The term Street Food is currently on everybody’s lips and can be found in every corner of the world. There are even whole festivals, which all want to surpass each other with the number of delicacies on offer. They present you with an almost endless selection of food. Today I’ll show you my top 10 street food cities in the world. I hope you’re not hungry?!
Broadly speaking, the term street food includes drinks and dishes sold by a stand or offered on a market. They are ideal as a light snack, or even main meal, and their greatest advantage is that they can be comfortably eaten out of your hand. Street food is also ideal for us travellers who don’t want to sit for an eternity in a restaurant, but want to jump into the next adventure as soon as possible!
Floating bistros in Istanbul
I would like to begin my journey in Turkey, more specifically in Istanbul. The street traders there are perhaps better known for offering other goods. But if you look more closely, you will discover that the city is crawling with stalls where you’ll be overwhelmed with Turkish specialities. They are unbeatable in terms of price and freshness! So how about you start your day with Simit, a kind of bread in the shape of a ring, sprinkled with sesame seeds. My tip – enjoy your Simit with a cup of black tea and your breakfast will be perfect!
At noon, you should go to one of the floating boats near the harbour because freshly caught, grilled mackerel with lemon and exotic spices await you! If you have enough space in the evening, you should visit a kebab stand. Served in a homemade pita and with plenty of vegetables, it is a different experience from the kebabs we have here in the UK, believe me. ;) Bon appétit, or as they say in Turkey, “Afiyet olsun!”
It’s time to get exotic because Marrakech is the next stop. On your way through the city, the sheer amount of colour, as well as people, will catch your eye. You’ll also be able to smell herbs and dishes. Let the smell guide you and you will eventually end up at one of the bustling Souks. They come to life, especially at night!
So that you don’t lose your way in the huge variety of food on offer, I advise you to stick with the locals! They know where the best and freshest food at a good price is. The overwhelmed or undecided amongst you should book a tour with Marrakech Food Tours. With your tour guide, you are guaranteed an exciting culinary night in Marrakech. You can enjoy freshly baked bread, lamb or chicken stew, prepared in a tagine, or even some addictive fruit juices and shakes! If you prefer something more exotic, you can also enjoy snails or lamb offal.
My next stop will take us to Austin, Texas. I’m guessing that this is a place, which you wouldn’t have expected to see on my list, right? But that doesn’t matter – after all, I’m happy to surprise you. In Austin, the South by Southwest Festival has been held every year since 1987, which is a spectacle both for music and film fans. But we’re here for food, right?! Away from this spectacle, you will find a huge collection of tightly packed Food Trucks, which supply the hungry mobs with delicious street food. When choosing your food, you can take a small trip around the world because the trucks have
When choosing your food, you can take a small trip around the world because the trucks have delicacies from all over the world, including Mexican food, hamburgers, Italian ice cream and even French pastries. You’ll be inspired by the international influences. The Texans are incredibly proud of their ‘Texas Brisket’. Delicately cooked brisket tucked away in a smoky sauce…. mmm! Trying it is a must! Enjoy your meal!
Another rather ‘unusual’ candidate is the next stop on my list – the capital of Belgium, Brussels. The street food classic is surely Belgian Frites, which are served with all kinds of sauces. Your first stop should be Maison Antoine. Reliable sources claim that this is the best Frites stand in the city. As we are already on the topic of classics, I would absolutely recommend Belgian waffles with their delicious toppings. You’ll not only find these in numerous cafes but also at many different stalls throughout the city.
But it is not only the stalls which are highly recommended. If you have a bit of time and would like to try something new, you should pay a visit to Brussels Markets. Nowhere else will you be able to find ‘the whole world under one roof’ so easily. Connoisseurs and food lovers rush to Brussels because of its famous and popular street food. Bon appétit and Eet smakelijk…
Explorers and vegetarians head to Tel Aviv
Now I’m heading to Israel, more precisely to Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is not only an ideal destination to break out of your travel routine but it is also an excellent place to discover new, exciting dishes. Especially the vegetarians amongst you will find a true paradise here but many dishes will also delight meat eaters. Falafel, in all of its combinations, is probably the most famous Street Food, which Tel Aviv has to offer. It is eaten here almost around the clock.
The fried balls (mainly prepared from mashed chickpeas or beans, as well as spices and herbs) are mixed with Tahina (sesame paste) or hummus (mashed chickpeas) and served in a flatbread, which can then be eaten out of your hands. Sabich actually comes from Iraq but is also gaining popularity in Israel. It is a pita, which is filled with fried aubergine, egg, pickled cucumbers, onions and hummus – but its content often depends on the location and the provider.
