Inspiration Asia The World's Best Street Food Destinations 

The World's Best Street Food Destinations 

Street food market in Thailand, one of the world's best destinations for street food - Luxury Escapes

From the steamy night markets of Southeast Asia to the neon-lit streets of Japan and South Korea, here are the world’s best street food destinations. 

Imagine a symphony of sizzling meats, fragrant soups and clouds of steam rising from woks – all orchestrated by street vendors, working their magic from behind single cooktops. Perched on tiny stools or tucked into bustling alleyways, you discover flavour combinations worthy of five-star restaurants and Michelin stars. This is street food.  

In this culinary approach, there’s no place to hide – service is unimportant, and decor is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is flavour. Street food offers a unique glimpse into the heart and soul of a destination. It’s an authentic and inexpensive way to explore a new city and a great way to interact with locals.  

Get ready to plan your next escape from this list of the world’s best street food destinations. 


A bao bun in Vietnam, one of the world's best destinations for street food -Luxury Escapes
A steamed bao bun, Vietnam.

Lovers of texture and fresh flavours will love eating their way through the streets of Vietnam. Here, you can taste the country’s storied history – from fine French cuisine to American influences and Portuguese flavours. Start your day with a steaming bowl of pho before savouring a Vietnamese coffee over ice (condensed milk optional) as you watch the world go by.  

In the north, cities like Hanoi offer crunchy banh mi, mouthwatering bun cha (grilled pork meatballs with rice noodles and fresh herbs) and banh cuon (rolled rice cakes with mushrooms and minced pork). The central region, meanwhile, is home to specialties like bun bo hue (a spicy beef noodle soup) and cao lau (noodles topped with slices of melt-in-your-mouth barbecued pork, pork crackling, bean sprouts, lettuce and herbs). Cao lau is best enjoyed in the riverside city of Hoi An, as truly authentic cao lau noodles must be made using water from the ancient Ba Le well, located within the heritage-listed city.  


Floating market in Thailand, one of the best destinations in the world for street food - Luxury Escapes
Floating market, Thailand.

From the bustling alleys of Bangkok, overflowing with aromatic delights, to the picture-perfect markets lining Phuket’s beaches, every corner of the country offers something new and delicious. As early afternoon arrives, Thailand’s streets come alive with pushcarts, sizzling grills and friendly bartering. Car parks and vacant blocks transform into vibrant marketplaces, beckoning hungry travellers and locals alike. 

Wander through these vibrant marketplaces and you’ll be met with an array of sights, sounds and best of all… smells. Stop for perfectly barbecued meats, warming bowls of khao soi (egg noodles in a curry broth), and overflowing plates of pad thai laden with juicy prawns. In Bangkok, don’t miss a Michelin-starred crab omelette from legendary street food chef Jay Fai – best enjoyed with an ice-cold bottle of Chang beer.


Turkish coffee in Türkiye, one of the best destinations in the world for street food - Luxury Escapes
Turkish coffee, Türkiye.

Türkiye's bustling streets are a haven for delicious and diverse street food. Istanbul's iconic simit, a sesame-crusted bread similar to a sweet bagel, is a must-try breakfast. Beyond pastries, the street food scene explodes with a dazzling array of gözleme (cheese and meat-filled flatbread), succulent meats sizzling on grills and stuffed bread brimming with savoury fillings. The influence of various cuisines – think Greek, Mediterranean and Iranian – shines through, offering a beautiful blend of flavour with every bite. 

Perhaps Türkiye’s most popular export is the kebab – a flatbread wrap stuffed with juicy rotisserie meat, tomato, onion, lettuce and a yoghurt-like sauce. You’ll also find vendors touting balik ekmek (fish sandwiches), borek (a thin flaky pastry stuffed with meat, cheese and spinach) and midye dolma (stuffed mussels with spiced rice and fresh lemon). Finish your meal like the locals do – with a cup of thick Turkish coffee. 


Hot chai in India, one of the world's best destinations for street food - Luxury Escapes
Masala chai, India.

India’s street food scene is as diverse as it is delicious. Stroll the streets and you’ll be met by an array of tasty treats showcasing a selection of spice, texture and flavour. Wander past chaiwallahs (tea sellers) pouring warming cups of spiced masala chai, skilful chefs swirling dosa batter on hot plates and specialist vendors preparing plates of crispy aloo chaat (potato cubes fried in spices and served with chutney).  

