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3 street food scenes in Asia you should try on your next visit

Fishballs are the quintessential street food snack in Hong Kong, "Asia's World City" (photo: Wing11803 @ Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Asia is a continent of street food—you’d be greeted by endless street food stalls wherever you go. To spend a few coins on hawkers and savour the street food, is a quintessential part of Asian life. Here, we list three street food scenes in Asia you should try on your next orienteering trip!

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1. Thailand

Floating market in Thailand (photo: Georgie Pauwels @ Wikimedia Commons CC-BY 2.0)
Floating market in Thailand (photo: Georgie Pauwels @ Wikimedia Commons CC-BY 2.0)

If you have a Thai friend and you’re visiting Bangkok, chances are that your friend would be asking you, “have you tried the street food?” Street food is indeed omnipresent in cities throughout Thailand—from street vendors, to the bustling night markets, to the characteristic floating markets on boats—these places are all well frequented by Thais and tourists alike.

Noodles like Pad Thai are frequent items at street vendors. Coconut-based snacks, Malay roti, and fried insects (if you dare!) are other items that you can often buy from hawkers.

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The Thailand International Orienteering Championship and other events in December is a good chance for you to try these street delicacies.

2. Indonesia

Pancake, Jakarta-style (called Kue Ape, lit. "what cake?", an euphemism for Kue tetek—breast cake) (photo: Serenity @ Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 3.0)
Pancake, Jakarta-style (called Kue Ape, lit. “what cake?”, an euphemism for Kue tetek—breast cake) (photo: Serenity @ Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 3.0)

The vast and multicultural archipelago country of Indonesia has a vibrant street food scene, a mix of Indonesian, Chinese and Dutch influences. Street stalls on wheels, whereby the hawker can paddle around and sell, are a common sight, providing affordable nourishment to the people.

Like in Thailand, here you’ll find main dishes like fried noodles (mi goreng) and chicken congee (bubur ayam), as well as snacks like pancakes and drinks like palm wine (tuak).

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Although the Jakarta City Race will not take place this year, stay tuned for future events in Indonesia so you can experience these dishes first hand!

3. Hong Kong

Fishballs are the quintessential street food snack in Hong Kong (photo: Wing11803 @ Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 4.0)
Fishballs are the quintessential street food snack in Hong Kong (photo: Wing11803 @ Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Street hawkers in Hong Kong are, unfortunately, not as many as the aforementioned two countries as the government here considers these as nuisance on street cleanliness and therefore stopped issuing licenses decades ago. Hawkers now mainly sell in fixed shops along the street, or in stalls inside shopping malls. You can still find individual mobile stalls on the street.

Street food in Hong Kong is part of city’s identity. Fish balls, egg waffles and fried chestnuts are a few examples of the many tasty snacks you can buy from roadside shops.

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Hong Kong orienteering events might be cancelled for the rest of 2020, but you’ll sure get a chance to try the street food of the metropolis!

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