Nothing comes close to an affordable, exotic, and authentic Asian experience as sampling the regionâ€™s street food. Whether they are baked, grilled, fried, or steamed, these commonerâ€™s culinary creations may be remade into expensive and pretentious entrees at elite restaurants, but we all know the best-tasting of these simple dishes come from the humble street hawkers of appreciative Asian cities.
Here are a few samples of Asian street food for you to savor.
Stinky Tofu â€“ smelly, spicy, and addictive, this odiferous variant of soya bean curd comes drenched in soy sauce. The stench comes from the curd being marinated for months in a brine of fermented milk, vegetables, and meat. Stinky tofu is popular in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, where it is called by its Mandarin name chou doufu.
Peanut Candy Crepe â€“ this Taiwanese snack starts out as a big block of peanut candy on top of the food stall. The hawker shaves the top of the block, then sprinkles the peanut shavings over a Chinese-style spring roll wrapping and rolls the combination up together with coriander leaves prior to serving.
Green Mangoes - sour in taste, these unripe fruits are peeled right in front of you by the hawkers in Manila, Philippines. It is traditionally skewered on a stick, stored in a jar filled with brine, and dipped in bagoong (shrimp paste) before being handed to eager customers.
Onigiri- steamed rice shaped into triangles or ovals, filled with various ingredients from tuna to vegetables, and wrapped in edible seaweed called nori. The Akihabara district in Tokyo, Japan has a neat take-out store which serves this authentic Japanese treat.
Takoyaki â€“ fried octopus dumplings originating from Japan, made with octopus parts, shredded cabbage, and batter. They are cooked in half-spherical grooves around a metal pan until they fluff up, and are served with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, wasabi, and seaweed. Hungry for more? Read more about Japanese Street foods.
Saakoo – in Bangkok, Thailand, these snacks are prepared from rice flour “pancakes” that are wrapped around a small bit of pork filling, dried shrimp, peanuts, and shrimp paste. These morsels are then wrapped with lettuce leaves and spiced up with coriander and tiny green chilis.
Satay - barbecued meat on sticks, served with rice cakes, spice peanut sauce, onion and cucumber slices. These skewered tidbits are popular in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Pho - thin rice noodles in hot beef broth, served in most hole-in-the-wall food establishments in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Toppings may include beef slices, onion bits, bean sprouts, and other garnishes.
Gimbap â€“ provided by pojangmacha (Korean street vendors), this convenient and nutritious meal is made by spreading a layer of cooked rice over a square piece of seaweed. The rice is topped with thin slices of ham, crab meat, cucumber, and other assorted ingredients, then rolled into a tube, sliced into bite-sized portions, and finally sprinkled with sesame seeds.
If you’re suspect the hygienic standards of these street hawkers, then go to the nearest mall food court. There, they serve the same street food with better food quality while keeping prices affordable for the on-the-go food lover.