A fundamental part of visiting a new destination is to sample its street food, which quite obviously, will open up a scrumptious avenue to experience the region’s interesting food culture and heritage. Apparently, if you’re to miss out on what is being offered on the street, then you’re to forego something beyond a cheap, delicious meal. We’ve, therefore, gathered here for you some of the world’s most iconic street foods. While some are conversant and some absolutely unheard, all are worth a try.
Gelato, literally meaning ‘frozen’, is one of the Italy’s most beloved as well as consumed street foods. Though commonly referred to as Italian ice cream, gelato traditionally sans cream and is mainly prepared using whole milk. Depending on regional variations, a long list of ingredients like egg yolk, chocolate, and nuts go into its preparation. Contrary to normal ice-creams, gelato is relatively dense, soft, and exceptionally flavorsome, with the plus point of low fat content. It is usually served in a long glass or sometimes crammed into a crispy cone.
Simit Bread, Turkey
Baked to a deep brown color and topped with sesame seeds, Simit Bread Rings is a popular breakfast delicacy sold in the streets all over the country. Braided and flaky, this classic Turkish food traces its origin back to the 16th century. It is normally taken with cream, yoghurt, or fruit preserves, yet it is absolutely scrumptious by itself.
Fish & Chips, England
This traditional food staple of Britain, ironically, has its root abroad, being part Belgium and part Spanish import. The mouth-watering duo comprising a bed of fat golden potato fries and flaky fresh fish deep-fried in a crunchy batter is usually taken with classic accompaniments like mushy peas, curry sauce, and ketchup. Interestingly, there are 10,000 plus specialist shops selling fresh fish and chips in the UK.
With a messy stack of fries, gravy, and cheese curds, Poutine is a riot of flavors, from meaty and savory to cheesy and briny. This rich food is considered the Quebec’s signature dish; nonetheless it’s popular across the country.
Banh Mi, Vietnam
The streets of Vietnam serve one of the world’s best sandwiches in the form of Banh Mi. With its origin dating back to the region’s French colonialism era, this tasty dish comes with an ever-changing mishmash of meat, fish cakes, pork sausage, pate and veggies like carrot sticks and cilantro stuffed into a crusty baguette.
Pierogi, alternatively called the Polish Ravioli, is considered the national dish of Poland. Stuffed with ingredients like meat, veggies, and cheese, these crescent shaped dumplings’ derivation in the country is immensely attributed to the Italian influence.
Pretzel is probably the first thing that comes into mind when one thinks about German street food. An authentic pretzel has a hearty, knot-like structure studded with salt. There are several variations of pretzels, including Berliner, Brezel, and Berliner.
Boerewors Roll, South Africa
A ubiquitous South African street food, Boerewors Roll has a hot dog bun roll sliced from middle and stuffed with a succulent piece of sausage, which is garnished with fried onion and then drenched in tomato sauce. Eateries may add some extra garnish like cheese, tomato slice, lettuce etc. to contribute the standard version a more rich and intense effect.
This Arabian flat bread enfolded with a mix of meat (lamb or chicken), creamy sauce, and lightly picked carrot as well as chilies, make for a super tasty, easy-to-consume Middle Eastern street food. A shawarma corner attached to small cafeteria can be easily spotted on the UAE’s bustling streets, thanks to its soaring logs of spinning meat and upright red cookers.
Baozi is essentially a breakfast item. However, the Chinese eat this steamed or fried dough buns packed with ground pork and veggies and served with soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili, at any meal. An endless variety of Baozis including its sweeter version can be savored from almost all food vendors in China.
This is one of the most beloved desserts of Filipinos, especially during the scorching sunny days. Traditionally served in a long cup, its highlight is ingredients arranged in several layers. While a hotchpotch of ingredients including fruits, nata de coco, beans, and freshly grated cantaloupe forms the first layer, the second layer will be a big scoop of shaved ice, which is topped with evaporated milk, ice cream, leche flan, caramelized plantains, and shredded macapuno.
Chili Crab, Singapore
No cuisine is probably more iconic to Singapore as this flavorful mud crab dish, which is usually served with steamed rice, crusty bread, or doughy buns. Fascinatingly, this dish is not as spicy as its name indicates. But eating a tousled pile of steamed crabs doused in a thick sweet-savory tomato-chili sauce is quite a messy affair. An easy way to eat is to crack its hard casing with your hands and then slurp down the meat.
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Bhel Puri, India
Bhel Puri is a popular Indian street food prepared using a delightful combo of ingredients including puffed rice, fried vermicelli noodles, and veggies drizzled in sauces and chutneys like data tamarind sauce and green chutney. Look out for more dramatic versions with pomegranate seeds as well as peanuts. This crunchy, sweet-spicy-sour dish should be consumed as soon as it is made, as leaving it for a while will make the puffed rice and other crispy ingredients soggy due to the presence of sauces.
An ideal delight for people with sweet tooth, churros are skinny, crunchy deep-fried choux-based pastry dunked in sugar. It is mainly served in breakfast and even taken as an end-of-evening-nosh. It can be consumed plain but quite often, it is available with a cup of steaming chocolate for dipping.
Som Tam, Thailand
Eaten with steamed sticky rice, Som Tom, otherwise known as Thai green papaya salad, is one of the most consumed Thai street foods. In this delectable salad, strips of fresh unripe papaya, carrot, and other vegetables are chomped in a mortar, along with a handful of ingredients including palm sugar, dried shrimp, lime, fish sauce, and chilies, all of which together lend it a sweet, sour, and salty taste. You can even join the vendor in creating your own Som Tam version by adding your preferred spices and sauces. Not to mention, this slightly tart-flavor dish is strikingly unique and incredibly healthy.
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From Europe and across the Americas to Southeast Asia and North Africa, it seems that each of the world’s culture has its own bolstering and nostalgic street food. So now when you’re in a new place, be sure to try the cuisines the locals love. Besides being remarkably tasty and unbelievably affordable, these foods would serve as a porthole to the rich heritage and interesting history of the region.