Where in the world is the best street food? Well, a lot of it is in Asia, where there is no stigma against pedestrian consumption and a perpetual plethora of choices. AFAR Deputy Editor Jen Murphy compiles a Wanderlist with great tips for eating like a local all over the world.
The coast of Cambodia, in particular the tiny seaside town of Kep, has some of the best seafood in Southeast Asia. At Kep's famous crab market you'll find a row of humble seafood shacks selling the day's catch. The most best of the bunch, Kim Ly's, has insanely good fried crab seasoned with local pepper. Out front of the shacks, locals sell all types of seafood, from whole fish to squid, grilled on skewers. <em>--Jen Murphy</em>
Sugarcane juice is a popular drink on the streets of India. It's the perfect thirst quencher on a hot day. When I was in Calcutta I was mesmerized as I watched vendors, like the one above, extract juice by pushing raw sugar cane through a traditional wheel press. The old-school juicer looks like a whirling pin wheel as the vendor pushes the cane through. The vendor passes the cane through the press at least a half dozen or so times, extracting every bit of juice and the wheel gets harder to turn as the cane dries out. The final cup of sugarcane juice gets served with ginger or lime. Make sure you ask them to hold the ice. <em>--Jen Murphy</em>
Every bowl of soup I ate on the streets in Bangkok was insanely cheap and incredibly delicious. The best way to find great street food in Bangkok? Walk a few feet and you'll practically fall over it. Stop where it smells good and people are lined up. Then smile, point, and enjoy. <em>--Christina</em>
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Vietnam. Having traveled 19 hours to get there I figured I would make the very most of my trip and I tasked myself with eating only local food. This street vendor was my first foray into that adventure. The experience stretched far beyond the culinary and became a bonding experience not only for myself and my travel partners but also for the locals. They were so thrilled to show us their local traditions and foods and were quick to tell us that their preparations and ingredients were the best in Vietnam. They clapped when we loved the food, laughed when we found something too spicy and taught us more than any travel manuel ever could. It was a positively amazing experience and even just looking at this photo makes my mouth water. <em>--Jennifer Felix</em>
Around lunchtime, near the back door of the Sri Yan market, you’ll see Lan Taw Toon set up her array of simple treats—shaved ice, palm sugar, and coconut cream with a variety of colorful toppings. She has been making the same old-fashioned Bangkok dessert for 47 years. Thanon Sri Yan, just behind the Sri Yan market. <em>--Tanongsak “Dtong” Yordwai</em> <em>This story appeared in the May/June 2010 issue. Photo by Martin Westlake. <a href="http://www.afar.com/highlights/tanongsak-dtong-yordwais-bangkok">See all of Tanongsak “Dtong” Yordwai’s favorite places in Dusit, Bangkok</a>.</em>
Food is an obsession in Singapore, and eating here is like a sport. When Singapore's king of hawker food, K.F. Seetoh, takes you on a food crawl, you know you're in for a serious challenge. Our first of 5 food center stops was Old Airport Road hawker center for the prawn noodle soup (studded with cuts of pig's tails that are eaten like corn on the cob) at stand #01-98, Whitley Rd Brig Prawn Noodle. <em>--Jen Murphy</em>
When I asked some locals where to eat late night I was directed to the Lavender Street Food Court. I passed on the turtle soup and instead feasted on dim sum and the famous Singapore chilli crab. <em>--Jen Murphy</em>