Your Tastebuds Will Love These Weirdly Good Asian Snack Foods | CoolJapan

The world may have its barriers — literal or language-wise — but if there's one thing we all universally enjoy, it is, without a doubt, food. This is why besides culture-tripping and sightseeing, travelling wouldn't be complete without a thrilling gastronomic experience. But while some steer closer to delicacies that are somewhat familiar, nothing beats the excitement of treating your tastebuds to something unique and maybe even bizarre, but still nothing short of being scrumptious.

So as fellow foodies who wouldn't want you missing the goods on your next trip, we decided to line up some weirdly good Asian snack foods that will have your brows raising but your tummies rumbling. 

Matcha ramen and gyoza (Japan)

Love matcha? Then a visit to Uji in Kyoto is a must-do for you. Besides heading to Byodoin Temple, which is a landmark found at the back of the 10 yen and visiting Omotesando to bask in many matcha tea shops and restaurants, make sure you also give matcha takoyaki and gyoza a try. The sound of both may drive even the most matcha-loving people away, but you would be surprised at how subtle but noticeable the flavour is.

The thing is, for the ramen, it's not exactly the soup that's spiked with matcha but the noodles, giving it a nice grainy texture reminiscent of soba. The matcha gyoza, on the other hand, is still as snackable as ever, and you can even enhance the flavour by sprinkling on some matcha salt. So much for matcha, right? 

Sau Rieng Chien Gion (Vietnam)

Every country has a native fruit that is worth bragging about. The Philippines have their mangoes, Japan has their plump strawberries, and Vietnam has durian. While the fruit may be popular in other regions as well, durian in Vietnam is specifically a must-try because of its incredible taste, vivid yellow colour, and distinct quality. But you know how they say everything is better when fried? Apparently, the same goes with Sau Rieng Chien Gion.

Roughly translated as 'crispy fried durian,' its just as straightforward as it sounds: plump, yellow durian strips are covered with a layer of rice flour and fried in boiling hot oil. Once the durian pops out a bit, it's ready to serve. Many places in Vietnam from Nguyen Chi Thanh Street, Nguyen Van Cu Street, and more sell these treats along with durian pancakes and cakes so you'll definitely have your fill of the fruit through the duration of your travel.

Songkaya Fak Thong (Thailand)

Even if we don't have Thanksgiving over at this region, we're already aware of pumpkin pie being a staple in that occasion due to many Western films and TV shows. And chances are, you've always been curious as to what it tastes like. But what if we tell you there's one similar to it here in Asia that might just be a notch more flavourful? Thailand's Songkaya Fak Thong, also known as Thai Pumpkin Custard, is a take on squash that you might not be expecting.

Using the creamy texture of the pumpkin, combined with eggs, coconut milk, and more, this dessert delivers mouthwatering sweetness that's a perfect end to your course of meals. Often found in Hawker stands all over Thailand, make sure you give this a try the next time you're there. 

Cheng Tng (Singapore)

If you're a must-taste-everything type of person, then how about trying out something that has many rich flavours packed in one bowl? We're talking about having soup for dessert (yes, you read that right!) with Singapore's Cheng Tng. Originally sold to workers by the quay during the olden days, it is now a treat for everyone who wishes to take a time-out from SG's scorching weather.

Often served with gingko nuts, red dates, candied winter melons and dried persimmon submerged in 'soup' made from sugared water, this snack can be enjoyed either hot or cold depending on your preference. Next time you're in sunny Singapore, you might want to add this as an extra order next to your usual Hawker centre favourites. 

Balut (Philippines)

Filipinos love food and they'll make sure they share this relationship with you if you give them a chance. And aside from bragging about their world-renowned dishes like adobo and sinigang, if you're a foreigner, expect to be offered balut. Usually sold on streets along with other foods-on-sticks or sold by a street vendor at night to those craving for midnight snacks, it is actually a developing bird embryo (usually from ducks) that is boiled and eaten from the shell.

A lot of first-timers find it intimidating given that the embryo is usually developed to be almost ducklike at this stage, but consider it a rite-of-passage to all Filipino street foods and an experience really worth sharing once you get back to your home country. 

(Cover photo from: @icekk6605)

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