While street food can be found across the country, from Kerala to Kashmir, Mumbai is an oasis for street eats – from traditional treats like jalebi and creamy kulfi to savoury bites like samosas, biryani and pani puri. While here, don’t miss your chance to sample the city’s most popular snack, vada pav (a bread roll filled with a fried potato patty and smothered in chutney). 


Satay Street food market in Singapore, one of the best destinations in the world for street food - Luxury Escapes
Satay Street Food Market, Singapore.

No list of the world’s best street food is complete without Singapore. The island nation boasts some of the globe's finest street cuisine, ranging from Michelin-starred noodles topped with crispy pork crackling, served at the famed Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle hawker stand, to an entire street devoted solely to satay.

Singaporean cuisine is a delectable fusion of Malay, Indian and Chinese flavours, best enjoyed at one of the city’s many hawker centres. Hop between marketplaces to sample wonton noodle soups, chilli crab and the island’s signature dish, Hainanese chicken rice. For breakfast, try the street food staple kaya toast – heavily buttered toast with coconut jam and just boiled eggs. Enjoy it with a local kopi or tea tarik (pulled tea) for a quintessential Singaporean experience. 


A folded pizza in Italy, one of the world's best destinations for street food - Luxury Escapes
Pizza, Italy.

Italian street food is a celebration of fresh, regional ingredients. Think market stalls passed down through generations and overflowing with crispy arancini (fried rice balls full of cheese, vegetables and minced meat), thinly sliced porchetta (aromatic roasted pork) and piadina (soft flatbread) stuffed with cheese, fresh tomatoes and sliced meats.  

Wander along cobblestone streets and be tempted by panzerotti (small calzone-like pastries stuffed with cheese and tomato), arrosticini (grilled meat skewers) and olive ascolana (meat stuffed olives). Finish your feast with a fresh cannoli filled with sweet ricotta or a cup of zesty lemon gelato. From the bustling piazzas of Rome to the charming canals of Venice, Italian street food is a delicious way to experience the country's culinary heritage on the go. 


Street food in Indonesia, one of the best places in the world for street food - Luxury Escapes
Street food vendor, Indonesia.

From pop-up night markets on the islands of Bali, Lombok and Flores to permanent marketplaces in cities like Jakarta and Surabaya, a world of flavour awaits in Indonesia. Wander the streets and you’ll find markets overflowing with fresh tropical fruit – think sweet mangoes, brilliant purple dragon fruit, bunches of baby bananas and the contentious durian, known for its pungent smell.  

When your stomach starts to rumble, Indonesia’s unofficial national dish, nasi goreng, is available on almost every corner. Laden with succulent prawns, juicy pieces of chicken and topped with a fried egg, this is fried rice like you’ve never experienced before – complete with grilled satay skewers, prawn crackers and a side salad. When you’ve had your fill of nasi goreng, sample slow-cooked rendang (a dry beef curry), martabak (stuffed sweet or savoury pancakes), mi goreng (fried noodles) and gado gado (bean sprouts, tofu and tempe topped with peanut sauce). 


Taiyaki in Japan, one of the world's best street food destinations - Luxury Escapes
Taiyaki, a fish-shaped cake with sweet red bean paste, Japan.

In Japan, each street corner offers a unique experience, from the labyrinthine lanes of Golden Gai, where over 200 cozy bars and eateries serve sizzling yakitori and ice-cold beers, to lively temple markets where vendors sell warm cups of amazake and bread filled with Japanese curry and cheese.

Osaka holds the undisputed crown when it comes to Japanese street food. The local motto "kuidadore," which translates to "eat until you drop," serves as the guiding ethos for residents, leaving a palpable mark on the entire city. Tiny stalls come alive at night, filling the air with the intoxicating aroma of Kansai-style okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), crispy karaage (fried chicken) and stir-fried yakisoba (fried noodles). Follow your nose and be rewarded with rich bowls of ramen, perfectly formed onigiri (rice balls) and delicious takoyaki (octopus-filled pancake balls).  


