Hungry? If so, you may want to fix that before reading this article, lest you impulsively book a flight to Singapore or Kyoto.

Not only is Asia is home to some of the best food in the world, but it also has some of the best food markets. From the massive Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok to Seoul’s bustling Gwangjang Market, Asia’s markets can be a delight for (and sometimes a mild assault on) your senses.

Here are 10 of the best food markets in Asia.

1. Chatuchak Weekend Market
Bangkok, Thailand

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With over 15,000 stalls, Chatuchak Weekend Market (also called JJ Market and Bangkok Market) is one of the largest markets in the world. It sells everything from gemstones to clothing to live animals. There are also a large number of food stalls outside the market and little eateries within the market. Be sure to try the coconut ice cream and the thapthim krop, a famous Thai dessert made of water chestnuts in coconut milk. Try to go early to beat the worst of the crowds and the heat, drink lots of water, and watch your wallet; the market has a lot of pickpockets. It’s open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 6pm.

2. Temple Street Night Market
Hong Kong

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Spanning five blocks in the Yau Ma Tei, Jordan part of Temple Street, Temple Street Night Market is the liveliest market in Hong Kong. In addition to cheap clothing, pirated CDs, and appliances, the market offers a ton of delicious dai pai dong (open-air street stall) food. Some of the best street food is found on Woo Sung St., which runs parallel to the east, or to the part of Temple St. north of the temple. Here you can find a range of options, from a simple bowl of noodles to a large meal, as well as several seafood and hotpot restaurants.

3. Ameyoko Market
Tokyo, Japan

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Originally a black market that started during WWII, Ameyoko Market is largely known for its seafood. You can find fresh fish, cooked fish, and raw and cooked seafood like octopus, mollusks, and sea worms, which cost about half the price here as they do in the supermarket. Try the takoyaki (fried octopus dough balls) and chirashi (raw fish over rice). Ameyoko also sells cheap clothing, cosmetics, and other foods including fresh fruit, yakitori, halal kebab, and delicious matcha ice cream treats. It’s located along the Yamanote Line tracks between Okachimachi and Ueno Stations.

4. Ben Thanh Market
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

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Located in Ho Chi Minh’s District 1, Ben Thanh Market is the largest market in the city. It largely caters to tourists; as such, vendors sell clothing, souvenirs, and other typical market items. Ben Thanh has several food sections, as well. You can find fresh fruits and veggies, dried foods, and fresh meat and fish (in the mornings, at least). There are also lots of food stalls serving fresh Vietnamese food, and at night restaurants around the perimeter of the market open up, giving you lots of dining options.

Keep in mind that it gets hot so try to go early. Tip: If you’re shopping for souvenirs and other non-food items, start the bargaining at least half of what they suggest!

5. Shilin Night Market
Taipei, Taiwan

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Taipei is famous for its night markets, and one of the best, if not the best, is Shilin. With over 500 stalls, this market has everything you may want—and many things you probably don’t. Vendors sell a mixture of local, traditional, and international items, attracting both locals and tourists, and while you can find the usual housewares and clothing, the food is the real draw here. The air smells of stinky tofu (as it is often called in English), which, along with bubble tea, hot pot, and skewers of grilled meat, you should absolutely try.

Make sure to watch out for motorbikes weaving their way through the dense crowds!

6. Nishiki Market
Kyoto, Japan

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This centuries-old market is located in the heart of Kyoto. Sometimes referred to as “Kyoto’s kitchen,” Nishiki is an absolute paradise for Japanese food aficionados. It has traditionally attracted local homemakers and chefs who know the market well and patronize their regular shops, although it is increasingly attracting wide-eyed tourists who come to take in its unique sights, sounds, and smells. The covered market contains a few hundred shops (some, indeed, the size of a kitchen) crammed into a 400-meter stretch of road.

Be sure to check out Kyotanba, known for its chestnuts; Hale (075-231-2516) for its with delicious tofu; Uchida for its pickled vegetables; and Miki Keiran, which is famous for its dashimaki (omelet) made with kelp stock.

7. Tiong Bahru Market
Singapore

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Singaporeans take eating very seriously. In this island city-state, food is considered a critical part of one’s national identity and cultural heritage. In fact, friends often greet each other with Sudak makan? which means “Have you eaten?” This food obsession, along with Singapore’s numerous cultural influences, means that Singapore is home to some of the best food in the world. It’s particularly famous for its hawker centers, which are large, semi-enclosed food courts that sell a variety of cheap eats. You can eat—and eat well—for between $2.50 and $5.00.

Tiong Bahru is one of the best wet markets and hawker centers in Singapore. The wet market is on the first floor; you can pick up some fresh meat, fish, or produce here—or simply take in the sights. The hawker center is upstairs. Stall #02-05, called Jian Bo Shui Kueh supposedly sells the best chwee kueh (a type of steamed rice cake) in Singapore.

8. Jalan Alor
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Located in the middle of the Golden Triangle, Kuala Lumpur’s main shopping and nightlife district, Jalan Alor is a street filled with stalls and restaurants; it comes to life around 7pm every night. The market offers a wide variety of selections, from grilled fish to exotic fruits to beer, which you consume al fresco at plastic tables and chairs. It’s a great way to try an array of Malay, Chinese, and Thai dishes. Wondering where to eat? Look for the long lines of locals!

9. Gwangjang Market
Seoul, Korea

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Originally opened in 1905, Gwangjang Market is the oldest continually functioning market in South Korea. Fortunately, it’s managed to maintain its authenticity and charm. The market sells clothing, textiles, and housewares; it’s also a wet market and, while rather small, it offers a ton of delicious prepared street food.

What can you look forward to? Well, there’s soondae (blood sausage), mayak gimbap (mini seaweed rice rolls), tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cakes), bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes), and fresh seafood, including the famous live octopus.

10. Tsukiji Fish Market
Tokyo, Japan


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Last but certainly not least is Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji Fish Market, which sells fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, flowers, and—most notably—fish. Tsukiji is the world’s largest fish market, handling more than 2,000 tons of seafood a day.

One of the best things to do at Tsukiji is catch the daily tuna auction at 5am. If you can’t get up that early, keep in mind that the market starts winding down around 9am. So come early, then grab a sushi breakfast at the wholesale market.

To find the best sushi counters, enter through the main gate off Shin-ohashi Street. Then, walk in and, with the fruit and vegetable market on your right, pass the off-limits loading zone and turn left at the main road. Walk three blocks, then turn left again down a small side street. Sushi Dai is the second shop on your right; look for the faded green curtains in the doorway and very long line out front. Daiwa-Zushi is a little farther down on the same side of the street, with red curtains. Many consider it to be just as good as Sushi Dai.

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