15 Countries That Serve up the BEST Street Food Experiences
There’s something about the vibrance of street food, the richness in flavor, and the rawness of surrounding cultural scenes. Not only is street food more affordable for travelers, but it grants a more authentic experience since this is where natives also gather and convene.
With that said, here are 15 countries serving up the best street food experiences, as voted on by an online foodie forum.
The street food scene in Thailand needs no introduction. From the sizzling stalls in Bangkok’s Chinatown to the buzzing night markets of other regions, street dining in “The Land of Smiles” is just as warm and wonderful as the locals serving.
Are your taste buds ready for this next contender? Think tacos, tamales, and churros to your heart’s content. Oaxaca is officially renowned as the culinary capital, but with countless vendors and a lively vibe, Mexico City also puts up a good fight.
Indian street food will also get you salivating. This country embraces seasoning and spice. Each region offers a unique take and covers many bases, but for the most diverse culinary experience, Delhi is top.
At once home to residents of Chinese, Indian, and Malay descent, the food scene in Malaysia is the epitome of eclectic. Be sure to try a roti canai and at least one pandan treat – and sample as many mamak stalls as you can find.
No Vietnamese street food experience is complete without pho. This staple dish consists of chewy rice noodles served in a piping hot meat broth with herb garnishes. Other unmissable treats include banh mi baguettes, goi cuon spring rolls, egg coffee, and delicious desserts.
A favorite for foodies in Europe, there’s no doubt about it, but Italy has so much more than the pizza and pasta of Rome. Take the Venetian finger food cicchetti for instance, or Bologna’s thin flatbread piadina. And if you want to extend your sweet palate past gelato, tagliatelle, and cannolis have you covered.
Compared to its South East Asia neighbors, Taiwan differs from the ones you often hear about. But did you know it is the original home of bubble tea? Next to this, you have sticky rice dumplings (zongzi), sausage-wrapped sausages (da chang bao xiao chang), and oyster omelets (oh-ah tzen) to complete the experience.
A natural melting pot of cultures for centuries, Turkish cuisine holds a special kind of flair. From succulent shish kebabs, lahmacun (Turkish-style pizza), and the sweet papery goodness that is baklava, you will not be left hungry in this country, that’s for sure.
Peru is undoubtedly the South American culinary capital. Within it, Lima boasts the best fare. Be sure to sample a pisco sour cocktail, then search for causa for starters, limos salads for mains, and picarones doughnuts for dessert.
And if you have an unquenchable sweet tooth like me, be sure to try queso helado and a lucuma smoothie or shake.
10. South Korea
Famous for its delectable fried chicken, South Korea has many other temptations. We hear Gwangjang Market in Seoul is an excellent place to start. Be sure to add hotteok pancakes, Korean egg bread, and tteokbokki rice cakes to your list of street food to try.
Not unlike the fare of Malaysia, Indonesian street food is a diverse mix. One of the best places to experience it firsthand is a warung. This small-scale, often family-owned eatery serves delicious cuisine in sit-down or buffet styles.
Bite your way into the flavors of Greece, starting with souvlaki wraps, gyros, and skewers grilled to perfection. Pour a dollop of tzatziki for extra flavor before sweetening your experience with galaktoboureko (milk cake) and lokma (Greek-style doughnuts).
Now, here is a country with uncompromising vibrance. Alongside beautiful landscapes and fascinating history, foodies also have a fair bit in store. These include but are not limited to arepas (of course), empanadas, carimanolas and pasteles de arequipa. The latter is a delightful caramel-like pastry that blew us away.
In my opinion, Lebanese street food remains underrated. Your mezze tour could include manakish flatbread, hummus, shawarma, and falafel. And if that is not enough, baba ganoush, kafta, and sambousek might melt your heart.
The Hawkins Centers of Singapore are in a league of their own. Within them, you will find street food stalls that hold actual Michelin stars. For authentic flair and native flavor, add bak chor mee, chili crab, and kaya toast to your list.
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Where indicated, some images courtesy of Depositphotos.com.