Learn the best of what Asia has to offer with this collection of Asian street foods!
From skewers to dumplings, these street foods represent the diverse cultural identities of Asian countries.
When it comes to street food, Asia is king. If you ask me, I think some of the best Asian dishes are sold on the streets!
Every country in Asia has an abundance of food carts, street vendors, and roadside eateries.
They lure you with the irresistible aromas of cheap eats.
Delicious, affordable, and easy to snack on the go, street foods are intended for busy workers on a budget.
Asian street foods have such bright flavors, textures, and histories.
Foodies from all over the world travel thousands of miles just to have a bite.
Can’t decide which country to visit first? Let this virtual food tour around the streets of Asia help you pick!
Best Asian Street Food
1. Balut (Philippines)
Let’s get the street party started with seemingly harmless eggs with a surprise center.
Warning: you won’t see an egg white and yolk when you crack open a balut.
Instead, you’ll find a duck embryo, complete with the head, eyes, beak, and feathers.
This protein-rich Filipino street food might not be the most well-liked among tourists, but it’s the most popular.
It’s commonly featured in dare games such as Fear Factor.
The balut is one of the most notorious delicacies contestants have to chew and swallow to win a challenge.
2. Isaw – Grilled Chicken/Pork Intestine (Philippines)
In the Philippines, it’s not uncommon to find roadside vendors grilling various meat skewers, the isaw being one of them.
To the unfamiliar eye, there is no way to know what cut or type of meat isaw is made of.
But every Filipino in the world knows that these long, narrow ropes threaded into wooden sticks are chicken intestines.
Isaw is savory, smoky, and slightly sweet, with a tender yet bouncy and chewy texture.
The thought of eating intestines on a stick may not seem appetizing, but you might be surprised at how addictive it is.
3. Fishball (Philippines)
Filipino fishballs are round, deep-fried meatballs with a slightly salty and fishy flavor.
They don’t contain real fish at all, though.
Similar to fishcakes, fishballs are made primarily with a flour-based batter flavored with fish paste.
They’re deep-fried to give them a nice, golden, crispy outer crust.
Fishballs are sold by street peddlers with carts that come with a giant wok for deep-frying.
Customers are given wooden skewers that they can use to thread the fried balls into.
The best part about fishballs, however, aren’t the balls, but the special sauce that comes with them.
Served in a large dippable jar, this sweet, brown sauce is what makes fish balls ridiculously addictive.
Be sure not to double-dip, though!
4. Taho – Filipino Silken Tofu with Pearls and Syrup (Philippines)
Taho features soft, silken tofu mixed with tapioca (boba) pearls and a rich, brown sugar syrup.
A trip to the Philippines is not complete without trying this sweet and hearty breakfast item. Don’t worry, it’s not hard to find.
You’ll always find a taho vendor carrying two jumbo steel cans held together by a wooden plank.
They roam around streets and sidewalks yelling “tahooo!” as early as 4 AM.
Served in a plastic cup, taho is the perfect breakfast on the go for Filipinos who have no time to have a sit-down meal.
5. Takoyaki Grilled Octopus Balls (Japan)
From the Philippines, let’s head over to the land of the rising sun.
Takoyaki is one of Japan’s most popular street food snacks and for good reason.
Meaning “octopus-grilled or fried,” takoyaki is a round dumpling with a slice of octopus in the center.
Apart from the squid, takoyaki balls also contain red pickled ginger and green onion slices for added color and flavor.
The balls are then garnished with a sweet and umami-rich sauce, Japanese mayo, nori (dried seaweed) bits, and dried bonito flakes.
6. Okonomiyaki – Japanese Cabbage Pancake (Japan)
Okonomiyaki is a savory, frittata-like pancake made with flour, eggs, water, and cabbage.
To this, you can add various fillings, such as meats, vegetables, and cheese. The possibilities are endless!
Once everything is mixed together, the batter is then fried on a hot plate, resulting in a crispy and savory treat.
Okonomiyaki is typically served with a variety of condiments such as BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, bonito flakes, and pickled ginger.
These toppings allow you to customize your okonomiyaki experience and make it truly your own.
7. Yakitori – Grilled Chicken Skewers (Jap
Yakitori are pieces of chicken skewered into bamboo sticks and grilled to perfection.
The result is a juicy and flavorful treat that’s impossible to resist.
Because it’s cooked over charcoal, yakitori has a unique flavor that sets it apart from other street foods.
Served with a mouthwatering sweet-savory glaze, this Japanese snack hits the spot.
8. Ikayaki – Japanese Grilled Squid (Japan)
Ikayaki can mean two different dishes in Japan, but they’re both equally delicious.
The word ikayaki generally means grilled squid garnished with soy sauce.
In Osaka, specifically, it usually refers to squid pancake, which is a popular food item in the region.
Grilled pancakes are prepared a-la folded crepes filled with chopped squid.
9. Dango (Japan)
Made from mochiko (sticky mochi flour), dango is a soft and chewy snack that can be enjoyed plain or with various toppings.
It comes in many different flavors including savory and spicy, but the most popular Dango is sweet.
