Unique street food around Asia | Sunday Observer

Unique street food around Asia

21 February, 2021

Street food…, of course travellers may need no introduction to this. Street food is found in each country around the world. They are easy to eat and are very delicious items of food which no one must miss when visiting another country. The content of street food vary from one country to the other depending on factors such as popularisation and culture. In the US it’s hot dogs, in London it could be cotton candy or sandwiches. Street food is often sold outside on the sides of roads mostly at small stalls, making it easy for everyone to access them. It clearly makes no difference whether you are living in Africa, Asia, or Europe, it can be found around you. According to the culture, the street food can be unique to the buyer. Here are 13 such unique street foods one can find only in Asia.

1. Lavariya (string hopper dumplings) Sri Lanka: A very popular Lankan snack to titillate the sweet tooth of many food lovers. It’s simple and can be made in a couple of minutes. All it consists of is string hopper made with rice flour, filled with grated coconut cooked in jaggery liquid (Pani Pol) and steamed before serving. This can be found almost everywhere in Sri Lanka. It really has a very mesmerising colour and taste. It brings the unique texture of the string hoppers and the sweetness of pani pol together to create a very tasty item. They are generally shaped like half crescents and wrapped in banana leaves. String hopper dumplings are served at tea time with bananas. Never ever miss this dumpling when visiting Sri Lanka.

2. Jian Bing (Chinese fried pancake) China: Highly recognised as ‘one of China’s most popular street breakfasts’, Jian Bing is a traditional Chinese food, similar to crepes in France. It is prepared with main ingredients such as wheat with fillings of egg, ham, scallions, diced mustard pickles and coriander. These crepes are served with chilli sauce and Hoisin sauce. It is folded several times before serving. The popularity of this food is because it can never be pre-cooked, therefore, the customers have to stay for their turn to enjoy the crispiness, resulting in queues near the vendor even though the preparation time is less. Jian Bing originated in Shandong but also became very popular in Tianjin. This resulted in two varieties of the food; The Shandong variety: the original one which contains coarse grains like corn with fillings such as lettuce, sweet potatoes and pork, given with a fried dough stick. The Jian Bing Guozi: the spark of transformation of Jian Bing that came from Shandong. Guozi refers to the filling it contains. It is much softer being made out of flour with less gluten. It is sold along with a crispy fried cracker. It’s certain that travellers won’t miss out on this amazing food when walking the streets of Shanghai.

3. Lokma (Arabic sweet) - United Arab Emirates: This sweet is named Lokma meaning mouthful in Arabic. It is a pastry shaped as a round, made with deep fried dough, that is soaked in honey or sweet syrup often coated with cinnamon, cardamom and saffron. Often confused with the Indian sweet Gulab Jamun,the history of Lokma goes back to the early 13th century. Sold as a street food it has a very high sugar level yet can be a good source of glucose. Lokma can also be found during festivals like Ramadan in the UAE. Truly a sweet with remarkable taste!

4. Pav Bhaji (Indian curry and bread) - India: Avery famous Indian fast food found on every street, even the aroma is simply enough for the locals to know this delight is there. Pav Bhaji is a dish that originated as a fast lunchtime dish for textile mill workers in Mumbai. Later, due the taste it spread throughout the city creating a label for itself. Now, it can be found in Indian hotels, restaurants and also abroad. It includes many variations, for example: Cheese Pav Bhaji, Fried Pav Bhaji, Paneer Pav Bhaji, Mushroom Pav Bhaji, Jain Pav Bhaji and other variations.Normally, the Pav Bhaji is cooked on a flat griddle known as the Tava. This spicy curry includes a lot of mashed veggies. Served with soft bread to blend the flavours with the freshness, the bread maybe chapattis, brown bread or maybe even roti. Vegetables in the curry are commonly potatoes, onions, tomatoes, carrots, chillies, peas, and bell peppers. The popularisation of this food is mainly because one third of India’s population is vegan and therefore, it is a street food for them. However, not only vegans, almost everyone in the country enjoys it.

5. Egg Coffee (Coffee with Egg)- Vietnam: Very well known for its unusual combination, this is a traditional preparation with egg yolks, Robusta Coffee and condensed milk. First, egg yolks are beaten thoroughly with sugar and coffee and then put into a cup. This drink carries a legend with it, which says that fresh milk was in short supply during a war and that whisked egg yolk was used as a replacement.

All throughout Vietnam this coffee can be found in cafes. The origin is said to be in Hanoi. It is a must that the coffee m be drunk when it is warm, therefore, it is s often served to the drinker in a warm bowl of water. Be sure to note this one down.

6. Yakitori (Japanese Chicken Skewers) -Japan: A Japanese style chicken skewer, Skewers are mainly made out ofbamboo, steel or a similar material. Meat is cooked under fire generated from charcoal. The d and other spices.ish can be seasoned with tare sauce and salt after or before cooking. Seasonings can include Japanese pepper, black pepper, wasabi and similar spices according to individual taste. There may be different Yakitori’sdepending on the grilled part of meat, for example if the chicken brea st was grilled then it’s referred as Yotsumi. It’s a good collection of Japan’s cuisine.

