Street food is booming at the moment for two simple reasons:
1. It’s beautiful local food (some of the best food tasted!)
2. Its cost effective (even in the most expensive travel destinations you can find quality street food at a good price)
So here is my guide to the top place for street food around the world!
It’s impossible to avoid street food in Bangkok, where street vendors in different parts of the city operate on a fixed rotation. Some work the breakfast crowd with sweet soymilk and bean curd, others dish up fragrant rice and poached chicken for lunch. The late-night crowd offers everything from phad thai noodles to grilled satay.
A favourite is Kuay tiew kai soi sai nam phung: It is noodle soup with chicken wing stew with young egg and pork intestine! (Sounds different but somthing people have eaten since they were a child and they love it!)
Tokyo is home to more Michelin-starred restaurants than any city in the world, but Japanese cuisine often gets reduced to one thing: sushi. In Teppen, Nakameguro they are known for their grilled food. They are very famous for grilling extremely fresh ingredients in front of you, with special kinds of charcoal that can grill fresh ingredients with high heat quickly to trap all the goodness of them inside. They serve sushi too, but the grilled meats and vegetables draw in young and old Japanese diners, especially workers on their way home.
It also has the benefit of being near the Meguro River, one of Tokyo’s most beautiful spots for flower watching.
Hawaiian food is a creative mishmash of cuisines, combining local traditions with the culinary tastes of successive waves of migrants from the mainland United States, Asia and Latin America. The result includes an array of raw fish salads known as poke (poh-kay), as easily available as a sandwich in other cities. Tuna and octopus are the two most typical options, prepared with flavors inspired by everything from kimchi to ceviche.
The city also has a thriving food truck culture. The best is a bit of a drive. On the Kamehameha Highway in Haleiwa on the North Shore, a shaded parking lot full of trucks gives a culinary tour of Hawaii. Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck covers shrimp in a sauce filled with chunks of caramelized garlic.It’s so good that it’s become a cliched place to visit — except that Giovanni’s really is delicious.
Opal Thai churns out phad thai that would make a Bangkok vendor jealous, while Mike’s Huli Huli Chicken schools visitors in the right way to prepare a Hawaiian classic.
Durban, South Africa
Perhaps it’s because of Durban’s lovely year-round weather, or maybe it’s the Indian influence, but the city is southern Africa’s reigning street food champ.
Local culture and cuisine is a blend sourced from Zulu, Indian and white South Africans, who each bring a little something to the mix. The city is known for its curries, which over the generations have adapted to South African ingredients and tastes. Little Gujarat, on Prince Edward Street downtown, is a humble but revered institution that remains true to the classic Tea Room takeaway. It’s vegetarian-only, and offers the distinctly Durban bunny chow — a hollowed out half-loaf of bread filled with curry, like an edible takeaway container.
Sunrise Chip & Ranch, better known as Johnny’s Rotis, is open 24 hours a day for comforting rotis.
Afro’s Chicken, which sits by the beach, grills up its poulet to order and offers shaded seating with an ocean breeze.
New Orleans, Louisiana
There’s a saying in Louisiana that the gas stations serve better food than some of the country’s finest restaurants.
For locals, street food first conjures images of the once ubiquitous Lucky Dog cart, made famous (or more aptly, infamous) in “A Confederacy of Dunces.”That’s certainly an experience, but closer to the mark is a plate lunch, served up at gas stations and convenience stores.Debates over where to get the best plate lunch can rival the passions reserved for truly important things — like football.Traditionally plate lunches meant comfort food like red beans and rice, served with andouille sausage and a heavily buttered slice of French bread. Or perhaps a muffuletta from Central Grocery, famous for the sandwiches brought in by Sicilian immigrants.
More recent waves of migration have helped entrench taqueria trucks and pho noodles just as firmly into the city’s street food scene.For visitors seeking something distinctly New Orleans check out fried alligator from Acme Oyster House.