No matter what your favorite flavor is, one thing’s for sure: this street food snack will leave you wanting more and more.
Fun fact: dango is so iconic that it has earned its very own emoji! 🍡
10. Pad See Ew – Flat Noodles Stir-Fried with Soy Sauce (Thailand)
You’re probably familiar with Pad Thai, but what about Pad See Ew?
This Thai dish also features flat noodles, but it’s not as sweet and nutty as its more popular counterpart.
Instead, it is primarily salty but balanced out with a bit of sugar and a smoky, char-grilled flavor.
11. Som Tam – Green Papaya Salad (Thailand)
This next snack will transport you straight to the streets of Thailand!
Som tam is a refreshing salad made with shredded green papaya.
It’s flavored with fish sauce, sugar, tamarind paste, chili peppers, garlic, and lime juice.
This traditional Thai street food is the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and spicy, and will leave your tastebuds tingling.
12. Moo Ping – Grilled Pork Skewers (Thailand)
Like grilled meats and BBQs? You’ll get hooked on moo ping.
It’s grilled marinated pork on a skewer, and every bite is just as addictive as the last.
The key to this street food’s deliciousness is in the marinade, which contains a perfect blend of aromatic herbs and spices.
With its tender, juicy, and flavor-packed pork, moo ping is an irresistible snack you won’t be able to get enough of!
13. Pad Thai – Thai-Style Fried Noodles (Thailand)
Perhaps the most popular Thai street food is pad Thai, a flat, rice noodle dish packed with protein, vegetables, and a special sauce.
Made with tamarind sauce, fish sauce, and garlic, among other things, the sauce gives pad Thai its unique and iconic flavor.
14. Pla Pao – Grilled Fish (Thailand)
Pla pao is a Thai street food snack made with charcoal-grilled fish that’s served on a stick.
The fish is stuffed with lemongrass, infusing it with a strong, herbal flavor.
It’s also encrusted in sea salt before grilling to lock in the fish’s moisture.
It is served with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce, which pairs perfectly with the smokiness of the grilled fish.
15. Xiao Long Bao – Shanghai Soup Dumplings (Hong Kong)
Chinese cuisine features a wide variety of dumplings, and Xiao Long Bao is one of the best ones.
Just like any dumpling, Xiao Long Bao is filled with minced meat and or vegetables.
What makes them extra special is that it’s also filled with a savory, umami-rich broth.
Served with sweet and sour black vinegar, these soup dumplings are wonderfully unique.
16. Siu Mai (Hong Kong)
Another popular Chinese dumpling is the siu mai.
It features ground pork and/or shrimp mixed with shallots, mushrooms, and other vegetables.
Siu mai is wrapped in soft dumpling skins and steamed to perfection.
The dumplings are served with a salty, savory, and spicy dipping sauce for added flavor.
18. Roasted Sweet Potato and Chestnuts (Hong Kong)
You’ll often find this next street food at the corner of a busy street in Hong Kong.
Sold in street carts, the aroma of roasted sweet potatoes and chestnuts never fails to tantalize the tast buds of passersby.
19. Bolo Bao – Pineapple Buns (Hong Kong)
While China and Hong Kong are famous for their savory pork buns, their sweet pineapple buns are also just as phenomenal.
These buns are soft with a crisp and crumbly topping and stuffed with a luscious, golden pineapple filling.
I mean, no wonder this street food from Hong Kong is taking the world by storm!
20. Vada Pav – Indian Potato Slider (Mumbai, India)
Commonly known as an Indian or Bombay burger, vada pav is a slider filled with a deep-fried potato patty.
The slider is often served with chutney, which gives it a nice, zesty kick.
While it’s vegan and gluten-free, even meat lovers can’t get enough of them.
21. Kathi Roll (Kolkata, India)
This dish is made with flaky paratha (Indian flatbread) filled with paneer (cottage cheese), peppers, and caramelized onions.
Think of Kathi roll as India’s version of the burrito.
If you’re looking for a fun, exotic twist to the classic Tex-Mex snack, give this Indian treat a try!
The list of ingredients may be long, but the recipe itself is easy. You’ll be done in just 30 minutes.
22. Kachori (Jaipur, India)
Kachori is stuffed, deep-fried bread that originated in Jaipur, India.
There are several types of kachori fillings, including potatoes, onions, and spices. The most popular one is the moong dal or mung lentils.
The kachori is then fried to perfection and served with a chutney or dipping sauce for the perfect balance of flavors.
23. Akki Roti – Rice Flour Roti (Bangalore, India)
A collection of Asian street foods isn’t complete with a recipe for flatbread. This Indian staple is absolutely a must-try!
Akki roti is a variety of roti that’s made with rice flour, coconut, and vegetables infused with herbs, spices, and seasonings.
While it requires some skill to make akki roti, this recipe will tell you everything you need to know to perfect it on your first try.
24. Chole Bhature (Delhi, India)
Chole bhature is a traditional dish consisting of chickpeas in a spicy curry sauce, served with fried bread.
What’s not to love?
