One of life’s great experience intersections is the one that brings food and travel together. Although we like fancy dining and lavish dinners, our global street food adventures — raw on-the-ground experiences that transmit authenticity — frequently provide some of life’s most revealing moments and teach us in unexpected ways. This is our Best Street Food Around the World guide, which includes street food dishes from a variety of countries.
Food is a natural entrance to a deeper understanding of culture, history, people, and place in general. We are naturally drawn to explore, to go further out than we might otherwise, and to make fantastic discoveries thanks to street food.
From the India Street Food: Aloo Tikki to Australia Street Food: Meat Pies, every world traveler must try these Best Street Food Around the World.
Here are 23 Best Street Food Around the World
Argentina Street Food: Empanadas
Although empanadas (savory stuffed pastries) are popular throughout Argentina, the best are found in the Salta region to the northwest. It’s also the only place where you’ll find hot sauce. Hurrah!!
Armenia Street Food: Kebabs
Despite the fact that kebabs (grilled ground or chunked meat on a skewer) are not unique to Armenia, when we needed a quick snack, lavash (flatbread) wrapped around a kebab was the best option.
Australia Street Food: Meat Pies
Delicious, hearty, tasty, and inexpensive. During our travels across Australia, meat pies (and don’t worry, there are vegetarian options) were a frequent snack or lunch. Even if you’re in the middle of nowhere…which happens a lot in Australia…you can typically find them anywhere, from gas stations to small cafés.
Bali (Indonesia) Street Food: Nasi Campur
Nasi campur is a mixed meal of Balinese cuisine eaten with rice. Most restaurants will make the decision for you, however you can choose your nasi campur in warungs, Bali’s local eateries. Sate lilit, spicy tempeh, chopped veggies, spice-rubbed beef, chicken, and tofu are among the delightful options.
Bangladesh Street Food: Singara
Singara are fried pockets of spiced potato and vegetable mixture wrapped in thin flatbread. The flaky texture of an excellent singara is what sets it apart. Some of them are so flaky that they taste like savoury pie crust. Singara are plentiful and cheap (as low as 24 for $1).
Bolivia Street Food: Salteñas
Salteas are empanada-like pockets filled with chicken or pork and topped with a slightly sweet baked dough. The salteas depicted below were filled with a boiled egg, herbs, and an olive, as well as poultry and ground beef. Fiery, hot, mild, and sweet are all spice possibilities. There’s something for everyone here.
Bosnia and Herzegovina Street Food: Ćevapi
It’s difficult not to be overcome by the aroma of evapi, Bosnia’s national cuisine of grilled meat, as you walk through the streets of Sarajevo. Typically, evapi is served in five or ten minced meat logs nestled between a circle of flat bread. With onions and a side of kajmak is our favourite combination (thick cream). After one of these meals, you won’t be hungry for days.
Brazil (Bahia) Street Food: Acarajé
Acarajé is an Afro-Brazilian cuisine from the state of Bahia, but it may also be found in other regions of the country at markets and street vendors. It’s created with a seasoned, mashed bean combination with ground shrimp that’s formed into balls or patties and fried in dendê oil (palm oil). It is then topped (or stuffed, as if it were a sandwich) with salty shrimp (camaro do sal), herbs, vegetables, and a sauce. Acarajé vendors can be found in Salvador’s main squares, but our favourite was at a nearby beach.
Cambodia Street Food: Breakfast Soup
When we exited the temples at Banteay Srei near Siem Reap, we found our tuk-tuk driver eating breakfast with other drivers. He welcomed us to join him and served us a delicious breakfast soup. It was made up of a light yellow curry fish broth, fresh rice noodles, paper-thin chopped banana blossom, cucumber, and cabbage, with a tablespoon of dark sweet sauce on top. For the finishing touch, a bowl of bitter herbs and long beans was passed around our table.
Chile Street Food: Completo Italiano
We were on a mission to have a decent completo when we landed in Chile (hot dog). Despite our customary aversion to hot dogs, these beauties were difficult to resist. In the flag-like completeo Italiano shown above, avocado, tomato, and mayonnaise are combined.
China Street Food: Jiaozi (Dumplings)
It’s very impossible to choose just one Chinese street food item, so we’ll settle with the crowd favourite Chinese dumplings. The pork, shrimp, and leek dumplings at Da Yu dumpling shop near the No. 6 swimming area in Qingdao stand out among the hundreds of dumplings we tried throughout China. Fresh, delectable, and cooked to perfection.
