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Best street food?

laurie Sep 25, 2006 02:12 AM

Okay all you intrepid Hounds, I know you've traveled the world in search of good chow. What is some of the best street food you've ever eaten? I might just plan my next trip based on your recommendations.

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  1. sbp RE: laurie Sep 25, 2006 02:20 AM

    In Thailand, particularly in Bangkok, the street food was spectacular. There are places where a table is set up with maybe a dozen pots on it, and in each one is some incredible curry. Couldn't get over what you could eat for a few dollars.

    1. Pei RE: laurie Sep 25, 2006 02:36 AM

      Taiwan! Never met a person who didn't like Taiwanese food of any kind, street or otherwise (except for one vegan who also didn't like tofu or fake meat OR food with any hint of grease in it--talk about picky. She was miserable, but even she admitted the fruit was exquisite).

      Though others have suggested Singapore.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Pei
        ipsedixit RE: Pei Sep 25, 2006 05:20 PM


        A close second being Hong Kong.

        Just make sure you've gotten all your hepatitis shots in advance of partaking.

      2. c
        cheryl_h RE: laurie Sep 25, 2006 05:19 PM

        My husband who has made many trips to Asia said that he had great street food everywhere. He still fondly remembers a breakfast pancake in India and some incendiary meats on skewers in Malaysia.

        I ate from street vendors many times in China. Everything tasted good, like home cooked food, and was fresh. I wasn't too sure about the cleanliness of the eating utensils but I never had any after-effects.

        1. b
          ben61820 RE: laurie Sep 25, 2006 05:46 PM

          it seems Asia takes the cake. im talking of Japan, howver. all manner of things sold on the streets there are deelish. ramen (as in all of east asia i think) is great, but the yakitori and the ODEN, dear god the oden. this is a basically a stewing hellpot of goodies that when eaten in the cold, dreary winter, has an uncanny ability to lift the spirits. the copious booze usually consumed before hand might have something to do with it but who's counting...

          1. Dave MP RE: laurie Sep 25, 2006 06:06 PM

            I was in Kuala Lumpur last November....great street food, though I've heard that Bangkok and Singapore are better.

            Here's a link to my report:


            1. designerboy01 RE: laurie Sep 25, 2006 07:30 PM

              I like the ones in South Korea in Seoul. At some intersections they got different vendors at different hours of the day. But I enjoyed all the nightmarkets in Asia.

              2 Replies
              1. re: designerboy01
                AppleSister RE: designerboy01 Sep 26, 2006 10:02 PM

                My favorite Korean street food:
                * hoddukk: fried pancake with brown sugar and nuts melted inside
                * bungabbang: bread with sweet red-bean paste inside baked in a fish-shaped-mold (bunga means this kind of fish, bbang means bread)
                * jipo: flat dried fish grilled on coals (slightly sweet, slightly salty, yum)
                * fried sweet potato sticks
                * ddukbokki: rice cakes sauteed in hot sauce
                I just realized none of this sounds great, but they really are very tasty.

                1. re: AppleSister
                  Dave MP RE: AppleSister Sep 27, 2006 12:15 AM

                  Are you kidding? These sound awesome!

              2. PBSF RE: laurie Sep 25, 2006 08:36 PM

                Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Singapore have the best and the most varied...Chinese, Nonya, Malay, Indian, Thai, Indonesian. Taipei is close behind.

                6 Replies
                1. re: PBSF
                  laurie RE: PBSF Sep 26, 2006 01:55 AM

                  All of these wonderful posts about Asia! I have not yet traveled to Asia, but you all have me believing that the transcontinental flight is well-worth the chow!

                  1. re: PBSF
                    limster RE: PBSF Sep 26, 2006 02:50 AM

                    I've never chowed in Penang, but it does have a marvelous and alluring reputation as a capital of chow.

                    1. re: limster
                      PBSF RE: limster Sep 26, 2006 03:58 AM

                      I spent a couple of holidays in Penang. Georgetown has some excellent hawker food...laksa, curries, murtabak. I think it has more of a Thai influence. No place compares to Singapore though the atmosphere is gone.

                      1. re: PBSF
                        Steve RE: PBSF Sep 27, 2006 11:41 PM

                        What do you mean by "the atmosphere is gone?" Sounds sad to me.

                        1. re: Steve
                          PBSF RE: Steve Sep 28, 2006 08:54 PM

                          Singapore has longer has hawkers selling food on the streets or setting up a few chairs on the sidewalk. They've been replaced by hawker centers where a group of stationary hawkers open for business. This is not a recent development. The last remains of individual mobile hawkers were done away with at least 10 years ago. The food hasn't suffer and the sanitation is much better.

