Eating on the street does not always mean eating on the go. Some countries have made street food a genuine culinary art as evidenced by destinations such as Bangkok and Singapore, where some stalls have even received a star in the MICHELIN guide. Here is a quick overview of the thousand and one street flavours across the globe.
The world capital of street food, the pavements of Bangkok are a genuine open-air restaurant. Skewers with saté sauce, shrimp pancakes fried with salt and chilli, tom kha kaï soup, pad thaï and all manner of curries. You can eat everything at any time including rare dishes such as abalone or shark fin soup.
The city state is famous for its hawker street vendors. All Asian cuisines are represented in the streets of Singapore, from Sino Malaysian Laksa, to Chinese bak chor mee (fried minced pork with noodles) through to Indian biryani, not forgetting char kway teow, rice noodles sautéed in soy sauce and garnished with bean sprouts and minced sausage.
Chinatown Food Street in Singapore - ©Starcevic/iStock
From sweet to savoury, streetfood in Hong Kong is everything youwould expect. Egg waffles are one of the great classics. From the dai pai dong (open air street stalls) there is peanut butter french toast with sweet milk tea which you can eat for breakfast. You must also try the amazing little pineapple buns topped with butter. For something more savoury : fried pig intestines, grilled octopus tentacles ... So many specialties for a real change of taste.
Street food, market in Hong Kong - ©SAHACHAT/iStock
During the All Saints Day of the Dead festival, Oaxaca becomes an exceptional street food destination. Street cooks offer flour-based fare such as memelas, quesadillas and empañadas, as well as chapulines (grilled grasshoppers). Don’t miss the chocolate atole, a pre-Hispanic drink made with cocoa powder mixed with corn flour, water and sugar.
Could Palermo be the European capital of street food? From morning until late at night, you can feast on small plates of octopus salad, swordfish dumplings with coriander, plates of multicolored cactus fruit as well as fried calamari, cuttlefish, squid and sfincione , a tomato, onion and herb pizza, and panelle, chickpea fitters.
Sfincione, pizza of Palerme - ©simona flamigni/iStock
The British capital has a thriving street food scene. There are two options to explore. Borough Market is where you can taste English specialties such as pork pie, as well as good sandwiches and organic fruit juices. Another option: the numerous food vans, scattered all over London, offering cuisine from around the world: a Sri Lankan pancake, a Greek pita or an Italian piadina…
Sandwiches in the Borough Market - ©coldsnowstorm/iStock
The huge Chinese capital offers a dizzying range of choice with tens of thousands of street food stalls. You can enjoy insect kebabs, butterfly cocoons as well as caramelized fruit skewers, sautéed noodles and other delicious ravioli and steamed buns (bao), which can be filled with both sweet (egg cream) and savoury (lemongrass pork) , pork and mushrooms…) fillings.
Behind the immense Shinjuku crossroads, sheltered from the buildings and the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, the discreet Omoide Yokocho district is made up of a few narrow streets with a large number of small street food stalls. There are specialties such as unagi, freshwater eel served on rice, soups served with tempura fritters and yakitori (grilled skewers of all kinds). A timeless place not to be missed.
(unagi) - ©4kodiak/iStock
From Hanoï to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is a great street food destination. Pho soup, spring rolls, bò bún (soup) and bánh xèo, rice pancakes stuffed with pork, shrimp, mung bean and bean sprouts ... not forgetting the famous bánh mì, sandwiches that mix French influence (the baguette) and local flavours, coriander, pickled cucumber, grilled pork. In any event, Vietnamese street food is always fragrant and very healthy.
Formerly known as Formosa , Taiwan is one of the most important street food spots in the world. In the Shilin market in Taipei, we watch the noodles being made before being eaten on the sstreet, such as the strange stinky tofu. In Tainan, in the south, the Zheng-Xing district brings together small stalls offering delicious and unique specialties such as oyster soup and omelette, pork and shrimp wrapped in sweet potato pancakes and tapioca.
Brioches de porc noir - ©Evgeny Ermakov/iStock