June 14, 2024

The world’s greatest street food

6 min read

We’ve compiled a list of some of the world’s greatest street foods, such bhel puri and halo-halo, to give you even more motivation to plan your next trip. Recall that Rough Guides has partnered with regional authorities in more than 70 nations, enabling you to organize and reserve a completely personalized journey that includes sampling every delectable dish on our list!

Jamaican jerk chicken

There’s nothing like the genuine thing, straight out of a smoke-filled jerk hut, when it comes to jerk chicken. All the recipes begin with chicken on the bone marinated in a mixture of ginger, spring onions, scotch bonnet chiles, thyme, and allspice. Before being cooked over a pimento wood BBQ, which is often constructed from a repurposed oil drum, the meat is allowed overnight to absorb the flavors. The finest way to eat Jamaican jerk chicken is with rice and a nice Red Stripe beer, whether it’s from a roadside stand or a beachside tavern.


Singapore and chilli crab

Street vendors sell the traditional Singaporean cuisine, chili crab, all around this tiny city-state. Cher Yam Tian, who started selling the hot crabs from a street cart in the 1950s, is credited with creating the dish. Whole crabs are served whole, stir-fried in a tomato-egg-based sweet-and-sour sauce that naturally includes chile.

Colombia’s Arepas

There are many different regional delicacies of comida rápida (fast food) in Colombia, including these circular maize cakes stuffed with cheese or meat. Arepas are baked or grilled before being filled or covered with cheese since they are much thicker than tortillas. One of the greatest locations to sample them is Bogotá, where they’re very well-liked for breakfast.


Oh my gosh, the Philippines

A hot and muggy summer’s day in the Philippines is the ideal opportunity to cool down with a cup of colorful halo-halo. Literally translated as “mix-mix,” it’s a visually appealing combination of red beans, coconut, syrup, and fruit that resembles a sundae. Shaved ice, ice cream, and evaporated milk are often placed on top of this.


South Africa’s Bunny Chow

Bunny lovers, fear not—this South African snack is devoid of rabbits. It is made of a bread loaf that has been hollowed out and filled with a flavorful curry, commonly made with chicken or mutton. As one would expect, bunny chow originated in India, but it has since spread to Durban, becoming the city’s most well-known street cuisine that one must sample while visiting South Africa.


Poland’s Pierogi

While pierogi are popular across Eastern Europe, only one city—Krakow—has a whole festival devoted to the handcrafted dumpling. Pierogi are produced using a basic dough consisting of flour, eggs, water, and salt. The dough is then filled with cheese, meat, or potatoes and formed into packages. They are fried in butter after being cooked. Delectable.

Dumplings, filled with cabbage. Varenyky, vareniki, pierogi, pyrohy - dumplings with filling © freeskyline/Shutterstock

USA: North Carolina, pulled pork

In the South, barbecue is a serious business. Every year, enthusiasts compete to achieve the greatest results from their grills in cook-offs. The state with the most stars may be the indisputable birthplace of slow-cooked beef, but if you’re looking for smoky-sweet pulled pork—best enjoyed drenched in a flavorful barbecue sauce and heaped over a sandwich bun—head to North Carolina.

Vietnam’s Banh Mi

The banh mi, a dish from Vietnam’s French colonial past, is a staple of any list of excellent street meals. A crispier and thinner variant of the traditional baguette—made with a combination of wheat flour and rice—is the main component. Typically, this is stuffed with a vibrant and fresh mixture of pickled carrot, daikon, and coriander along with chicken or pig belly.

banh mi food vietnam vietnamese food

Taiwan’s Bubble Tea

Taichung, Taiwan is where bubble, pearl, or boba tea first appeared in the 1980s. These days, tastes vary from traditional milk tea, which is often sweetened with condensed milk, to exotic concoctions like passion fruit or mango. The actual bubbles are chewy small tapioca balls that are inhaled via a big straw; they are first odd but become rapidly engrossing.


Canada’s Poutine, Quebec

Poutine, the ideal late-night snack, is the epitome of greasy, satisfying street cuisine. Simple components include cheese curds and gravy slathered over thick fries. Although poutine is available across Canada, its origins are in French-speaking Quebec, where it is at its finest. Try it in roadside restaurants and cafes all around the province.


Sliced bread, Turkey

In Turkey, it’s not just about kebabs. Throughout the nation, mouthwatering simit loaves are served from street carts and are often consumed for breakfast on the go. They are lighter than bagels and go well with a cup of Turkish tea when baked into a big ring shape and dusted with sesame seeds.

China’s Xiao Long Bao

This classic dumpling soup from northern China is steaming away in bamboo baskets on street carts all throughout Shanghai. To eat them without being burned, you have to be rather skilled at holding the dumplings and slurping up some of the boiling hot soup before diving into the center of them, which is filled with minced pig.


Italy Gelato

Nothing goes better with an evening passeggiata in Italy than a cone of rich gelato. Gelato, the traditional flavors of ice cream in Italy, is characterized by its mild softness and reduced fat content. Pistachio and stracciatella are two of the most popular flavors. But if you’re getting it in Rome, make sure you know the price up front.

  © Tuzemka/Shutterstock

Mexico’s Tostadas

Tostadas, in contrast to tacos, are often formed into a little, flat disc and deep-fried until crispy. Classic toppings like guacamole, salsa, cheese, and refried beans are among the alternatives; shrimp ceviche is a lighter seafood option. Although tasty, a crisp tostada is difficult to eat neatly, so be ready to get dirty.

Indonesia’s Bakso

We can see why Obama famously said, when visiting Indonesia, that he was infatuated with this meatball soup. The finest location to try these ground beef balls, which are cooked in a transparent broth with noodles, egg, and onions, is at street carts, even if the President had his at a formal meal.

South Korea’s Gimbap

Gimbap, also known as Korean sushi, comes to mind when you picture an enormous maki roll. Crab sticks, eggs, meat, and carrots are typical ingredients. They are folded in steaming rice and gim, a seaweed sheet. In Seoul, you may get gimbap from several stores and street vendors for your midday meal.


India’s Bhel Puri

India offers a huge range of street snacks, or chaat, from vada, or savory fritters, in the south to aloo tikki, or spicy potato croquettes, in the north. Bhel puri, a dish made of puffed rice, fried vermicelli noodles, and veggies covered in tamarind sauce, is best enjoyed in Mumbai. Keep an eye out for variations that also include pomegranate seeds and peanuts.


Egypt’s Ta’amiya

Falafel may be found across the Middle East. The question of which nation has the most genuine recipe is a contentious one. Ta’amiya, or richer fava beans, are used to make falafel in Egypt instead of chickpeas. It is almost usually served with pita bread, salad, and tahini sauce along with pickled veggies.

Spain’s Churros

Churros are sweet and crispy deep-fried sticks of dough that may be eaten simple, rolled in cinnamon sugar, or dipped in opulent hot chocolate (our favorite). They’re especially well-liked in Madrid as a late-night snack, where the renowned Chocolatería San Ginés distributes them all day.


Peruvian ceviche

Worldwide acclaim for ceviche, the national cuisine of Peru, is rising. The extremely fresh raw fish, marinated in lime juice, salt, and chilli, is the main component. Try the sea bass ceviche, served with sweet potatoes and corn on the side, and enjoy it with a pisco sour, of course.


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