                      2. re: limster
                        Silverjay RE: limster Sep 26, 2006 02:59 PM

                        Penang was great! Indian, Chinese, Thai, Malaysians foods all mixed together. In the evening along the seaside came alive with great food and great atmosphere. Seafood especially. I remember writing in my journal- "Prawns the size of handguns!". Kota Bahru on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia as well was terriffic, as that region is more devoutly Muslim. I was there during Ramadan and the street markets were amazing. I think the take-away is that street food is also pleasently affected by events and celebrations.

                    2. DiningDiva RE: laurie Sep 25, 2006 09:08 PM

                      Asia is not the only part of the globe with good street food. I must weigh in with an alternative...........

                      Patzcuaro, Mexico
                      - The night taco vendor on the Plaza Chica. Best tacos anywhere.
                      - The ladies selling atole de grano, which was once described to me as being "corn & fennel soup". The description doesn't do it justice it's way more than that.
                      - The nieve vendors in the portales off the Plaza Grande, gelato-like ice creams in vivid flavors. Coco and zarza (coconut and blackberry) are swell, but you can also get fig, mamey, zapote and nanches among the more exotic
                      - Esquites or Mexican corn on the cob from the ladies on the Plaza Grande on the weekend.
                      - And the granddaddy of Patzcuaro street food, enchiladas placeras. Enchiladas stuffed with a potato/carrot mixture and served atop a mountain of sauteed onions, potoates and carrots, topped off with a delicious chile sauce, a Mexican melting cheese and chiles including the incindiary chile peron. Can also be ordered with a chicken quarter. One plate will easily feed 2 people.
                      - Patzcuaro is in the state of Michoacan which is famous for carnitas. You can find them as street food in Patzcuaro, but they are probably better in Quiroga about a half hour away where the main drag is lined with a plethora of carnita vendros. But you can find exquisite chicharrones at a stand across the street from the basilica in Patzcuaro, and a few doors down from the basilica you'll find the restaraunt ChaChaCha, one of the better (and very affordable) restaurants in Patzcuaro
                      - And speaking of the basilica, right in front of it, every morning, are a nubmer of vendors selling corundas, the Michoacan version of tamales. These are large triangular shape masa packets filled with the doble crema that Michoacan is also famous for, along with some rajas (chile strips), which is then all wrapped up in corn husks and steamed. These are actually quite large and make a nice, substantial breakfast. They are served one to an order in a bowl. A thin but incredibly flavorful salsa made from chile peron is ladled over and then crema if desired. Most of these vendors also sell atole, a corn masa based drink, in assorted flavors. A cornunda and some atole is a fine breakfast
                      - I can't forget the open-air market where you can buy all kinds of interesting stuff to eat. Bionicos are also a great way to start the day. Perfectly ripe (and mostly tropical) fruit is layered into 16 oz clear plastic cups along with yogurt (or sometimes crema) and granola. The vendor will ask if you want a squeeze of honey over the top when you buy it. You do. A lot of the fruit vendors also have cups of plain cut fruit too. The market has the usual food vendors selling everything from tacos to soup to eggs to gorditas and more. Choose a stand that is clean and well patronized and if you drink an "agua" just ask if they used agua pura to make it. Then there are the nut vendors. Mexican candied nuts are made fresh throughout the day and are a really great snack to buy and take with your to munch on throughout the day. Sweet, salty, spicy/hot and crunchy.

                      And this doesn't even count the myriad of panaderias, sweets vendors, camote vendors, weekend marisco vendors and assorted small hole-in-the-wall places you can pop into for a quick bite.

                      Patzcuaro is about an hour north of Morelia, which is the jumping off point for people coming to visit the Monarch butterfly preserve in early Spring. Though not quite as apparent as in Patzcuaro, there are numerous food opportunities in Morelia as well as in the surrounding communities of Quiroga, Uruapan and Zamora.

                      Michacan is not unique, this type of experience can be repeated in many locations throughout Mexico. Oaxaca has an alive and vibrant street food scene and I think if you do a search on the Mexico board you'll turn up lots of posts about street food in Oaxaca. Chapuline (crispy grasshoppers) anyone? If you can stand the heat and humidity Veracrz and the Yucatan can be rewarding. Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco, while not necessarily a foodie destination, offers some terrific options, not to mention the whole Tequila thing. And then there is Mexico City where you truly can find almost anything edible under the sun and on every street corner.

