With the Covid vaccine rollout underway, we can finally start looking ahead to when we’ll be able to (fingers crossed!) start travelling again.
If you’re the sort of traveller who likes to be guided by their taste buds when choosing where to venture next, why not set your sights one of the street food capitals of the world?
Sampling authentic eats from kerbside vendors is a delicious – and affordable – way to really soak up the sights, sounds and flavours of a place, and there are plenty of countries both near and far where you can do just that. Here are eight of the tastiest street food destinations on the planet…
1. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Formerly known as Saigon, Vietnam’s second city is littered with hole-in-the-wall eateries where patrons perch on tiny plastic stools while munching their meals. Newbies should make sure they slurp a steaming bowl of pho (pronounced ‘fuh’) noodles in broth, and tuck into banh mi – crusty baguettes filled with all manner of meats, crunchy pickles and seasonings.
2. Mexico City
You want heat? You’ve got it in Mexico City, where you’ll discover a whole lot more than burritos and fajitas. Tacos al pastor stuffed with succulent pork should be your first port of call, before branching out into more adventurous fillings, like cow brain, tongue and even eyeball.
3. Istanbul, Turkey
Of course you can get world-class kebabs in the historic Turkish city, but there’s much more besides in the foodie-friendly Karakoy and Ortakoy neighborhoods. Start your day with coffee and a freshly-baked simit, a sesame-encrusted bread ring sold by vendors from distinctive red and white carts.
Food hawkers are so revered in Singapore that ‘hawker culture’ has now been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. That’s a lofty title, yet street food in the island nation is anything but pretentious, even if some sellers have been awarded Michelin stars for their efforts.
At bustling hawker centres dotted around the city-state you’ll find an array of dishes influenced by Chinese, Malay and Indian cuisine, with popular choices including chilli crab, satay, Hainanese chicken rice and laksa noodles in curry sauce.
5. Mumbai, India
Spice-lovers will be in heaven wandering down Mohammed Ali Road, the street food epicentre of Mumbai and home to reportedly the best biryanis in the city.
There’s more to Indian cuisine than just curry, however. For a tasty munch on the go, be sure to try the hugely popular vada pav, a double-carb delight of fried potato dumpling served in a white bread bun.
6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Looking for light bites? You’ve come to the wrong place. Many of Rio’s most famous street eats are deep-fried and stuffed with scrumptious fillings, like sizzling pastel pockets, cheese-filled pão de queijo, and bolinho de bacalhau (codfish balls).
Plus, the Brazilian capital also boasts more than its fair share of sweet treats, like tapioca crepes and insanely delicious gooey chocolate brigadeiros (truffles).
7. Rome, Italy
Naturally you’ll want to inhale as much mind-blowing pizza as you possible can during a visit to the Eternal City, but be sure to leave room for trapizzino (a kind of stuffed pizza pocket), suppli (deep-fried rice croquettes) and porchetta (pork from a whole roasted pig) served in a bun.
8. Hong Kong
Daring gastronomes will get a real kick out of the Hong Kong street food scene, where spongy curry fishballs and ‘stinky tofu’ (that’s the actual name of the fermented bean curd dish) are par for the course.
Other surprisingly delicious dishes include skewers of deep-fried pig intestine and cow offal. You know what they say: don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.