7. Lahmacun (Turkish pizza) Lahmacun- Turkey: A very simple, easy and awesomely delicious Turkish delight, that could be found when in town. It consists of thin flat bread topped with spiced ground meat, which itself derives from the word lahmajun meaning meat with dough. Often referred to as pizza in modern times, unlike pizza its origin is in the Middle East. Moreover, it doesn’t include heavy toppings like cheese and also the crust is much thinner. Vegetables and herbs are also used to decorate this special flat bread.

8. Gado-Gado (Indonesian vegetable salad Gado-Gado -Indonesia: This dish was promoted as one of the six national dishes of Indonesia during 2018. Gado-Gado comes under the category of salads. Unique and different, it adds a healthy choice for street foods. The word Gado literary means ,Mix’ referring to the fact that it’s been made with a rich mixt of vegetable such as potatoes, long beans, cabbage, gourd, and corn. It also has tofu, tempeh and hard-boiled eggs. All dressed with peanut sauce and served together with Krupuk, a traditional cracker. The highlight of this salad is the peanut sauce, as its not used in other cuisines. This tasty dish is sold widely around the country with settings unique for each area. Truly, a good street food.

9. Mohinga (Rice noodle and fish soup) -Myanmar: Considered to be Myanmar’s national dish, it was a breakfast dish when it was introduced, although now it is consumed at any time. Mohinga is made with chickpea flour and crushed, roasted rice, garlic, shallots, onions, lemongrass, banana tree stems, ginger, fish paste, fish sauce and any type of fish. It is also made seen with rice vermicelli, garnished with lime juice, fish sauce, spring onions, crushed dried chillies, fried onion and other preferred ingredients. Optional toppings may be urad dal, gourd, or fish cakes. This too has regional choices depending on the availability of ingredients and culinary preferences. They are sold at pavement stalls and by trishaw peddlers known as Mohinga Trishaws. Be sure to stop one of them for yourself.

10. Manakish (Pizza of Levantine Cuisine – Lebanon: Also known as Fatayir, its widely spread in many Middle Eastern countries but Lebanon stands out due to the high demand for the food. Mostly sold as a street food in Lebanon, the country also depicts a rich history with this snack. Lebanese citizens love this very much and they prefer eating it for all the three meals of the day. It’s simply a combination of soft dough topped with thyme, cheese or meat. Almost like pizza, but not pizza. Manakish is sold folded or sliced. Classic toppings include minced lamb, chilli, za’tar, and spinach. Manakish has had innovative additions of several items such as chocolate and ice cream. History records that women used to make the flat bread needed for the whole day, so that they can serve it to the family with different toppings throughout the day, as they are busy.

11. Pad Thai (Thai Stir Fry) Thailand: Although stir fry originally came a main course item, the Thai stir fry is extra special. Typically made out of rice noodles, chicken, a scrambled egg, bean sprouts, other common vegetables and peanuts, mixed in a wok, a utensil that distributes heat evenly. At the end of completion, the whole is dipped in Pad Thai sauce, from which it acquires the signature tangy, salty flavour with a hint of sweetness. It is said that this was invented in the mid-20th century. This delicacy was listed at number five in the CNN list of the ‘World’s Most Delicious Food’ in 2011.

12. Lassi (Buttermilk)- Pakistan: A guilty pleasure of the Pakistanis. A sweet blend of yoghurt, spices and fruit. There can be many different Lassi’s according to personal favourites. Among these Namkeen (salty) Lassi, Sweet Lassi; that is mainly made from fruits like strawberries and lemon ,Mango Lassi especially reserved for mango lovers and Bhang Lassi, a cannabis infused Lassi, legally sold in various parts of the country. Pakistani’s prefer Lassi as a snack and also as an after meal tea. It is even better as a dessert. Nevertheless, it’s better as an energy drink. Don’t forget to grab a Lassi if you go to Pakistan.

13. Tteokbokki (Stir Fried Rice Cakes)– South Korea: This remarkable dish of stir fried rice cakes is found all over South Korea. It is made by using long cylindrical shaped rice cakes that are called called Tteokmyeon (Rice Cake Noodles). Usually Tteokbokki is served with fish cakes, boiled eggs and scallions. The rice cakes are seasoned with spicy chilli paste or non-spicy soy sauce. One variation is known as the. Royal Court Tteokbokki’. With modern influence many different types of this street food has been created , for example, Curry-Tteokbokki, Cream Sauce-Tteokbokki and Seafood Tteokbokki. Even though this delicacy is treated as a street food, it has a high value in the history of Korea.

Food is a vast subject to speak about. Likewise, street foods are too an important subject. The trend of street foods simply doesn’t have an end. Just keep on loving street food!