Street food is a magnetising part of culinary culture of every place. It’s banal, simple, often prepared in very meager greasy spoons, often deterring because of the lack of hygiene, and yet tempting because of the taste and the aroma. In some countries you may feel like street food rules them and the streets are one huge bar where you can buy food on every corner. In others – street food is not as relevant as restaurants and bars and it’s not that easy to buy a snack on the street. We love street food, but we also love restaurants. Our culinary travels are always both. But street food is something you will always remember and makes for the stronger culinary memories from a particular country, city or a region.
25 STREET FOODS you have to try!
Watch out! As always, we will recommend things we’ve tested ourselves to you 🙂 We won’t write about street foods in countries we haven’t been to, so we’re counting on you! 🙂 You have to add what is worth eating and where to this list 🙂 Ours goes like this:
1) MANGO STICKY RICE – THAILAND
I just had to start with what’s closest to my heart 🙂 I would give it a wide berth during our first trip to Thailand, because I think I don’t like mango and I was like, seriously, a dessert with rice??? Then I fell in infinite love with it. You will buy it on the streets of Bangkok and on every corner in Chinatown. Rice and sliced mango in a plastic box and coconut milk in a tiny plastic bag. PARADISE!
2) PAD THAI – THAILAND
We’ve eaten it a hundred times in bars, but also on Chiang Rai market and straight from a boat on Krabi beach. We don’t have to introduce it, we can only say that if you buy it on the street, it’s about 3-5 zlotys.
3) BALIK EKMEK – ISTANBUL, TURKEY
Istanbul captured our culinary affections! Balik ekmek, which is grilled fish, onion, fresh tomato and salad sandwiches with a little bit of olive and lemon juice is a street food winner. It’s a simple combination, and yet it’s one of the most persistent flavors in Istanbul. It’s sold in Galata bridge’s surroundings.
4) LANGOS – HUNGARY
A flat-cake made of potatoes, flour and milk fried in deep fat, served with garlic, cheese and cream. You can buy it almost everywhere in Hungary – the last time Łukasz was in Budapest, he would eat it with bacon and onion. Nice langos (but not as street food) in Warsaw can be found in La Bor in the city center – it’s pictured below! If you want to read about Budapest, go HERE.
5) BANH MI – VIETNAM
I’ll be honest with you: we didn’t love them in Vietnam as much as we do in Warsaw! Big baguettes with tofu, meat, sometimes with Vietnamese pâté, with a cucumber, pickled vegetables, cilantro and a loooot of spicy sriracha sauce. Banh mi is a vestige of French people – it’s a mixture of what’s French (baguette, mayo, pâté) and what’s Vietnamese. My favorite version? The one with tofu!
We used eat banh mi on Chmielna Street, in Bonjour Vietnam (it doesn’t exist anymore). Now we do it in Viet Street Food on Saska Kępa. It tastes better if you get a takeout, like in the streets.
6) PHO – VIETNAM
For breakfast, for lunch, for dinner – in Vietnam, pho is something you eat at any time and literally everywhere. In Warsaw, Łukasz used to eat it in Toan Pho, in the mornings on the market on Bakalarska Street, and now in Viet Street Food mentioned above.
7) CHINESE DUMPLINGS – THAILAND, SINGAPORE, HONG KONG and other places
Another thing that we can’t get enough of both in Asia and Warsaw. Sometimes we eat dumplings in restaurants, but usually they’re a domain of small, street bars. Look for them in Chinese neighborhoods, and if you’re in Hong Kong, save space in your stomach just for them. They’re fabulous!
8) QUESADILLA – MEXICO
In 2008 I went on my first trip to Mexico. I was with my mom, and it was a round trip planned by a travel agency. One of the best moments of that trip was when some Indian woman made cheese quesadillas in a provisional kitchen and we ate them. If you know quesadilla served in Tex-Mex bars, you need to try the simplest one, made in the worst conditions.
9) TACOS – MEXICO
A basic snack in Mexico. For breakfast, for lunch, for the go. Always with cilantro, often with onion and avocado. Additives to tacos may vary – you can eat them with pork, chicken, lamb, fish. What’s interesting, even though they have a loooong history, it’s said that the famous tacos al pastor was “delivered” to Mexico City by immigrants from Lebanon in the 50’s – they were kebab’s equivalent.
True Mexican and delicious tacos in Warsaw can be found in Maria Kolendra and it will be 100% street food, not an elegant restaurant 🙂
10) BUREK – BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Burek made of half-French pastry, with meat, cheese or spinach inside was our company while we were exploring the Balkans, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina. You can buy it in bakeries or so-called buregdzinice that are almost everywhere in places like Sarajevo. It’s a perfect partner if you’re on a car ride, perfect for breakfast and perfect for dinner! It tastes the best when it’s served warm, but it’s still good when cold.
