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These Are 9 of the Best Food Cities in Asia [2023]

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Lori Zaino
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Lori Zaino

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Lori is an intrepid traveler who loves creating itineraries that exude “luxe on a budget.” She’s written for CNN, NBC, The Infatuation, and more, and loves to muse about points-fueled trips to Sri Lan...
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Asian food is some of the most delicious in the world. Thanks to a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, endless rice paddies, unique spices, and surprising flavors, traveling to Asia just to eat is the perfect way to absorb the continent’s incredible culture.

The continent has an incredible number of countries and cities, each with its own cuisine and ways of eating, from the hawker stalls in Singapore to Tokyo’s Michelin-star restaurants and spicy curries in the metropolises of India.

In this article, we will take a trip across Asia to the continent’s most famous food cities. On the way, we’ll look at what to eat in each city and the best food tours, restaurants, and street food to try while you’re there.

What To Know About Eating in Asia

Tucking into a fantastic meal in Asia is undoubtedly an incredible experience, but there are some things you should know before you do. Following our tips, you can avoid making cultural faux pas or getting ill in a foreign country.

Cultural Norms and Dining Etiquette

Dining etiquette varies by country, region, and city in Asia, so it’s important to do some research before traveling. For example, eating with your hands may be rude in certain areas, but in others, you may not even have the option to use utensils. Check beforehand if tipping is common, and make sure you understand the proper cultural norms, especially if you’re eating in someone’s home.

Food Safety

Although different countries have different levels of food hygiene, a good rule of thumb (mainly when eating street food) is to not drink tap water and to skip raw vegetables. Use your best discretion when eating in Asia — if there’s a long line and the food looks delicious, go for it. If the meat looks like it’s been sitting out in the sun all day and no one is lining up to order, skip it. Be especially cautious when ordering things like shellfish or drinking liquids with ice, too.

Packing some stomach meds in your suitcase is a good idea, too, as well as having a travel insurance policy in case you fall ill when abroad.

These Are the 9 Best Places To Eat in Asia

Whether it’s India, Southeast Asia, or South Korea, you’ll find the most delicious cuisine in these cities in Asia.

1. The Best Food in Bangkok, Thailand

Pad Thai
Pad thai is one of Bangkok’s most beloved dishes. Image Credit: Chris Tweten via Pixabay

Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is one of the most interesting foodie cities in Asia, home to some of the best street food in the world and one of the cheapest Michelin-star restaurants out there (yes — it’s a food stall!).

What To Eat in Bangkok

Bangkok’s most famous foods include the peanut-flavored noodle dish pad thai, spicy tom yum goong shrimp soup, crab omelets, som tam (papaya salad), and mango with sticky rice. Bangkok’s flavors range from sour to sweet to spicy (sometimes, you’ll get this all in 1 bite).

Street Food in Bangkok

There are so many incredible spots to get street food in Bangkok that it’s hard to pick just a few. Most night markets have their fair share of street food, as well as the vendors that line backpacking hub Khao San Road and Victory Monument, known for its famous boat noodles. Yaorawat (Chinatown in Bangkok) isn’t for the faint of heart, featuring lots of barbecued street food and bustling crowds of locals. Meanwhile, beginners should head to Soi Prachum Market or Bangrak, where most vendors speak English and cater to foreigners.

Chatuchak Weekend Market is one of the best food markets in the capital, where hungry shoppers — in addition to eating — can also get all sorts of souvenirs and trinkets to take home and experience authentic street-market culture in Thailand.

And of course, don’t miss Jay Fai, a Michelin-star street food hub, where septuagenarian Jay Fai dons her famous goggles and cooks up delights like crab omelets and stir-fry noodles (just be prepared to wait in line).

Best Restaurants in Bangkok

Though some of Bangkok’s best food is decidedly low-brow, if you’re craving a creative tasting menu, there are spots in the Thai capital that fit the bill. There’s new-age Indian cuisine at Gaggan Anand (tasting menus start at nearly $400 per person), one of the world’s 50 best restaurants in 2023.

“Top Chef Thailand” winner Chef Tam Chudaree Debhakam’s restaurant Baan Tepa has various tasting menu options featuring modern twists on traditional Thai cuisine that start at $125 per person, as well as drinks and snacks in the restaurant’s garden courtyard.