For something sweet try the New Orleans School of Cooking for pralines. They’re made in front of you, it makes you want to buy them.
The most recognizable Turkish street food is probably simit — like a cross between a bagel and a pretzel.
Freshly baked, dipped in molasses and crusted with sesame seeds, they entice snackers from push-carts all over Istanbul.
Istanbul’s street food offerings stretch far beyond. Because so many people from around Turkey and the region migrate here, the city’s sidewalks are a walkable sampler platter. Durum are basically kebabs turned into wraps. They can appear on menus of fine restaurants, but just as easily on street corners. Turkish pizza, properly called lahmacun, presents a simple but satisfying meal at all hours of the night.Under-appreciated overseas, Turkish ice cream is ubiquitous and immensely satisfying, especially in pistachio.
Hop Yik Tai (121 Lam Street, Sham Shui Po) serves some of the most silky cheong fun (steamed rice rolls soaked in soy, sesame and hoisin sauce) in town.
Fei Jie’s (Shop 4A, 55 Dundas Street, Mong Kok) braised turkey kidneys and pig intestines attract a line of fans every day.
Indoor corridors beneath the Tai On Building, a residential complex, come alive every evening as it’s turned into a vibrant late night food market.
Shau Kei Wan Main Street East and Kowloon City are two popular sou gaai destinations. They’re home to the city’s best sweet tofu custard (Kung Wo Soy Product Factory, 67 Fuk Lo Tsun Road, Kowloon City) and Cantonese egg waffle (Master Low-Key Food Shop, Shop B3, 76A Shau Kei Wan Main Street East).
Dining in Paris can be an experience in itself. The haute cuisine is, of course, the subject of entire books, schools and libraries. But the city’s humblest food also inspires.
On a cold day, nothing’s more welcome than the appearance of street vendors roasting chestnuts.
And crepes, oh the crepes. They can be restaurant fare, but finding one on the streets around Montparnasse is even better. A buckwheat crepe with gruyere, ham and egg — crispy around the edges, soft in the middle — satisfies at any time of day. As does a simple spread of Nutella with a sliced banana.
Mexico City, Mexico
Most people don’t know what to order Mexican food in Mexico. It’s not the Tex Mex you are use to it’s practically a different cuisine. Even the humblest taco stand in Mexico City has fresh tortillas and grilled meats, or tlacoyos (fatter than tortillas) topped with favas, cheese and a dollop of green salsa. In recent years interest in native Mexican cuisine has exploded, making use of indigenous ingredients and methods for flavors impossible to experience anywhere else. Tours like Eat Mexico guide newcomers through it all, from atole drinks of rice and masa for breakfast to late-night tacos and mexcal.
Some Egyptian street food has become takeaway fare internationally, with falafel, shawarma and kofta evolving into part of the global urban snack experience.
In Cairo there’s still a world of other dishes to sample that haven’t yet made their way overseas.
Koshary mixes rice, pasta, lentils and chickpeas, topped with a vinegary-tomato sauce.
Throw some fried onions on top for good measure and it’s the tasty essence of street food: warm, flavorful, cheap and filling. For dessert, hot tea helps wash down the kunafa, crystallized honey that’s better than any of Willy Wonka’s confections.
Smells of food fill the streets of Moroccan cities, and nowhere is the quality or diversity greater than in Marrakech.
Marrakech is all about street food. In the evenings, the city gathers among snake charmers and musicians at the Jemaa el-Fnaa square to taste the incredible spread of Moroccan delicacies that are on offer from the street stalls. You’ll find everything from freshly squeezed fruit juices to snail soup and sheep heads. It’s a full-on feast for all the senses, and not particularly pricey. Moroccans have a serious sweet tooth, and you find a lot of cookies and pastries sold in the stalls in the souks. It’s a pretty, colorful and very tempting spread of sugar and calories — mountains of delicately shaped and beautifully decorated creations.