11) LAHMAJOUN – ARMENIA
These thin flat-cakes called lahmajoun are something that we discovered in Warsaw, in Turkish Maho. Turned out they’re eaten in Armenia too, but people call them lahmadżun there. They’re thin, topped with minced meat and they make a great snack for a walk or for a road. In 2014, when we wanted to get lahmajoun in a bar by the road, we paid 1,5 or 2 zlotys.
12) CURRYWURST – GERMANY
If you’ve been to Germany and haven’t had currywurst, then I think you need to go back to Germany. Back in the day I thought it was absurd: sausage in a spicy tomato sauce sprinkled with curry?? It doesn’t make any sense! I was wrong! It’s great – and goes perfectly with a pretzel and beer 🙂 You can eat it while sightseeing, on Christmas fairs (they’re about to be opened – go HERE!) or at Oktoberfest.
13) FLAMMKUCHEN – GERMANY
Another German snack that’s perfect with beer or wine. Unfortunately, it’s not as common as currywurst. We discovered flammkuchen, traditional Alsatian snack, at a wine festival in Wiesbaden, where you could buy various kinds of thin flat-cakes at different stalls. The basic version is cream, bacon and onion. If you’re in Warsaw, you can it eat at Flambeeria.
14) PAN BAGNAT – NICE, FRANCE
Pan Bagnat is typical for Nice. It’s kind of like a baguette stuffed with Nice salad 🙂 It has eggs, tuna, tomatoes, olives and it’s delicious! You can be sure you’ll be full! On the inside, the baguette is poured over with olive oil – this is why it’s called “pan bagnat”, which means soggy bread.
15) PISSALADIERE – NICE
Nice again! It’s kind of like pizza, but instead of cheese, you get onion, olives and anchois. I wasn’t convinced when I heard the description, but now I know I love it!
16) Hainanese Chicken Rice – SINGAPORE
One of the most popular dishes sold at food courts in Singapore. It’s also popular in Malaysia. Characteristic taste, pretty good thing if you’re travelling with kids. Chicken, rice and cucumber with sauces on the side: soy and fresh chili with garlic.
17) BOCADILLO DE CALAMARES – SPAIN, mostly MADRIT
Is bocadillo de calamares really a street food? I’m not sure… But I do know that a baguette with well fried squid rings is a paradise for everyone who loves squids! It’s Spain’s flavor and a “dish” (???) that you definitely need to eat there. This sandwich is very popular – you’ll know it when you see lists of places with the best bocadillo de calamares like this one – I will definitely look into it when I go to Madrit.
18) PIZZA AL TAGLIO – ITALY
The picture was taken in Warsaw (at Da Curio!), but it’s in Rome that we ate it all the time. I will never forget a hot morning of 2009, when Łukasz brought me Coca Cola and 2 slices of pizza after a long night of partying. It saved my life!:)
19) ZAPIEKANKA – POLAND
It needs no introduction. If you’ve never had it, there must be something wrong with you 🙂 The best night snack after a party! Our last zapiekankas? By the beach in Gdynia, when we came to See Bloggers in July!:)
20) CHURROS – SPAIN
Do you know churros con chocolate? Sweet Spanish breakfast. But churros are also great as street food, especially when big food trucks serving hot, sweet churros and other awesome stuff appear on the streets before Christmas.
Their smell is magnetising, because I feel like it’s a mixture of vanilla, cinnamon and a freshly made cake. You can eat them in Czech Prague, at street festivals in Hungary, but you can also get them in Warsaw (Maks buys them outside of Ikea in Janki;)))! They taste best when you eat them by breaking off little pieces of them with your fingers 🙂
Belgian or Polish? Both! I don’t believe you don’t love them!!! 🙂 My favorite version is with whipped cream and strawberries or blueberries!
23) PALO CON TXISTORRA – BASQUE COUNTRY
One of my memories from Erasmus – local holidays in the Basque Country with sidra flowing all the time and corn palo flat-cakes with spicy txistorra sausage. I’m incredibly glad I could eat it again when we came back to the Basque Country in July.
24) FISH & CHIPS – GREAT BRITAIN
You can eat it in a cultural way, at a restaurant, or in a cardboard box at a bench – this is how it should be done! 🙂 We love it and we eat fish & chips all the time when we’re in Ireland, Wales or Scotland! Crispy coating and French fries with vinegar… Yummy!
25) BUBBLE TEA
If you need to invigorate in Singapore or Bangkok, this is your go to. Drinks based on tea with jellybean-like cassava balls, bursting popping fava balls and jelly can be found in maaaany places in Asia. The idea to mix tea with cassava balls comes from Taiwan and I believe we’ll get to try it in its homeland some day 🙂 Especially since it’s close to us – Łukasz is Bubbleology’s co-owner. If you’ve never had bubble tea, you can try it in Bubbleology:)
Alright, enough street foods from us 🙂 I’d add fresh coconut juice, but is it street food or just a drink? Maybe it’s a street drink! 🙂 I’m waiting (REALLY!) for your favorite street foods, especially from places we haven’t been to – we need to know what to eat once we get there!!! 🙂