You can find the best Sabich in Frishman Falafel & Frishman Sabich near Tel Aviv’s harbour. With this delicacy in your hands, you can then look for a quiet spot by the harbour and watch the hustle and bustle of the city.
We’re on the final stretch now, my fellow Street Food fans. We only have four stops left on our journey. The next destination is Brazil! If you’re on the way to the beaches of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, you might already have noticed the fantastic smells, which waft over on every breeze. If you follow the smells, you’ll be guided to the stand of a local trader, who’s preparing traditional food there. So, before you go to the beach, you should definitely take the time to experience the excellent street food.
You’ll get a mixture of Portuguese, Brazilian and Japanese food here. There are also addictive fruit juices like acai juice, or you can drink fresh coconut water directly from the fruit. Treat yourself to some deliciously stuffed pies and pastries, balls of cheese and bread, or meat skewers from the charcoal grill. Rice or a bean puree accompanies any food. For all of you with a sweet tooth, Rio de Janeiro can also be sweet! When holidaymakers in Spain hear the word Churros, their ears prick up. But, the fried doughy pastry, which is often served with sweet cream or chocolate, also has many fans in Brazil. Or how about an equivalent to chocolate truffles? ‘Brigadeiro’ are made of condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter and chocolate sprinkles. “Bom proveito!”
A real mix in Mexico City
Food enthusiasts, we’re now heading to Mexico City! With all of its diversity, this city could well be considered the birthplace of street food. After all, Mexico already has its own name for street food – antojitos. It literally means, ‘little cravings’. Mexico City is happy to show that Mexican cuisine is not just made up of tacos and quesadillas. Although, these delicacies undoubtedly belong to Mexico.
Newcomers, as well as experienced foodies, should definitely grab some Tamales. Dough is filled with all sorts of ingredients such as meat, cheese or vegetables, wrapped in plant leaves and then steamed. Elote is no less delicious. Corn cobs are first boiled or fried before being seasoned with onions, salt, lime juice, chili and mayonnaise.
Yes, you read that correctly! Mayonnaise gives the corn cobs that little something extra and ensures that the rest of the ingredients stick. As in Brazil, you should also choose Churros as a dessert in Mexico City. Here, however, they are served with a fruit filling, as opposed to sweet cream. You need to be careful at the street food stands in Mexico City. Only visit stalls where there are a lot of tourists and only venture into areas guarded by the police. “Qué aproveche!”
A culinary journey through Bangkok
My last two stops were both Meccas of the Street Food world. It is also incredibly difficult to find a place without Street Food in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. At every street corner, you come into contact with some locals, who will bring you closer to their culture.
In this context, I can recommend one of Bangkok’s night markets because the local’s particularly love to eat here. Because of the large selection of stalls, there are even Street Food Guides now, who should help make your choice considerably easier. They also give you helpful tips so you know what’s in front of you.
In general, it can be said that Thailand’s cuisine scores highly with its fresh, healthy and light ingredients, as well as quick preparation. I would definitely recommend the various curries, fried rice or fried noodles with all kinds of vegetables, and all kinds of soups.
And if any of you are brave enough, you should almost certainly try fried insects. These are regarded as delicacies in Thailand and are very popular because of their high protein content. Enjoy your meal! Or as they say in Bangkok… “Kor hai mue nee pen mue arhan tee aroi na!”
Have you ever had to loosen your belt, or even slip into your jogging bottoms? Now it’s time to gather your last bit of energy. Our final stop is a visit to THE Street Food City. We are, of course, talking about Singapore! An annual street food festival, countless guides, who help you in the search of the perfect location, and huge malls, which want to outdo each other in terms of the number of street food stands. As you can see, everything in Singapore depends on the concept of ‘eating on the go’. You should also try the curries, soups and noodles here. Chilli Crabs are also worth trying, as are ‘Dim Sum‘ (stuffed and steamed pastries) and satay skewers with peanut sauce.
If you want to get a dessert which looks spectacular, you should go for Ais Kacang. This ‘mountain’ of exotic ingredients gets its colour from condensed milk, drizzled with rose and Sarsi syrup. The saying ‘you eat with your eyes first’ gets an entirely different meaning here, does it not?
So, we’ve arrived at the end of my street food trip! If you’re putting together some ideas for your next holiday destination, why shouldn’t you choose it because of its culinary delights? Have you discovered any interesting street food on your travels? Or, do you have any inspiration for my next culinary journey? Just let me know!