For more affordable cuisine, stop at Som Tum Der for a spicy papaya salad or Isaan dishes that hail from the northeastern area of Thailand, like spicy sour mango salad with crispy fish.

Best Food Tours in Bangkok

Bangkok is a massive city filled with street food, meaning that all kinds of food tours abound. Families may enjoy the cuisine at a floating market and railway market tour. Couples or groups of friends may prefer a midnight tuk-tuk foodie tour or a small-group Old Siam Bangkok food tour, which includes over 15 different tastings, from steamed fish curry to Hokkien noodles.

Hot Tip:

Heading to Bangkok? Besides the Thai capital’s first Marriott Autograph Collection property, Maidi Paidi Bangkok, check out our top picks for the best luxury hotels in Bangkok and the best boutique hotels in Bangkok.

2. The Best Food in Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi street food
The small plastic tables Hanoi street eateries feature make dining in this Vietnamese city memorable. Image Credit: Thomas G. via Pixabay

Hanoi’s gastronomy is one of the most unique in the world — namely because one can enjoy it from tiny plastic chairs and tables that feel more like toddler toys than adult seating arrangements. But that’s just it: There’s nothing else like inhaling a piping hot bún chả (chargrilled pork with noodles) with your legs awkwardly splayed beneath a blue plastic table while admiring local food vendors transporting massive amounts of produce on the back of a motorcycle or bike.

What To Eat in Hanoi

We’ve already mentioned the delicious bún chả, but phở is a must when in Hanoi — we recommend the phở bò (beef), which many locals eat for breakfast. Those who prefer more Western flavors and styles should opt for bánh mì, a Vietnamese sandwich inspired by the city’s French colonial period. Don’t leave without sampling chả cá (catfish marinated in turmeric), and when that afternoon drop hits, indulge in a famous Vietnamese egg coffee made with egg yolk and condensed milk.

Street Food in Hanoi

It’s easy to find tasty street food all over Hanoi, but visitors should start by heading to the famous food strip Tống Duy Tân, home to food stalls, karaoke bars, and late-night dives. More seasoned foodies or travelers can also brave the more local Trung Yen Alley in search of bites like bún riêu (crab noodles) or bún ngan (noodles with wild duck).

For the best phở, head to Pho Bat Dan Hanoi, a street eatery that serves a couple of versions of their signature dish — beef phở — for just a few dollars. If it’s bún chả you’re after, famous people like President Barack Obama have sat in the plastic chairs at Bún Chả Hương Liên to sample the iconic pork and noodle dishes.

Best Restaurants in Hanoi

Restaurant culture in Hanoi is basically street food, but there are options if you’d prefer to sit in adult-size chairs. For phở, head to Phở Thìn, which trades mini-tables for metal picnic-style benches and tables, serving up its specialty for decades: beef phở.

Head upstairs and admire the hustle and bustle of Hanoi’s sleepless streets at Don Duck, a restaurant in the Old Quarter specializing in duck, from roasted to braised to duck spring rolls and so much more.

For a more elevated experience, Chapter Grill offers a culinary journey of Vietnamese traditions, with tasting menus starting at around $115, featuring items like duck breast marinated in rice wine and a rack of lamb with fermented tofu and black garlic.

Best Food Tours in Hanoi

Hanoi’s narrow streets and crazy motorbike drivers can make finding the best street food a harrowing process. Take a small group food tour with a local foodie who can introduce you to all the most famous street food from all the best places.

For a one-of-a-kind local experience, consider a food tour with Hanoi Kids. This particular organization is made up of Hanoi college students who want to get to know new people and work on improving their English. These free tours are often in high demand, so book early.

Hot Tip:

Planning a future trip to Vietnam? Marriott is opening 7 new hotels in Vietnam by 2028. Follow this step-by-step guide to fly between the U.S. and Vietnam using points and miles.

