Author: Gloria Gamat
With all due respect to esteemed chefs and restaurateurs, anyone who's ever bought fresh steamed crab from a Bangkok canal boat knows that not all stellar meals are served in courses or come on silverware.
In fact, certain cities in Asia have cult followings built entirely around their street-food cultures. Indeed ,street food seem to have been invented in Asia as can be seen from the following:
1. Bangkok, Thailand
For centuries, Thai food sellers operated out of boats along the canals that formed the city's main transportation system. In recent years, roadside caf√©s have all but supplanted the custom. But at Taling Chan – floating market on the western edge of the city – vendors still grill fish and steam crabs directly on their boats every weekend.
2. Hanoi, Vietnam
The narrow alleyways of the city's Old Quarter yield a treasure of breakfast delicacies for the jet-lagged traveler. Street vendors set up really early to prepare sweet green rice wrapped in banana leaves, sesame- and coconut-filled dumplings in ginger syrup and rich coffee poured over sweetened condensed milk.
In its many food courts such as Chinatown's Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore delivers a civilized street-food experience, complete with table service. Patrons can usually ditch their belongings at one of the marked tables, browse the offerings (ranging from Chinese fish ball soup to spicy Malaysian pork-rib prawn noodles) and give their table number at the counter.