select - Asian Street Food

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Dining in the street allows you to explore the food that ordinary folk enjoy, and to soak up the neighbourhood atmosphere. Here are some of the best Asian street eats.

 

Bangkok

From spicy curries from a street vendor to fresh tropical fruit at a local market, there’s no doubt that informal dining is one of Bangkok’s greatest assets. Noodles are the standard snack, commonly served with egg, bean sprouts, ground peanuts, and lime juice, with strips of beef or chicken to taste. Night markets keep going until the small hours of the morning; just the spot if you wake up in the middle of the night craving some banana fritters in sweetened coconut cream. And not all of the city’s culinary delights are found on dry land. Take to the floating markets of the canals and find kitchens drifting past offering crispy fried noodles with shrimp, coconut custard cooked in a miniature pumpkin, or various cakes of glutinous rice wrapped in neat banana-leaf parcels.


WHERE
Surawong and Silom Roads are good places for street food, while the best night markets are Pratunam Market and Suan Lum Night Bazaar.


WHY
Bangkok is one of the culinary capitals of Asia, and its street food is outstanding and ubiquitous: eat up.


HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has triple daily flights from Doha to Bangkok.

 


Ho Chi Mihn City

Pull up a diminutive plastic chair and hunker down at the roadside: Vietnam’s street stalls are rightly famous and a traveller’s experience par excellence. Dishes to try include everything from chicken and mushroom soup to pancakes or seasoned beef with peanut sauce wrapped in leaves, all washed down with freshly squeezed sugar cane juice or a cold beer. Sandwiches combining baguettes with Vietnamese sausage, or pickled vegetables, and rice dishes with chicken or shrimp, are other local favourites. But nothing beats the Vietnamese obsession with what amounts to its national dish, pho, mostly enjoyed for breakfast but found at any time of the day or night. The soup contains rice noodles in beef stock and is garnished to taste with meat, fresh chilli, and herbs: just point and you have the perfect stomach filler.


WHERE
The many eateries and street stalls around Ben Thanh Market in Dong Khoi.


WHY
Ho Chi Minh City has the best food in Vietnam, and its street eats are one of the most rewarding ways to enjoy it.


HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has daily flights from Doha to Ho Chi Minh City (three via Bangkok).

 


Bali

If you’re after a quick and inexpensive meal in Bali, look no farther than its kaki lima or small hand carts, whose owners are adept at whipping up an instant meal, from duck egg omelettes to deep-fried chicken or sweet pancakes oozing condensed milk or chocolate sauce. Fried rice or fried noodles are the staples; Sumatran padang food featuring spicy meat stews are also common.


WHERE
The ubiquitous kaki lima carts line busy roads, bus stations, and markets all across the island.


WHY
Quick, easy, and filling, street dining in Bali is never short of hearty flavours and the warm smiles of snack stall owners.


HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has daily flights from Doha to Bali via Singapore.

 


Hong Kong

The best way to try Hong Kong’s superb cuisine isn’t exactly on the street but in open-fronted eateries billowing steam and loud chatter. Hop from one to another and you can try everything from bowls of cheap beef noodles or fish congee to the most elegant of dim sum snacks featuring sautéed fresh lobster, abalone, and baked stuffed crab. Then wander off the main drags and into back-alley markets where you can tuck into chicken’s feet or fish ball soup at a street stall. You might also investigate herbal tea, brewed for hours into strange concoctions that locals swear is cooling and good for the lungs. Not enough? Hong Kong also has a month-long Wine & Dine Festival featuring 150 street stalls set up by top city restaurants. Street food has never been better.


WHERE
The bustling district of Wan Chai, east of Central on Hong Kong Island is among the best in the city for cheap eats.


WHY
Long, leisurely dim sum snacking is legendary here, with an almost endless variety of quality dishes to choose from.


HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has daily flights from Doha to Hong Kong.

 


Singapore

Choices, choices. If you’re in the mood for Chinese, try Hainan chicken, a lunchtime special of poached chicken with a light sauce of soy and sesame oil, served with rice. If it’s Malaysian food you want, what better than a spicy coconut laksa or fabled chilli crab? And if Indian food tempts, you can always indulge in murtabak, a dish of meat and curry served on top of roti bread. There are dozens of hawker centres all around Singapore, such as those on Bugis Street, Newton Circus, Maxwell Road, and the aptly nicknamed Food Street (actually Smith Street) in Chinatown. Clarke Quay has a hawker centre where you can sit at the tables along the riverbank and admire the view; the satay here is particularly wonderful, barbecued over charcoal, and served with peanut and chilli sauce.


WHERE
Many hawker centres are concentrated around MRT train stations such as Yishun, Bukit Batok, and Pasir Ris.


WHY
Scrupulous hygiene, bargain prices, and an enticing blend of Chinese, Malay, and Indian snacks make street food in Singapore among the world’s best.


HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has twice daily flights from Doha to Singapore.

 


Kuala Lumpur

Street stalls dishing up local snacks are omnipresent in KL, tempting passers-by with beef jerky, satay chicken, banana fritters, and tropical juices. But the best place for a meal is Chinatown, where food stalls glow under neon lights to the sound of sizzling woks. Squat under the old arcades while skyscraper lights glitter above and tuck into chilli crab.


WHERE
You can find them anywhere, but the biggest congregation of street stalls lies along Jalan Petaling near its intersection with Jalan Sultan in Chinatown.


WHY
With Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences on its cuisine, Kuala Lumpur’s street food is among Asia’s finest.


HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has twice daily flights from Doha to Kuala Lumpur.

 
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