This delicious Indian street food is the perfect mix of flavors and textures, and it’s sure to satisfy even the most discerning eaters.
The best part is that chole bhature is incredibly versatile.
You can enjoy it as a snack or a main meal, and it’s great for both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
25. Achcharu (Sri Lanka)
A Sri Lankan meal is not complete without a side of achcharu!
Made of pickled unripe papaya, achcharu is crunchy and refreshing with the perfect harmony of sweet and sour.
It pairs well with decadent dishes, such as curries and stews, as it balances out their overwhelming flavors.
26. Egg Hoppers (Sri Lanka)
The Sri Lankan egg hoppers are just as fun as they sound!
These thin, bowl-shaped pancakes are made from a batter of rice flour and coconut milk.
They’re traditionally filled with a sunny-side-up egg and spices.
Hoppers are the perfect snack or light meal and are sure to please even the pickiest eaters.
27. Jianbing – Chinese Crepes (China)
Here’s another crepe-based street food you’ll surely fall for!
Jianbing is a popular Chinese snack on the go. It’s a crepe wrap filled with deep-fried crackers, scallions, eggs, and sauces.
The perfect mix of savory and sweet, Jianbing is a unique and flavor-packed experience that you won’t find anywhere else.
It’s not just tasty, but also satisfying and nourishing. So come on and try something new.
28. Jiaozi – Chinese Dumplings (China)
Jiaozi is a half-moon-shaped Chinese dumpling with a savory ground meat or vegetable filling.
Wrapped in dumpling dough and steamed to perfection, jiaozi will fill your mouth with irresistible flavors and textural varieties.
Wrapping or folding the dumplings may be a bit of a challenge, but don’t give up! The reward will be beyond satisfying.
29. Pai Gu Nian Gao – Pork Chop with Rice Cakes (China)
Say hello to pai gu nian gao, the epic Chinese street food that’s making a huge splash in the culinary world.
This tantalizing dish is made with a base of sticky rice topped with a mouthwatering mix of pork, vegetables, and a secret sauce.
It’s the perfect meal for any time of day, and it’s sure to become your new favorite go-to dish.
30. Sate Padang (Indonesia)
Sate Padang is an Indonesian dish made with perfectly seasoned chunks of beef threaded.
They’re onto a stick along with onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers.
The skewers are then grilled to perfection and served with a sweet and savory peanut sauce, giving you a tantalizingly flavorful experience.
31. Martabak – Indonesian Meat & Egg Pancakes (Indonesia)
Martabak is a crunchy Indonesian pancake roll with a typically savory, sometimes sweet, filling.
Just like any wrap, the fun part about the martabak is the wide variety of fillings you can choose from.
From onions and garlic to cheese and even chocolate sauce, this street food will never get old.
32. Phở – Vietnamese Pho Noodles (Vietnam)
There’s nothing quite like a big bowl of steaming hot phở. This traditional Vietnamese street food is the perfect winter meal!
This dish is made with rice noodles, meat, and a rich and savory broth. Warm, soothing, and satisfying, it’s the perfect comfort food.
Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy lunch or a hearty dinner, this dish will hit the spot.
33. Bánh mì – Vietnamese Baguette (Vietnam)
Looking for a new favorite sandwich recipe? Look no further than banh mi!
It’s made with fresh ingredients including meats, vegetables, and herbs, all nestled in a crispy baguette.
The juicy meats, crisp veggies, and zesty herbs all work together to create a flavor explosion you won’t be able to resist.
And because it features fresh ingredients and veggies, this sandwich is nutritious, to boot.
34. Niu Rou Mian – Taiwanese Beef Noodles (Taiwan)
This Taiwanese soup is packed with bouncy noodles, succulent beef, fresh vegetables, and a delectably spicy broth.
Niu Rou Mian stands out from other noodle soups in that it’s slow-cooked for hours to perfection.
This makes the beef outrageously tender, and the broth so full of rich flavor.
35. Gua Bao / Koah Pau – Pork Belly Buns (Taiwan)
Gua bao is a must-eat when visiting Taiwan!
These fluffy buns are filled with delicious braised pork, making for a perfect on-the-go meal.
The braised pork is remarkably sweet and savory, fatty, and so tender it melts in your mouth.
36. Soondae – Korean Blood Sausage (Korea)
Soondae is a popular Korean street food made from pig intestines.
It’s typically made by boiling pig intestines in water.
Then, they’re marinated in a special sauce made with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and other spices.
The intestines are then grilled or fried and served with rice and vegetables.
If you’re looking for something unique, soondae definitely fits the bill.
37. Tteokbokki – Spicy Stir-fried Rice Cakes (Korea)
Capping off this collection is my personal favorite Korean street food.
Tteokbokki consists of rice cakes covered in a sweet and spicy chili sauce.
The rice cakes are soft yet wonderfully chewy, like a less sticky version of mochi.
There are many reasons why tteokbokki is gaining so much attention from the rest of the world.
First, it’s hearty and filling. Secondly, the combination of sweet and spicy flavors makes it wildly addictive. Third, it’s easy to eat on the go!
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