                      I don't work for any Mexican tourism organizations, I just like the food (and the country) :-D

                      1. l
                        laurie RE: laurie Sep 26, 2006 01:53 AM

                        D, I share your enthusiam for Mexican street food! I have not yet made it to Morelia or Patzcuaro (they're on my "to do" list), but your post is motivational. Puebla is also on the short list. I agree with you about the wondrous street food of Jalisco, Oaxaca, and the Yucatan. Thanks for sharing!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: laurie
                          prunefeet RE: laurie Sep 27, 2006 05:55 PM

                          I wasn wondering if anyone would ever mention Oaxaca. Haven't been, but have heard really great things from all kinds of people...

                          1. re: prunefeet
                            laurie RE: prunefeet Sep 28, 2006 01:33 AM

                            I haven't been in quite a few years but am going through withdrawals. It's just a magical place to me; the people, the food, the markets, the incredible folk art, the festivals, the colonial architecture, the ruins, all of it. Hoping to make a trip back there next year.

                        2. g
                          goldphishe RE: laurie Sep 26, 2006 02:02 AM

                          Zepoles during San Genaro in Little Italy (NYC) Can't beat them when they are right out of the oil.

                          1. z
                            zebcook RE: laurie Sep 26, 2006 02:41 PM

                            Market days in France! Instant picnics and street food. Favories included dried salamis with hazelnuts (Paris) or sausage with black olives (Arles), olives, cheeses, breads.

                            Also the ubiquitous crepe stands on streetcorners throughout Paris. Good for late night snacks.

                            1. kare_raisu RE: laurie Sep 26, 2006 08:17 PM

                              Doener Kebaps, Currywurst, Frikadeller, broetchen und wurst, and roasted chestnuts in Berlin Germany.

                              1. Sam Fujisaka RE: laurie Sep 27, 2006 02:45 PM

                                The replies about Asia and Mexico are spot on--the markets should not be missed. Anyplace with a tandoor oven in India and Burma are good, as are the highway stops in much of Pakistan. The Tibetan food on the highest pass from Paro-Thiumpu down to Galephugh in Butan should not be missed. Although Thai is great, NE Thai and Lao (almost the same thing) is possibly even greater. Street food on Hainan Island (China) is notable, as is almost all food in Vietnam. The capybara on the road out of Pucallpa, Peru, is good. Of course, then there are a couple of hot dog stands in NYC...

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                  chocolatetartguy RE: Sam Fujisaka Sep 28, 2006 07:57 PM

                                  Isn't capybara basically a giant rat? What does it taste like?

                                  1. re: chocolatetartguy
                                    Jacquilynne RE: chocolatetartguy Sep 28, 2006 08:11 PM

                                    Giant guinea pig is what we were told when I was in Southwestern Brazil. I haven't eaten it, though, so can't answer your second question.

                                    1. re: Jacquilynne
                                      Dave MP RE: Jacquilynne Sep 28, 2006 09:49 PM

                                      Here's a link I just found about eating capybara...apparantly popular during Lent in Venezuela!


                                      1. re: Dave MP
                                        Sam Fujisaka RE: Dave MP Sep 29, 2006 06:47 PM

                                        Yes, it is the world's largest rodent. Has nostrils and eyes at the top of its head in order to see and breath while swimming. Tastes like rabbit with a deeper, richer flavor. They can't be domesticated effectively because they fight and kill each other if penned--even if the penned area is huge.

                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                          chocolatetartguy RE: Sam Fujisaka Sep 29, 2006 07:19 PM

                                          And favored food of that natural chowhound, the anaconda.

                                2. 2top RE: laurie Sep 27, 2006 06:59 PM

                                  Doubles (two flat fried breads filled with curried chick peas, commonly called channa. Topped with a variety of spicy chutneys.) from "George x" outside the Brooklyn Bar, St. James Trinidad. Breakfast food.

                                  1. m
                                    Moz RE: laurie Sep 27, 2006 10:19 PM

                                    I used to live in Asia and I honestly can say the best street food I had was in KL. There is one road where the food carts line both sides of the street with tables down the middle so no cars can move down it. You have to go to each cart for one ingredient (one cooks meat, the other fish, one sells beer another vegetable, rice etc). Even though it appears to be incredibly dissorganized, no matter what you order from where it all appears at your table at the same time. It was just the best street food I have had as well as one of my all time top 10 favourite food experiences.

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