A trio of Southeast Asian cities took the top spots in a ranking of the top 10 street food cities, with Bangkok, Thailand emerging as the best in the world, notably for its variety and abundance of options. In a virtual trip around the world, members and editors at travel website VirtualTourist.com gave top marks to the Thai capital for its offerings like Pad Thai, green papaya salads, mango sticky rice, and chicken with green curry.
VirtualTourist.com is a user-generated travel site which, as of 2008, has been part of the TripAdvisor Media Group and counts 1.2 million registered members from 220 countries around the world. Members recommend Soi Rambuttri in the old district of Bangkok for street fare, as well as Soi 38 near Sukumvit for its evening food markets which are open until 3 am.
In second place was Singapore for its hybrid gastronomy ranging from Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan fare (Chinese and Malaysian), and its reliably safe and hygienic street food stalls. Specialties to try in Singapore include Hainanese Chicken Rice — steamed chicken with a ‘jelly-like’ layer and rice, cucumbers, chilies and pounded ginger; chili crabs — in a garlicky, fiery paste; and laksa — a spicy Peranakan noodle soup.
Rounding out the top three street food cities was Penang, Malaysia, for its multicultural cuisine. Like Singapore, food is heavily influenced by Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures. Foods to try include Char kway teow — stir-fried noodles, a tart, hot and sour fish soup called assam laksa, and satays of beef, chicken and pork.
Meanwhile, travel guide Frommer’s named Bangkok, Tel Aviv and Istanbul as the top street food destinations in the world.
Here are the top 10 best street food cities in the world, according to VirtualTourist.com:
1. Bangkok, Thailand
3. Penang, Malaysia
4. Marrakech, Morocco
5. Palermo, Sicily
6. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
7. Istanbul, Turkey
8. Mexico City, Mexico
9. Brussels, Belgium
10. Beachside Ceviche in Ambergris Caye, Belize