Kimberly Street Food Night Market, Malaysia, one of the world's best destinations for street food - Luxury Escapes
Kimberly Street Food Night Market, Malaysia.

Lovers of spice will fare well in the markets of Malaysia. Much like neighbouring Singapore, Malaysia’s cuisine is a fusion of traditional flavours with Chinese and Indian influences, reflecting the country’s rich multicultural heritage. Visit Kuala Lumpur and stroll through Chinatown’s Petaling Street Market and the iconic Jalan Alor Food Street, where stalls overflow with char kway teow (stir-fried noodles), curry laksa and grilled satay skewers. 

In the north, Penang Island is a foodie hotspot. As night falls, the graffitied streets come alive with street carts churning bowls of curry laksa, wonton noodle soup and curry mee (yellow curry noodle soup). At stalls across the country, South Indian favourites are also readily available, including roti canai (flaky flatbread), masala dosa (thin crepes stuffed with spiced potato) and banana leaf curry. Complete your meal with a refreshing cendol – shaved ice topped with green jelly noodles, coconut milk and palm sugar – a welcome treat in the Malaysian humidity. 


Taco stall in Mexico, one of the world's best destinations for street food - Luxury Escapes
Tostadas food stall, Mexico.

Mexican street food is a vibrant tapestry of piquant flavours made primarily from corn, chillies and beans. This delicious cuisine caters to all appetites – carnivores will rejoice in marinated al pastor (pork) tacos, rich birria stew sandwiched between soft corn tortillas and the irresistible crunch of chicharrones (fried pork rinds), while vegetarians will delight in eloté (roasted corn), savoury tamales (stuffed corn dumplings) and crispy molotes (deep fried corn tortillas). Of course, no Mexican street food adventure is complete without a churro – crispy fried dough sticks tossed in cinnamon and sugar.  

Destinations like Mexico City and Oaxaca are renowned for their street food, with the latter offering a treasure trove of local specialties: empanadas de amarillo (savoury pastries), tlayudas (pizza-like tortillas stuffed with beans, meat and Oaxacan cheese) and nieves (a traditional local ice cream). Arguably the most thrilling aspect of Mexican street food lies in its vibrant salsas - every vendor harbors a secret recipe, resulting in a salsa experience that's distinctly individual with each bite.

South Korea

South Korean skewers, one of the best destinations for street food - Luxury Escapes
South Korean street food, South Korea.

A delicious fusion of tradition and innovation, South Korea’s street food offerings are varied and plentiful. In Seoul, the country’s shiny capital, stalls overflow with crispy kimchi pancakes and bubbling pots of tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), a local favourite known for its fiery kick. Korean fried chicken, a global phenomenon, takes centre stage with its juicy, crispy perfection, tossed in your choice of sweet or spicy sauces.

For a sweet treat, try hotteok, a warm pancake filled with brown sugar and cinnamon, or the ever-popular egg bread, a mini loaf of fluffy bread with an egg inside. Meat-eaters won't be disappointed as illustrious Korean barbecue spills out onto the streets in the form of sizzling skewers, while roasted sweet potatoes offer a comforting vegetarian snack, particularly tasty on a chilly winter night. 


Bubble tea in a night market in Taiwan, one of the world's best destinations for street food - Luxury Escapes
Bubble tea, Taiwan.

So much more than just the birthplace of bubble tea, Taiwan is brimming with night markets, food stalls and vendors offering fresh fruit juice, grilled corn cobs, xiao long bao (soup dumplings), oyster omelettes, bao buns and much more.

Taipei is home to an astounding number of markets, from the hugely popular Shilin Night Market, a foodie favourite, to the lesser-known Jingmei Night Market, popular among locals. While each market has unique stalls and specialties, most will offer a selection of barbecued meat, pajeon (spring onion pancakes), fried chicken cutlets and hu jiao bing (black pepper buns). Finish with a peanut ice cream roll and you’ll have experienced a true taste of Taiwan.  

Still hungry? Elevate your next adventure with these Luxury Bucket List Experiences for Foodies. 

About Ashleigh Whitehill
Ash is a travel and food writer, who has always dreamed of saying that! When she's not crafting compelling copy, Ash can be found travelling through south east Asia, with a coffee in one hand and a book in the other.

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