3. Best Food in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Waffles
You may not associate Hong Kong with sweet food, but the city’s egg waffles are famous. Image Credit: N C via Unsplash

Although Hong Kong’s cuisine features a lot of Cantonese flavors, this city has anything and everything when it comes to food, with its most traditional dishes also influenced by Japanese, Korean, Southeast Asia, and even European cultures, as Hong Kong was once a British colony and continues to be an international port. With nearly 100 Michelin-star restaurants, plenty of street food, and everything in between, dining in Hong Kong offers a dazzling amount of culinary experiences — from fancy to no-frills — for every type of traveler.

What To Eat in Hong Kong

From Portuguese egg tarts to milk tea to fish balls, Hong Kong’s most popular foods have a wide range of styles, textures, and flavors. Dim sum (dumplings) are widely consumed by locals, as well as fish balls, congee, roast duck and goose, red bean puddings, and steamed noodles. Western influences have made things like egg tarts, pineapple buns, egg waffles, and milk tea exceptionally popular in the city.

Street Food in Hong Kong

Some of the best items to get on the street in Hong Kong are sweet, from the aforementioned tarts and buns to sweet tofu pudding. However, you can also enjoy savory items like wonton, spicy fish balls, and noodles from numerous street stalls around the city. Shau Kei Wan Main Street East, Tai On Building, and Yau San Street are the best areas for those searching for tasty, affordable street food.

Best Restaurants in Hong Kong

Of course, you can opt for a fancy Michelin-star restaurant (go big with a meal at 3-star T’Ang Court, a classic Cantonese restaurant in The Langham hotel) or street food while in Hong Kong, but some of the mid-range, sit-down restaurants offer some of the best food in the city.

For the best dim sum in Hong Kong, opt for Tim Ho Wan. Once the cheapest restaurant boasting a Michelin star, the eatery has expanded to destinations worldwide, but the best ones are still in Hong Kong. For a typical roast goose, head to Yat Lok near Central Market. If you’re hunting for the best wonton noodles, choose Mak’s Noodle and order the signature shrimp noodles, steaming hot and packed with flavor.

And for something really original, dine overwater at Shun Kee Typhoon Shelter Seafood, where you can enjoy a meal aboard a traditional sampan boat.

Best Food Tours in Hong Kong

There are so many different areas in Hong Kong for street food, but the city comes alive with local flavors at night. A night food tour with a local guide is one of the best ways to absorb Hong Kong’s bustling evenings and taste some of the city’s most famous foods. A tour through Central and Sheung Wan — some of the best food areas in town — is also an interesting way to understand more about the city’s food culture and unique history.

4. The Best Food in Penang, Malaysia

char kway teow Penang
Char kway teow is one of the most famous dishes in Penang, Malaysia, especially at street food stalls. Image Credit: Krystal Ng via Unsplash

Penang is home to diverse cultures, making eating there a unique experience. After all, few destinations in the world feature equal amounts of Indian, Chinese, and Malay cuisine. One of the more underrated spots on this list, Penang is often overshadowed by Singapore’s grand variety and hawker-stall culture or Bangkok’s iconic street markets. But for those who want to indulge in food like roti, noodles, stir fry, and Malay curries, Penang is the spot.

What To Eat in Penang

Char kway teow (flat, stir-fried rice noodles) is one of the city’s most popular dishes, in addition to curry mee, a spicy noodle soup. Another famous dish is nasi lemak, rice cooked in coconut milk with pandan leaves. On the Indian side of things, biryani (rice, meat, and spices) and roti chanai (Indian flatbread) are favorites in Penang. For something sweet, halwa maskat, made from wheat flour and ghee, is a beloved dessert with Arabic roots.

Street Food in Penang

Street food and street art go hand in hand in Penang, especially in the George Town neighborhood. For those looking for the vibes of a hawker center, Cecil Street Market has plenty of street food under a single roof. You’ll find stands serving up all the favorites above, as well as lor bak, a type of pork roll. Red Garden Food Paradise is another hawker center worth visiting, and Gurney Drive, a seafront promenade, is the ideal place to get tasty seafood dishes. Super Hokkien Mee is one of the most famous hawker stalls for sampling hokkien mee, a soupy pork and noodle dish that you can get for less than $2.

But perhaps the best way to enjoy street food is simply to wander the streets admiring the famous murals and stopping at stands with tasty-looking delights.

