FOR THOSE in the know of the food business, a Michelin star is considered the highest restaurant standard.
Typically, Michelin restaurants feature the most luxurious and exquisite dining experiences around the world. One star represents a good restaurant worth stopping at if it’s along your path.
Two stars mean the restaurant is fantastic and three stars mean the restaurant is worth travelling out of your way for.
However, recently in Singapore, Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle, a food stall, has been awarded a Michelin star.
Its chef Chan Hon Meng works 17-hour days to serve his endless line of customers. At the stall, one can buy a plate of his award-winning food for just $2. Let’s check out a few cities known for their street-side offerings. The list is courtesy CNN…
Bangkok, Thailand: It’s impossible to avoid street food in Bangkok, where sidewalk vendors in different parts of the city operate on fixed rotation.
Some take care of the breakfast crowd with sweet soymilk and bean curd, others dish up fragrant rice and poached chicken for lunch. Late-night vendors offer everything from phad thai noodles to grilled satay.
Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo is home to more Michelin-starred restaurants than any city in the world. Full of ramen bars, sushi places and street food, Tokyo has more eateries per capita than any other city in the world.
If you find yourself in the middle of Tokyo, don’t just go experiencing Japan’s best restaurants. Get out of your comfort zone and try some of its street food too. You will find some of the most delicious dishes ever.
Honolulu, Hawaii: Hawaiian food is a creative mishmash of cuisines, combining local traditions with the culinary tastes of successive waves of migrants from mainland US, Asia and Latin America.
The result includes an array of raw fish salads known as poke (poh-kay), as easily available as a sandwich in other cities. Tuna and octopus are the two most typical options, prepared with flavours inspired by everything from kimchi to ceviche.
Durban, South Africa: Perhaps it’s because of Durban’s lovely year-round weather, or maybe it’s the Indian influence, but the city is southern Africa’s reigning street food champ.
Local culture and cuisine is a blend sourced from Zulu, Indian and white South Africans, who each bring a little something to the mix. The city is known for its curries.
New Orleans, Louisiana: There’s a saying in Louisiana that the gas stations serve better food than some of the country’s finest restaurants.
For locals, street food first conjures images of the once-ubiquitous Lucky Dog cart, made famous (or more aptly, infamous) in A Confederacy of Dunces, a picaresque novel by American novelist John Kennedy Toole that appeared in 1980.
That’s certainly an experience, but closer to the mark is a plate lunch, served up at gas stations and convenience stores.
Istanbul, Turkey: The most recognisable Turkish street food is probably simit, a cross between a bagel and a pretzel. Freshly baked, dipped in molasses and crusted with sesame seeds, it entices snackers to push-carts all over Istanbul, whose street food offerings stretch far beyond. Because so many people from around Turkey and the region migrate to the city, Istanbul’s sidewalks are a walkable sampler platter.
Hong Kong, China: For a city where scouring an entire district and eating street foods—or sou gaai (street-sweeping) in local lingo—is considered a preferred weekend activity, it’s no surprise that Michelin decided to launch its first-ever street food guide in Hong Kong.
Paris, France: Dining in Paris can be an experience in itself. On a cold day, nothing’s more welcome than the appearance of street vendors roasting chestnuts and crêpes. Crêpes can be restaurant fare, but finding it on the streets around Montparnasse is even better.
Mexico City, Mexico: People used to Tex-Mex north of the border often don’t know what to expect when they order Mexican food in Mexico.
It’s practically a different cuisine. Even the humblest taco stand in Mexico City has fresh tortillas and grilled meats, or tlacoyos (fatter than tortillas), topped with favas, cheese and a dollop of green salsa.
In recent years, interest in native Mexican cuisine has exploded, making use of indigenous ingredients.
Cairo, Egypt: Some Egyptian street food has become takeaway fare internationally, with falafel, shawarma and kofta evolving into being part of the global urban snack experience.
In Cairo, there’s still a world of other dishes to sample that haven’t yet made their way overseas. Koshary mixes rice, pasta, lentils and chickpeas, topped with a vinegary-tomato sauce.
Throw some fried onions on top for good measure and it’s the tasty essence of street food.