! Sizzling woks and aromatic broths being conjured up by talented locals on every corner!
In short, street food in Asia is what food dreams are made of! So go on and treat your taste buds to a holiday of their own.
Our number one tip in finding these culinary magicians at work is to find the cart/stall serving street foods in Asia with the longest line of locals waiting for their lunch or dinner. In other words, the longer the line, the better the meal will be. Trust us, we’ve waited in many queues for an amazing meal and we don’t regret a minute of it.
Here are our Top 5 Best Street Foods in Asia:
1. Thailand – Spicy stir-fried pork with Chili & Thai holy basil (Pad Krapow Moo)
Locals often eat this meal at breakfast time. Fluffy steamed white rice is served topped with fresh stir-fried pork. Deliciously seasoned and mixed with a heap of chilli, garlic and holy basil.
However, the best bit is the deep fried egg with the crispy edges served on top of the whole dish. The fried egg goes fantastic with this dish as it takes some heat off the chilli. And it seems to create the perfect balance of flavours in your mouth. This is a great dish to start the day.
Top 5 Best Street Foods in Asia – Spicy stir-fried pork with chilli and Thai holy basil
2. Indonesia – Satay Chicken Skewers
Apparently, the secret to a delicious satay chicken skewer is on the bbq grill. In short, these skewers are constructed using pieces of chicken thigh meat threaded onto a skewer, delicately marinated and slowly cooked over coals, turned regularly. Definitely on the best street foods in Asia to try.
But our favourite is the chicken bits that were charcoaled just a little too much. The sugars from the marinade caramelize and give a delicious crunch to the outer bits. Once cooked, a home-made satay dipping sauce is often served to accompany the skewers. Bliss!
Top 5 Best Street Foods in Asia – Satay Chicken Skewers
3. Vietnam – Beef noodles (Phở bò)
This is probably the most popular Street Food dish in Vietnam. In fact, it would be the most commonly known Vietnamese dish outside Vietnam too. And with good reason. It is simply delicious!
We’ve heard tales of the soup broths for this dish bubble away on the hob for days until the balance of flavours is just perfect.
The best Pho is served in a big bowl filled with fresh noodles covered in soup. Thinly sliced pieces of beef are layered just on top so the heat of the broth instantly cooks it to perfection.
The dish is commonly served with a plate of fresh vietnamese mint, fresh cut limes, chilli and crisp bean shoots. As a result, it is a winner at any time of the day!
Top 5 Best Street Foods in Asia – Pho is the ultimate dish in Vietnam
4. Malaysia – Beef Rendang
A sure way to enjoy a satisfying meal is this reliable little number from Malaysia. Sold from street carts and side stalls, you cannot mistake the aroma of this amazing dish when little ladies lift the lids off their pots of goodness ticking away. One of our personal favourites on this list of the best street foods in Asia.
Created using chunky cuts of beef, mixed with a thick gravy of fresh spices and coconut, it’s our idea of food heaven. Beef Rendang is often served with a side of peanuts, dried anchovies, a fried egg, crunchy cucumber pieces and fresh sambal.
Order a freshly cooked Roti bread and use it to soak up this delicious gravy!
We stay at the same little boutique guesthouse each time we visit Bangkok, and the thing that excites me the most about returning to Bangkok is getting to visit my ‘chicken soup lady’ located down the road from our guesthouse.
She is there every day without fail between the hours of 0700-1200. If it’s been a really busy day she serves until she runs out of food. She changes it up occasionally between using chicken, pork and sometimes fish balls but the elements of her dish are always the same. The soup or broth is consistently delicious.
The noodles are always freshly rolled in a perfectly sized portion, still lightly coated in the flour used to hand make them that morning before she quickly blanches them in boiling water for an order. She adds the same amount of carefully chopped spring onions and crunchy bean shoots to the bowl and you are free to add extra sauces, seasonings, fresh herbs and chilli flakes to match your taste.
The protein of the day is always braised and is falling off the bone which gives the bowl of noodles the touch of love and care that you so often crave on long trips away from home.
When we mentioned waiting in queues at the beginning of this post when searching for best street foods in Asia. We had this little lady in mind. Locals line up for their entire lunch break to get a bowl of noodles from her.
We’ve noticed her prices haven’t gone up for the past 4 years either. At 35 THB or about USD $1.00, she is someone who definitely cooks for the love of it.
Top 5 Best Street Foods in Asia – Thai Soup
Love street foods in Asia?
Firstly, if you love good food and enjoyed this post about the top 5 best street foods in Asia, please share it. You might also be interested in some delicious food tours or cooking classes in South East Asia. In that case, see our Food Tours page where we recommend some fantastic food experiences.
Travelling around South East Asia? In short, we use booking.com to book the cheapest accommodation in Asia.
Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 187 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.