Best Restaurants in Penang

Start with a delicious breakfast of pastries at Ghee Hiang, a bakery with nearly 2 centuries of history. Pair crumbly Tambun bean paste biscuits with coffee, and take home a bottle of the bakery’s famous sesame oil.

Then, opt for an Indian-inspired lunch with clay pot rice and tandoori chicken at Kapitan. Dinner could mean wandering around at a food market and tasting whatever looks appealing. However, for something fancier, try Auntie Gaik Lean’s Old School Eatery, a restaurant with 1 Michelin star that features dishes like egg belanada, a sweet and sour egg stew. Or, for seafood, head to Song River Cafe on a quieter stretch of Gurney Drive to get its specialty, the steamed fish bihun.

Best Food Tours in Penang

Penang’s street art makes it an incredible place to experience cuisine and culture in 1 walking tour. The Heritage on a Plate Walking Tours are in small-group format, so you’ll receive personal attention, sampling street food and learning about Penang’s melting pot of history and gastronomic culture. The family-friendly street food tours from local guide Simply Enak provide insight into the city’s former Chinese clan culture, street art, and Indian temples while guiding you to some of Penang’s best street food stalls.

Hot Tip:

It’s true that many street stalls only accept cash, so it’s a solid plan to exchange money or take cash out of a local ATM upon arrival. However, if you are visiting a restaurant that accepts credit cards, make sure to use a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees and one that offers bonus points for dining at restaurants, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (both earn 3x points on dining).

5. The Best Food in Seoul, South Korea

Korean food
Bibimbap and kimchi are some of Seoul’s best foodie offerings. Image Credit: Jakub Kapusnak via Unsplash

Seoul is a bustling, innovative city with cuisine that’s evolved over the years to match its dynamism. Although the city has lots of fine dining and Western eateries, Seoul’s food culture is just as much about street markets and street food. Expect to enjoy strong and seasonal flavors, whether you’re eating on the go or sitting down for a fancy meal. From Korean fried chicken to tteokbokki, here’s everything you need to know about eating in Seoul.

What To Eat in Seoul

We already mentioned Korean fried chicken and tteokbokki (simmered rice cakes). Still, those looking for a dose of veg during their travels should try kimchi, a selection of fermented vegetables like cabbage, which is high in probiotics. Don’t miss Korean BBQ and kimbap, which is Seoul’s version of sushi. Bibimbap is another popular dish worth trying in Seoul. It features rice, meat or seafood, and vegetables and is often topped with a raw egg.

Street Food in Seoul

Hotteok, Korean pancakes, odeng (fish-cake skewers), and the tteokbokki are popular foods to grab on the go. Some of the best food markets in Seoul to pick up these eats are the Gwangjang Market and the Bamdokkaebi Night Market. Myeongdong also has some of the best street food stalls in the Korean capital. Adventurous foodies should head to the Noryangjin Fish Market to sample sannakji, small octopus strips served raw.

Best Restaurants in Seoul

One of the top restaurants in Seoul for Korean fried chicken is Kyochon, a local chain where you can choose the parts of the chicken you’d like topped with your preferred sauce. For the best kimchi, head to Myeongdong Kyoja, a simple eatery with just a few things on the menu, including steamed dumplings and kimchi.

Eunjujeong is another spot kimchi fans should try, as the restaurant serves only that during lunch. Hwangsaengga Kalguksu is the place to go for hand-cut noodles, and if you want to eat at one of the oldest restaurants in Seoul, head to Imun Seolnongtang, famous for comfort dish bone broth.

Best Food Tours in Seoul

Some of Seoul’s top culinary gems and food stalls are difficult to find, so a tour of the secret foodie alleyways can help visitors find all the hidden spots for street food. A guided walk through the Gwangjang Market is a perfect introduction to Seoul’s food culture, and a Korean cooking class means you’ll learn to prepare some of the most famous dishes yourself.

6. The Best Food in Singapore

Lau Pa Sat Singapore
Singapore’s hawker culture is famous. Image Credit: Ethan Hu via Unsplash

Food culture in Singapore is particularly unique. Although the country is tiny at less than 300 square miles, the many flavors that make up Singapore’s food scene come from various cultures, such as Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Eurasian, Western, and so many others. Although Singapore is known for its famous hawker stalls, it also has some must-visit, highly-rated restaurants, and you shouldn’t forget to eat dessert in the city, as sweets are a favorite of locals.

