Beyond sight-seeing and unwinding, indulging in authentic local cuisine is another way of experiencing the best of what travel has to offer. Most travellers have an adventurous palate, so here are the top 5 food streets in Asia to discover local food upon your arrival.
Hustling through Warorot Market
The lush rainforests of Chiang Mai is a tranquil alternative to its famous brother, Bangkok. Flavours deviate slightly from Central and Southern Thailand, with the heavy use of fresh herbs from its vast vegetation. The illustrious multi-storey Warorot market draws Bangkokians 700 kilometres up north who travel the extra miles just to appease their food cravings! Don’t forget to indulge in dishes like Chiang Mai's signature snack, Sai Ua (grilled minced pork sausage stuffed with countless savoury herbs and spices) and Nam Prik Noom (fiery and fibrous green chilli wet sauce dip). Try Damrong, a 42-year-old Sai Ua store with a snaking queue and Jae Hong for peppery premium Nam Prik Noom.
The allure of Juhu Beach
A favourite destination of Bollywood filmmakers for its scenic coastal landscape, Juhu beach is also a paradise filled with mouth-watering local street snacks. After enjoing the sun and the surf in the dreamy Arabian Sea (you might encounter a dreamy celebrity or chance upon a Bollywood film shoot), make a pit stop at the beach shacks. It's the perfect place to try the complete selection offered exclusively in Mumbai. A must-try is the unique Pav Bhaji. Using only palm wine to ferment the dough, this buttery herb-flavoured carb staple encapsulates the history of the city. Do also try Bhel Puri, a savoury vegetable puffed rice snack topped with tangy tamarind sauce. Every Juhu Bhel Puri seller has his own classified blend, tasting different yet delicious.
In contrast to bustling Jakarta, the cool-weathered Bandung is populated with Sundanese, who have a preference for rich and full-flavoured tastes which sets the bar for the city's street food. When in Cibadak, make a visit to the Chinatown food street, where local delights guarantee to thrill your taste buds. A trip to Indonesia is never complete without trying juicy satay. Known by locals as Sate Babi, it's a must to have Sate Manis (pork in sweet soy sauce), and Buntel (minced pork in fatty membrane). Pair these delectable skewers with some refreshing Soto Bandung, relishing the light clear beef broth with daikon. The subtle seasoning of lemongrass and ginger is a refreshing touch!
Joy on Jonker Street
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Malacca’s illustrious Peranakan culture is a food haven. Be warned, you will be spoilt for choice in deciding the town's champion dish! Nyonya-style cooking is prominent, fusing ingredients from both the Malay and Chinese cuisines. Malaccan Nyonya food emphasises on spices and coconut milk, resulting in an appetising and wholesome taste. Map your way through the traffic-heavy Jonker Street where a massive range of Nyonya goodies awaits and head to Jonker 88 for some Nyonya Assam Laksa. This spicy tamarind-based broth has sardine flakes and thick glass noodles as excellent accompaniments. Wander off in the popular stretch to a hidden find: East & West Rendezvous! This exotic locale conjures a mean bowl of Chendol, a traditional dessert with a memorable candied and creamy texture using Gula Melaka (palm sugar) and fresh coconut milk!
Enjoy delicacies at Jalan Besar
Jalan Besar, a street in the Kallang district, is home to traditional food hawkers for many decades. At Berseh Food Centre, a rare delicacy can be found: Lao Liang’s pork trotter jelly. This brownish, chewy dish is formed with gelatin and meat formed at low temperatures. The accompanying spicy and tangy dip is a must in elevating its flavour! Round the corner is the famed Sungei Road Laksa. Ingredients such as coconut milk and cockles differentiate itself from the Nyonya style cooking. The addition of briny dried shrimps and aromatic laksa leaves provide a much-needed flavour boost.
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