Colombia Street Food: Arepa
The best gluten-free comfort cuisine from Colombia. An arepa is a fried cornmeal bread circle. They can be eaten simple or packed with cheese (arepa de queso), egg, or other fillings as a side dish to a meal. The stuffed varieties are more flavorful and fascinating. Each region of Colombia has its own arepa specialty, so sampling a few different versions as you travel the country is recommended.
Ecuador Street Food: Ceviche
We felt compelled to try ceviche in each country we visited because it appears that each country in Latin America serves its own distinct form of ceviche. While we must agree that Peruvian ceviche (see below) is our favourite, this dish of shrimp ceviche from Quito’s Central Market came in a close second with its fresh shrimp, herbs, and tomato chunks. Oh, and the popcorn served as a side dish was a hit with us.
Egypt Street Food: Sugar Cane Juice
We first visited Cairo in December 2011, when Tahrir Square was still in the midst of protests and news channels around the world were filled with images of violence and protest. But our time in the almost 8-million-person city was punctuated by interactions like this one with an Old Cairo sugar cane juice maestro. We did not get sick, in case you were wondering.
El Salvador Street Food: Pupusa
Pupusas (stuffed corn tortillas) are the most popular street snack in El Salvador. The pupusas below, from a small street stall east of Central Park in Juayua, were the greatest we’d ever tasted. They were filled with refried red beans, cheese, and a splash of chicharron (salty pig rinds). Pickled veggies and chilli peppers go on top. Delicious!
Ethiopia Street Food: Street Side Coffee Ceremony
The first cup of coffee in an Ethiopian coffee ceremony will most certainly take at least twenty minutes from start to finish, but it will be well worth the wait. You’ll need to try a couple before you can completely appreciate how significant coffee is to Ethiopia, the claimed home of the beverage.
Georgia (Republic of) Street Food: Khachapuri
The popular Georgian cheese-stuffed bread, khachapuri, oozes gooey delight. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it’s a regular sight on the Georgian table. The gently brined cheese inside is like a diet-busting siren song because of its salty deliciousness.
Germany (Berlin) Street Food: Döner Kebab
In Berlin, döner kebabs are well-known. But Mustafa’s on Kreuzberg’s Mehringdamm Street isn’t your typical döner joint. Instead of beef or veal flakes, Mustafa’s spindle drops chicken shavings pressed with roasted veggies, which are served with a fantastic mélange of potatoes, sweet potatoes, salad, feta-like cheese, freshly squeezed lemon, and mystery sauce.
You can also choose pure veg if you are a vegetarian. When you notice the big line stretching down the street, you’ve arrived at Mustafa’s.
India Street Food: Aloo Tikki
There is so much delicious street food in India, but one of our faves is this aloo tikki (spiced potato chips) vendor in Varanasi. The aloo tikki was tasty, but it was the personable vendor who persuaded me to cook for him that made the trip worthwhile. Note: if you do venture to eat street food in India, stick to the cooked products and be wary of fresh herb and vegetable toppings that may have been washed in unclean water.
Greece (Crete) Street Food: Bugatsa
It seemed like we did nothing but eat on the Greek island of Crete at times. We were advised to sample bugatsa, a pastry filled with cream and/or cheese and dusted with powdered sugar, in the island’s capital, Heraklion, soon before our departure. Kipkop, a bakery started in 1922 by Armenian immigrants whose descendants continue to serve the original recipe, serves the most famous bugatsa.
Guatemala Street Food: Chuchito
Our first stop in Central America was Guatemala. In Antigua, we were almost immediately drawn to street food. This, a chuchito (similar to a Mexican tamale – shredded meat and vegetables stuffed in a mass of boiled, ground corn), was smothered in fresh guacamole, salsa and cabbage.
Haiti Street Food: Mayi Moulen Kole ak Legim
Lots of street food in Haiti is fried — plantains, pork, other meat bits, potatoes, etc. In any case, if you’re looking for an inexpensive meal with a hearty dose of nutrition, you should try this cornmeal, beans, and vegetable stew (mayi moulen kole ak legim). The cornmeal consistency is somewhere between polenta and creamed wheat (or creamed cornmeal, as it were).
Honduras Street Food: Baleada
Honduras’ main street food dish, the baleada, is made with wheat flour, unlike the rest of Central America. After three months eating maize, this was a welcome change. Baleadas, which are stuffed with cheese, beans, eggs, and various meats, rapidly became our favourite Honduran comfort dish.