What To Eat in Singapore

Some of Singapore’s most popular culinary delights include laksa, a spicy noodle dish that combines Chinese and Malay flavors, Hainanese chicken rice, chili crab, and bak chor mee, a dish of wonton noodles and pork. Some might argue that the best dish in Singapore is fish head curry, a famous dish for those brave enough to try it, featuring a red snapper fish head stewed in curry, an homage to Indian and Chinese cultures. Top it off with desserts like pandan cakes (made with pandan leaves), mango pudding, or grass jelly.

Best Street Food in Singapore

Singapore’s hawker centers are a way of life among locals and tourists. They began as an effort to keep the streets clean, moving the street stalls to safer and more hygienic spots: hawker centers. Nowadays, they’re the city’s life force, attracting visitors and feeding hungry locals day after day. 

Lau Pa Sat is probably Singapore’s most famous food market, formerly the city’s first wet market. Hong Lim Market & Food Centre is in Chinatown, featuring around 100 stalls. Anyone searching for halal options should head to Adam Road Food Centre across from the Singapore Botanical Gardens, which has halal-certified choices (note that this hawker market is closed through December 2023 for renovations).

Best Restaurants in Singapore

While enjoying the vibrant hawker culture is a wonderful way to experience this Asian destination, those looking for a more traditional, sit-down dining experience can also find it in spades in Singapore. One of the best Michelin-star restaurants in Singapore is Burnt Ends, a BBQ restaurant with a mantra that says: “Magic comes from cooking with wood.” Another Michelin-star favorite is Meta, which combines Western and Asian flavors to create dishes like abalone with lily bulb.

For laksa, opt for 328 Katong Laksa, where the founder perfected her laksa recipe for 6 months before opening the spot. And if it’s chili crab you’re after, head to Jumbo Seafood, famous for its chili and black pepper crab.

Best Food Tours in Singapore

Singapore’s food culture is firmly rooted in the many cultures of the city-state’s local population. Learn more with a guided half-day hawker stall tour of Singapore’s Chinese, Indian, and Malay quarters. A bike and bites food tour means you can explore via 2 wheels and have the opportunity to discover some off-the-beaten-path foodie spots along with the most popular ones.

Hot Tip:

7. The Best Food in Tokyo, Japan

Ramen in Tokyo
Ramen is one of the most delicious and comforting meals in Tokyo. Image Credit: Frank from 5 AM Ramen via Pixabay

Tokyo has some of the best restaurants in Asia. It’s home to over 200 restaurants that boast at least 1 Michelin star, a thriving cocktail and craft-beer scene, traditional shōjin ryōri (the vegan cuisine consumed by Buddhist monks), bustling food halls, yatais (food carts), kaiseki (small dishes) culture, and, last but certainly not least, sushi and ramen.

It’s no wonder Anthony Bourdain once stated in an interview that if he had to eat in just 1 city for the rest of his life, it would be Tokyo. Thanks to its culinary diversity and passion for creative gastronomy, we’re inclined to say the same.

What To Eat in Tokyo

The best food in Tokyo ranges from soba (Japanese noodles) to tempura to yakitori (grilled chicken) and monjayaki (a batter-fried pancake). Many chefs focus on the concept of shokunin — translated as “artisan.” This is the idea that the focus should be on just 1 thing done in the most exquisite way possible. This means you’ll find a lot of restaurants, food carts, and bars that specialize in a specific dish, drink, or style of cuisine. And if you don’t want to feel like a crass tourist, it’s best to master using those chopsticks before you arrive.

Best Street Food in Tokyo

The best street food in Tokyo, or yatai, as the locals call it, may not have the same lengthy history as other Asian hubs, but there’s still plenty to choose from. Street food is surprisingly tasty from convenience stores (this may be the only destination in the world where getting a quick meal at 7-Eleven is actually a cultural phenomenon).

Yanaka Ginza is ideal for sweet snacks and desserts, and Daikanyama, known as Tokyo’s Brooklyn, is home to hidden street food spots nestled among cool coffee shops. Oyama Happy Road is one of the city’s longest streets, perfect for shopping and snacks. And, of course, don’t forget to visit Tokyo’s best food market (just as amazing for looking and learning versus tasting), the Tsukiji Outer Market.

