51 Asian Street Food Facts: Taste The Spices Of Versatile Culture | Kidadl


51 Asian Street Food Facts: Taste The Spices Of Versatile Culture

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Street foods are ready-made foods and beverages sold by street-side stalls in public places for immediate or later consumption that doesn't require further processing or preparation.

Asian street foods are rooted in history, passed down through generations, and have variations in region and culture. The irresistible aroma of delicacies from a food stall fills the city's air and tempt passers-by to stop for a snack or drink.

Asian street food offers an incredible variety of local specialties and national cuisines. It became popular when poor people did not have a kitchen and depended on street-side stalls for their daily meals. Earlier it was made only for the working class, but now it defies all class barriers, and it is open for everyone from poor to rich and young to old.

History Of Asian Street Food

Asian street food stems from many civilizations back when there were no home ovens, and the most common form of food was local meat in some form of bread.

In China, the street food culture developed in the Tang dynasty, and it spread with the movement of Chinese people across Asia and to other countries.

In Japan, Chinese immigrants brought street food culture and introduced Ramen, which later became the national dish of Japan with many regional variations.

In Thailand, street food became popular after urban population growth and rising income in the '60s.

In Indonesia, the street food culture flourished in the 19th century during the Dutch East Indies period.

In India, street food stall appeared during the mid-1800s to serve the midnight factory workers.

In Singapore, street food culture began in the 1800s when the early migrant population sold affordable meals in public places.

The Vietnamese street food scene began in the 1900s as sold soup in barrels.

Malaysian hawker street food culture developed during British rule in the 19th century.

In the Philippines, it started during the '50s when the livestock supply was abundant.

Taiwan got its cuisines from Chinese immigrants during the Ming dynasty in the 16th century.

Korean hawker culture started after the Korean War (1950-1953), where street-side stalls provided affordable foods to people who could not prepare food.

Street-side stalls became famous during the '50s to '60s in Hong Kong during the economic downturn.

Laos cuisine-glutinous rice was popular during the '50s to '60s when vendors sold the rice on mobile carts for bus drivers.

Cambodia had some Vietnamese influence and introduced rice noodles to their population.

Mongolia's cuisines date to 1456 during the Ming and Yuan dynasties.

Cultural And Economic Aspects

Based on cultural differences and history, Asian street food is traditionally varied and plays a significant role in a town's economic self-sufficiency and development.

Most street vendors inherit the family business as a mark of family honor and exhibit their culture using traditional methods.

In Bangladesh and Thailand, women dominate as street vendors. Surveys also show women's importance in this industry in other countries, such as 90% of the industry in the Philippines and 40% in Indonesia.

In Japan, walking down the street and eating is taboo. However, children are allowed to eat.

Philippine's food culture is multifaceted and is thought to represents food where East meets West.

North Chinese people prefer noodles, and Southern Chinese people prefer rice.

Malaysian street food contains strong flavors with a blend of chili, herbs, and spices.

Street food in the Philippines is predominantly sweet.

Vietnamese food is light-flavored and peppered with herbs to enhance the main ingredient.

Cambodian cuisine culture includes mostly rice and fish as it is available abundantly.

In Indonesia, street food sales annually are around $67 million, and in Malaysia, it is around $2.2 billion.

Street food vendors in Asia earn 3-10 times more than skilled laborers in the formal sector. In Malaysia, net income from daily sales varies from $10 to $120.

Health And Safety

Though street food delicacies are delicious and easily available, they must maintain food quality standards to reduce major public health risks. Hence, government guidelines or regulations are developed for food sold in street stalls.

Raw materials must be brought from reliable sources and examined for contamination before purchase.

Water used for preparing the dishes must be of human drinking standard, and the vendor must use ice prepared from safe drinking water to prepare beverages. 

The vendor must fry, bake, or grill food thoroughly until food temperature reaches 158 °F (70 °C). Frozen foods must be fully defrosted before cooking to ensure proper heat penetration.

Vehicles transporting food from preparation points to vending units and food containers must be clean.

Vending units and utensils must be designed to be easily cleaned and covered with waterproof material.

Food handlers must wear aprons and head coverings and wash their hands regularly.

Sales points must be well-lit and away from contaminant sources. Vendors must sanitize utensils or use disposable utensils.

Authorities are encouraged to undertake Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) to improve street food safety at all stages of food supply.

The government's role is to conduct this HACCP with street vendors' cooperation to implement a food safety strategy. The Word Health Organisations (WHO) set out standards for the person conducting this study.

