Pad Thai, Dandan noodles, Kung Pao chicken – all these dishes are probably already familiar to you. It’s easy to try them in your local Asian food restaurant, and you can even cook them at home.
Food is closely connected to the culture, and your experience with Asian traditions will be incomplete if you don’t try Asian street foods while visiting the countries of their origin. And there is no doubt that they will definitely steal your heart.
So, when the pandemic is over and you’ll be planning your next trip, I highly suggest you go on the gastro tour around Asia and try these five wonderful mouth-watering street foods.
If you’ve ever travelled to Bangladesh, you might have noticed locals selling some savoury snacks from stalls and food carts on the side of the road. There is a very big chance that they were selling chaat.
I first tried this dish when I went to work as a volunteer in Dhaka, helping kids aged eight to ten learn French and literature. This typical Indian and Bengali food was introduced to me by my local friend, who said it was the most comforting food I would ever try.
And it was indeed! The mixture of potatoes, dahi vada (a type of a crisp bread), chickpeas, and typical Indian spices. Chaat is usually served with yogurt dip, but if you’re vegan, you can also ask for oil infused with herbs.
2. Chana Masala
A couple of years ago my Indian friends took me on a trip around the subcontinent part of the country, and, during our road trip we stopped to get some water and a snack. A man nearby happened to sell some kind of curry with chickpeas, which we bought to fuel us for the rest of our trip.
The curry turned out to be chana masala – the main course dish made with chana, which is a type of chickpea. These chickpeas have a stronger flavour and don’t get mushy after being cooked in the sauce.
Chana masala is also often garnished with tomatoes, onion, and a lot of spices – turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, and, of course, curry and chili. During my trip to India, I tried different variations of this dish, but I highly recommend ordering it with puri – a type of crispy deep-fried Indian bread, which you can dip in chana masala.
When in India, especially Sri Lanka, leaving without trying samosa is basically a crime. Samosa is as traditional in India, like pumpkin pie in America – absolutely worth trying.
The dough is made from all-purpose flour, oil, water, and sometimes carom seeds. It gets deep-fried and turns out to be crispy and flaky, which makes it a perfect snack you can eat on the go.
The filling for samosas can be absolutely different, from spiced potatoes, peas, onions, and lentils to different types of meats. It’s definitely the dish for all tastes. No matter, whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or a true meat lover, there is always a perfect samosa match for you!
Even though Indian is one of the most popular Asian cuisines, Indonesian food can easily compete with it. And, satay would be the first dish in this competition.
If you’ve ever been to Turkey or other Middle Eastern countries, you might have tried a kebab or shashlik. Satay is the Indonesian version of these dishes. It’s usually some type of meat that gets seasoned, put on skewers, and grilled.
You can get any meat to your taste in your satay – chicken, beef, pork, and even goat. Pescatarians would also be glad to hear that they can also get a satay with their favourite fish.
My suggestion is, no matter which kind of satay you get, make sure you try it with different local dips. The flavours of fish and meat really open up, and dips bring forward all the spices added to satay. If you love your meats, don’t pass food carts selling satay next time you’re in Indonesia.
5. Miso Ramen
How can you not finish this article without mentioning one of the crown jewels of Japanese cuisine? This soup is sold in every Japanese restaurant and is one of the most comforting foods with healing properties.
A traditional miso ramen soup consists of a dashi stock with miso paste and ramen. However, you can add other ingredients to your taste and dietary preferences – egg, broccoli, onions, and even different kinds of meat.
If you’re feeling a bit under the weather, a bowl of miso soup is great for nourishing your body. Miso paste, which consists of fermented soybeans, is great for your gut health and can give a serious boost to your immune system.
Experience Asia through Food
Food is such an important part of Asian culture that you cannot experience it fully without trying traditional Asian dishes. And, since Asian countries have such a unique street food culture, you can simultaneously enjoy sightseeing while savouring unique Asian snacks.
Let’s hope that the pandemic is over soon, and we can all go on an exciting gastro tour around Asia to try all the amazing foods it has to offer!
Ryan Pell is a passionate blogger and writer who likes sharing his thoughts and. Now he works as a content editor and internet researcher, you can check his site. He likes to travel and explore new countries.