Best Restaurants in Tokyo

With more than 60,000 restaurants, narrowing down the city’s best dining establishments is tough. Tokyo has more Michelin-star restaurants than any other city in the world, so it’s the ideal place for fine dining. It’s also just as enticing to head to dinner at a hidden spot that specializes in sushi, ramen, or yakitori.

For ramen, opt for Ichiran Shibuya, famous for its secret recipe spicy red sauce, which contains togarashi pepper and more than 30 other spices. Sushi lovers should plan to queue up before dawn to wait for a table at Sushi Dai for a sushi breakfast, while those who prefer a Michelin-star sushi splurge should opt for the fancier Sushi Saito. Another Michelin-star favorite is Tempura Kondo, which specializes in ultra-light tempura.

Best Food Tours in Tokyo

The Tsukiji Outer Market is one of the most revered food markets in the world, where more than 1,500 tons of seafood can be sold on any given day. Tour the market with a guide, then put your newfound seafood knowledge to work at a sushi-making class. Enjoy both food and drinks with an evening tour of the Shinjuku Golden Gai neighborhood, home to more bars per square meter than any other area.

8. The Best Food in Taipei, Taiwan

xiao long bao
Xiao long bao is one of Taipei’s most beloved dishes. Image Credit: Ritesh Thapa via Pixabay

Taipei wins the award for most underrated foodie city, as it’s often overlooked in lieu of Michelin-star destinations like Tokyo or Singapore’s hawker stalls. After all, stinky tofu doesn’t have the best image (or scent). But, we promise, this foodie city just may surprise you. The city’s gastronomy is more complex than you might think, with influences coming from early Fujianese and Hakka communities, Japan, and even Western cultures like Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese, as well as other Chinese influences.

Taipei also has some of the most iconic night markets in the world, the perfect places to dig into the city’s street food delights and shop for all sorts of wares.

What To Eat in Taipei

Despite the infamous scent of stinky tofu, this Taipei favorite actually has a relatively mild taste, typically soft and juicy. If that doesn’t seem appealing, the city has plenty of other dishes on offer. Visitors should eat braised beef noodle soup, pastries made from pineapple or red bean, scallion pancakes, and of course, the world-famous xiao long bao — steamed buns. Bubble tea is a delicious drink every Taipei visitor should try.

Best Street Food in Taipei

Taipei is home to some of the best night markets in Asia, buzzing with food stalls and vendors anxious to sell their dishes. The largest and most popular is Shilin, where sprawling alleyways give way to the market building, with more than 500 food stalls on the first basement level. Other night markets worth visiting include Raohe, Shida, Ningxia, Tonghua, Ximending, and Huaxi, among many others.

Best Restaurants in Taipei

You’ve probably already heard of Din Tai Fung, which now has locations worldwide. Still, it’s worth going to the original location on Xinyi Road for xiao long bao, though there are several other locations throughout Taipei.

For a fine dining experience, Raw has made the “50 Best” list in past years, applying the following principles to Taiwanese cuisine: “salt, texture, memory, purity, terroir, south, artisan, and uniqueness.” Ay-Chung has some of the best flour noodles in town, and Addiction Aquatic Development is a food space that feels like a combination of a wet market, supermarket, bar, and restaurant, all in one. While you can pick up bubble tea all around the city, TP Tea has some of the tastiest teas, with flavors like oat black, white gourd, pearl milk, ginger, lemon, and many others.

Best Food Tours in Taipei

It’s easy to explore Taipei’s night markets on your own, but going with a local guide can help you get the most out of the experience. A private, guided tour of the Shilin Night Market means you’ll get a personalized experience and insider tips and will know exactly where and what to eat.

Budding chefs can savor the tastes of Taiwanese cuisine back home after taking a xiao long bao, boba tea, and beef noodle cooking class, available for both vegetarians and meat lovers.