Registering or licensing vendors must be encouraged depending on food safety knowledge and commitment to producing safe dishes. Food handlers must also be trained to implement proper control measures during food preparation.

Over 2.5 billion people worldwide enjoy street foods every day.

Diversification of Street Foods Across Asia.

A trip to any Asian country is incomplete without trying their local delicacies, and one must try eating from their street-side stalls to learn about their culture and traditional dishes.

Thailand street snacks includes pad thai (fried noodles with bean sprouts and meat), som tam (papaya salad), suki haeng (stir-fried glass noodles), and tom yum goong (hot and sour soup) served with fish sauce.

Street snacks in Indonesia are fried and served with spicy sauce. Famous offerings are nasi goreng, bakso (meatball soup), gado gado (veggie salad with peanut sauce), and rendang (beef marinated in coconut milk and spices.)

Indian Street food, also known as nukkadwala food, is more diverse similar to its diverse culture. Favorite food includes panipuri, chole bhature, vada pav, kebabs, tandoori chicken, dosa, and more.

Street snacks in Singapore include a lot of seafood. The quintessential dishes are chili crab, black pepper crab, laksa soup, and Hainanese chicken rice.

Famous street snacks in China include rice flour or wheat flour noodles. It is either served fried as toppings or in soups. Other delicacies include jianbing (Chinese crêpes), jiaozi (Chinese dumplings), baozi (Chinese bread buns), huo guo (hotpot), banmian (Chinese noodle soup), rice cakes, and rice balls.

Popular dishes in South Korea include gimbap (cooked rice and meat rolled in dried seaweed), tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cake), hotteok, and bungeoppang (sweet fish-shaped bun.)

Famous Japanese street snacks include takoyaki (dough balls filled with minced octopus, tempura scraps, and pickled ginger), kushikatsu (deep-fried skewered meats), okonomiyaki (savory pancake)

Vietnamese national dish' Pho' (a clear soup with rice noodles and meat) is famous globally. Other dishes include goi cuon (spring rolls with a mix of meat and vegetables wrapped in rice paper)and bahn tam bi (noodles with pork and coconut milk.)

Malaysia's national dish is nasi lemak. It is a delicious dish of coconut rice served with chicken or beef, a boiled egg, peanuts, and fried anchovies.

Philippines dishes include chicken pork barbecue, balut, kwek kwek (deep-fried quail eggs in orange batter), kikiam, fish balls, squid balls, hot dogs dunked in thick sweet sauce.

Taiwan's night markets are famous in Asia and serve kong oan (bouncy meatballs), gua boa (Taiwanese Hamburger), tian bu la (fish cakes), and stinky tofu.

Famous street-side stalls in Hong Kong include dim sum, egg tarts, and skewered beef.

Sticky rice is the staple food of Laotians. Other popular dishes include larb (meat salad) and feu noodles.

Cambodia offers the famous lok lak (stir-fried beef), fish amok, and lort cha (stir-fried noodles with egg and bean sprouts).

A famous snack in Mongolia is buuz (meat dumplings). Buuz is the country's national dish.

The demand for affordable, ready-to-eat food has increased with the urban population worldwide as people, especially women, have less time to prepare meals at home. Thus, the street food industry contributes to economic development and provides jobs to many people.


What is a famous Asian food?

The Vietnamese dish- Pho (rice noodle soup with meats) is a famous Asian dish.

What are Chinese street foods?

Chinese street-side cuisines include fried noodles, fried rice, dumplings, a bowl of noodle soup, and Chinese crêpes.

Why is Asian street food popular?

Asian street food is popular because it is delicious, affordable, filling, and provides a variety of traditional dishes.

Which Asian country has the best street food?

Thailand is recognized to have the best street food. Popular dishes include pad thai, Thai curries, green papaya salad, and sour tom yum soup.

What Asian street food is the most popular in the American market at the moment?

Sushi is the most popular American Asian dish.

What midtown street has all the Asian food restaurants?

New York midtown street has all the Asian food restaurants.

What seasonings are used in Asian street food?

Most common seasonings used are chili, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, five-spice powder, and cooking wine.

Where to eat Asian street food in Los Angeles?

Isaan Thai Street center, Asian street eats by chef Hung and Dollar hits are few highly rated street-side stalls to try Asian cuisine in Los Angeles.

Which Asian country has great street food?

Singapore was rated as number one in the world's best street food in 2019.

What is unique about Asian cuisine?

Asian cuisine has a variety of flavors and is cooked with many aromatic spices and herbs.

Written By
Sridevi Tolety

<p>With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.</p>

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