Unique Street Foods From Around the World

This article originally appeared on the telc English blog and has been reposted here for preservation. Image: Creative Commons.

Perfect bites for summer snacking

With the warm weather approaching, many will look to stay outdoors. For those who travel guided by their stomachs, outdoor snacking is synonymous with street food. Street foods are quick bites that are relatively inexpensive, usually sold in a portable form that allows for standing and eating. 

You can often find street food vendors selling from food trucks, kiosks, or small hole-in-the-wall locales. Sometimes larger restaurants will dedicate some space for selling to-go items. Either way, street food is a great choice not only for your savings, but also to enjoy more of the warm outdoors.

Street foods often reflect well the typical foods of a region. In this article, we’ll take a look at some unique street foods from around the world.

Currywurst (Berlin, Germany)

Currywurst needs no introduction, and one can find it throughout Germany. But Berlin gets special mention for hosting the Deutsches Currywurst Museum, a testament to the importance of this street food item. For those who don’t know what it is, currywurst involves chopped sausages topped with a curry sauce. All you need to eat it with is a sharp stick and maybe some fries.

Frittura di pesce (Venice, Italy)

Head to a friggitoria (a fried foods seller) for some frittura di pesce (fish fry). Often you’ll find fritto misto di mare (mixed fried seafood) sold in a cone of wrapped paper. Venice is known for seafood, being a historic maritime city. Aside from fish chunks, you’ll also find calamari, smaller whole fish, and prawns.

Boerie roll (Cape Town, South Africa)

The boerie roll is Cape Town’s answer to the street hot dog. Boerewors (derived from “farmer sausage” in Afrikaans and Dutch) is a sausage made of a mixture of beef, lamb, and pork (of some variation), seasoned with spices. The long sausage is sometimes served within a hot dog bun with vegetables, relishes, and sauce. This is what results in the local “boerie” roll.

Guandu baba (Kunming, China)

When it comes to cuisine, Beijing, Shanghai, and the Canton Province often steal the show when it comes to China’s offerings. But the other parts of the country dish out a unique mix between what we view as “traditional Chinese” and other influences. This is particularly true in Kunming in China’s southern province of Yunnan. Guandu baba is Kunming’s street bread. A flat dough is baked and filled with meats and vegetables. Resembling pancakes, they are then pan fried and cut into smaller pieces for consumption. 

Street tacos (Mexico City, Mexico)

Street tacos can be found throughout Mexico and in many places in the United States. If you’re looking to do a tour of taco spots, Mexico City might be a good destination for you. Tacos are deceptive in their simplicity; there’s room for plenty of variation in the homemade tortilla, the pico de gallo (chopped tomato, onion, and cilantro with lime juice), and, of course, the sizzled meats. A great street taco is not only simple and cheap, but also full of flavor and freshness. When ordering, choose from selections like carne asada (grilled beef), pollo (chicken), carnitas (shredded fried pork), al pastor (marinated pork), lengua (beef tongue), and more.

Curry fish balls (Hong Kong, China SAR)

Fish balls have long been a staple in the Hong Kong food scene, so it’s no surprise that curry fish balls should be a popular street snack. You can find them sold on the street covered in curry sauce in a ready-to-go speared form. From such vendors, you can also find other items like stinky tofu (a fermented tofu with an incredibly pungent aroma) and eggettes (a pan-grilled sweet crepe-like dessert).

Kebab (London, United Kingdom)

With origins in the Middle East, kebabs can now be found around the world. They’re especially popular in London. Kebabs make the list ahead of the iconic fish and chips solely because they’re more handheld. But that distinction is arguable as many vendors sell massive kebabs that average at 2,000 calories per order. (It’s no wonder they’re so popular with the post-pub crowds.) A kebab often consists of gyro meat (marinated beef and lamb, or some other variation of the combination), vegetables, a creamy yogurt sauce, and hot sauce, all served within a piece of giant pita bread or wrapped in lavash flatbread. 

What is your favorite street food that you’ve tried during your travels? What foods would you love to taste? Share it with our community on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” telc English for more articles on culture from around the world!