Hot Tip:

9. The Best Food in Mumbai, India

Mumbai food
Street food in Mumbai is widely available around the city. Image Credit: Shaurya Singh via Pixabay

Adventurous foodies should head straight to Mumbai, a destination that brings cuisine from all over India to one place: the busy city. Street food is plentiful, cheap, and adored by locals. It’s influenced by the massive influx of culinary cultures, including South Indian, Muslim, Himalayan, Gujarati, Goan, Parsi, and Maharashtrian, as well as from outside of India. From Persian cafes to signature thali (plate) restaurants to street food and sticky sweet desserts, Mumbai is ready and waiting for foodies to come and explore.

What To Eat in Mumbai

Some of Mumbai’s best dishes are snacks: pav bhaji and vada pav, vegetable curry with bread, and a deep-fried potato dumpling placed inside a bun, respectively. Akuri on toast puts basic scrambled eggs to shame — a bed of eggs with vegetables, chilis, cumin, and coriander on toasted bread. Bombay sandwiches are also favored among locals: cheese sandwiches with various chutneys, veggies, and spices. On the higher end, saffron biryani rice offers a fancier meal, with the coveted spice mixed with ghee and cooked in the traditional biryani rice.

Best Street Food in Mumbai

Crawford Market is a prime spot for sampling street food in Mumbai — you’ll find dishes like pav bhaji, vada pav, and Bombay sandwiches, as well as various curries, rice dishes, Seehk kebabs (a type of minced meat on a stick), and pani puri: a deep-fried shell filled with potatoes, onions, and chickpeas.

Khau gallis, which literally translates to food lanes, are located all around the city; some of the best places to find them are around colleges — where students congregate — or close to railway stations. The Anand Stall is one of the most famous places to snack on vada pav. Chowpatty Beach is another spot to enjoy the coastal vibes and discover delicious street food.

Best Restaurants in Mumbai

Mumbai is full of high-brow and low-brow contrasts, and the city’s food scene is no different. You can indulge in a street snack 1 night and enjoy reimagined Indian cuisine the next in a sleek, sophisticated setting at Noon, which offers 10-course vegetarian and non-vegetarian menus featuring dishes like lamb in Kashmiri chili sauce with fermented garlic and pumpkin kasundi or Khamiri roti with moringa. You can also get your curry on at Namak, which features authentic Indian cuisine in a stylish setting.

Best Food Tours in Mumbai

Mumbai’s pulsating energy and crowded streets can make finding the right street food feel a bit overwhelming. A guided street food tour can help you find the tastiest street food without the hassle of navigating and figuring out where to go. Even better, consider a curated “street food” experience in a local’s home, where you can learn how to cook some of Mumbai’s best vegetarian street food delights and get to know the people that make Mumbai’s foodie scene so special.

Final Thoughts

From perfect Michelin-star meals to chaotic night markets and slurping noodles from tiny plastic chairs, Asia has so many cities where gastronomy is part of the city’s image, culture, and history. Street food is a way of life for locals in many Asian hubs, and many of these destinations have emerging new chefs and innovative takes on food that are internationally recognized. Whether you’re eating dumplings in Hong Kong, noodles in Bangkok, or seafood in Tokyo, planning a trip to Asia centered around cuisine is an incredible way to become deeply familiar with the ins and outs of local culture.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the food capital of Asia?

Many say that Tokyo is the food capital of Asia, as it has thousands of restaurants and over 200 Michelin-starred restaurants. But Thailand is also a contender thanks to its famous street food. Don’t forget Taipei, either, with its incredible night markets.

Which country has the best food in Asia?

Some of the countries with the best food in Asia are Japan, Thailand, India, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Malaysia.

Which city has the best street food in Asia?

Bangkok, Thailand, has some of the best street food in Asia. From pad thai to papaya salads, noodles, and mango with sticky rice, there are so many delicious foods you can eat on the street in the Thai capital.

What are Asia's 3 food regions?

The different food regions of Asia are the southwest, the northeast, and the southeast. The southwest consists of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, while the northeast has countries like China, Korea, and Japan. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore make up the southeast section of Asia’s food regions. Within each country, region, city, and area, there are different styles of cooking and popular dishes.

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About Lori Zaino

Lori is an intrepid traveler who loves creating itineraries that exude “luxe on a budget.” She’s written for CNN, NBC, The Infatuation, and more, and loves to muse about points-fueled trips to Sri Lanka, Sicily, and Myanmar.

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