You can get a great feel for a city by its street-food – it’s what you get when you strip away the fancy wallpaper and schmoozy lighting and bustle and lounge music of a restaurant. It’s cheap, it’s quick, and you can eat it on the go, or find somewhere pretty to sit and eat it.
I make it my business to try at least one type of street food wherever I go, and so should you. But to save you from wasting your time with the subpar stuff, here’s a list of the ultimate street food experiences you can have in some of the fantastic cities we fly to.
It’s not all stuff you have to eat on the street, but it’s all street food. It’s often carby, greasy, meaty, delicious fried loveliness. And you will be all the happier for having eaten it. Sure you’re on your holidays… Cross these bad boys of your bucket list.
Palermo has SUCH a strong street food game – one of the top five in the world apparently. We’ve covered it on the blog before with the help of the street-food savants from Streat Palermo Tour.
Really, there’s so much deliciousness to try that your best bet is to take a tour with these guys and they’ll show you the best that the city has to offer.
If you try one thing and one thing only – and bear with me here – try the grilled lamb intestines. I know, I know. But these skewered guts are actually fantastic.
And you know how they say we should all do something every day that scares us? Yeah, well this would probably cover you for a month. Do the tour, and your guide will offer gentle encouragement and moral support.
Head to Laurinska Street in Bratislava, and follow your nose towards number 7, where you will find Orbis Street Food. They do Brussels style frites, with all manner of delicious dips and sauces to go with.
These should be the first thing you order… but not the last, by any means. With your chips, you can get all manner of gorgeous fresh flatbreads, burgers and sandwiches… or just go full-caveman and order their cone of meat.
Yeah, you heard. It’s a cardboard take-away cone filled with hunks of tender, juicy meat. Ok, just shut up and take my money and give me the meat cone thanks.
London is leading the way as far as street food goes,with all kinds of fancy and hipsterish stuff on offer. But there’s a standout.
Bleecker Street Burger has a blissfully simple, beautifully executed menu – and even a veggie option for those of you who are strong enough to have chosen principles and ethics over the taste of grilled meat.
The Bleecker Black is inspired. It’s kind of a burger within a burger – but the middle burger consists of a thick disc of crumnbly black pudding sandwiched between two pink beef patties, which in turn are sandwiched between that garish yellow cheese that street burgers should always come with. Zan Kaufman is a burger goddess.
I’ve already professed my undying love for Mustafa’s Gemusekebab in Kreuzberg, Berlin – you should not leave Berlin without having one of their kebabs. But if you want a serious street food extravaganza, head to Markthalle Neun (also in lovely Kreuzberg) on a Thursday, and just go bananas.
The market plays host to loads of food vendors that don’t have the platform and fame of the kebab and currywurst institutions in the city, and you can get everything from Nigerian fufu to Tekoyaki Octopus Balls (we’re not sure either), or more expected stuff like melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork sandwiches. It’s inventive, fancy as hell, foodie heaven.
If there’s one type of street food you’d be silly to miss out on in Malta, it’s those gorgeous little Pastizzi. These are crispy, diamond-shaped puff pastries filled with cheese or peas (of the mushy variety), and they are extremely moreish.
Not too many places that sell these make them in-house anymore, but there is one place that not only does it, but does it really well. Crystal Palace in Rabat has been baking these bad boys for almost half a century so they know what they’re doing.
They close for about two hours a night during the week and not at all on weekends, so you can pretty much indulge whenever you like. Oh… and they cost 30 cent each, so fill your boots.
In Stockholm, Bun Bun is the one. This adorable food truck with its lovely friendly staff serves up clever, healthy and authentic-tasting Vietnamese fusion street food that will blow you away.
There are veggie options, meaty options and all kinds of interesting fusions going on (the Vietnamese tacos are a thing of serious beauty).
Soft tacos filled with a meat or main filling of your choice, as well as piquant mayo, pickles, coriander, chilli, roasted onions, hot sauce and peanuts. If you want a carb-load, the filled baguettes are probably your best bet.
Anyone with the genius to turn a pizza into a proper sandwich, like Trapizzino did, deserves a place into the food hall of fame.
You can get pizza by the slice everywhere in Rome, and it’s great – but if you’re grabbing a bite to eat in between legging it round to all of Rome’s sights, these little stuffed pizza cones are not just gorgeous but extremely user friendly.
To summarise: a pizza base cone, filled with ragu, meat, and a host of other traditional Italian flavours. You’ll find these inspired eats on Via Giovanni Branca in trendy Testaccio.
You can get a large or small one. Get a large one. And get one of their suppli too. Because why would you not get a deepfried ball of rice, meat and cheese…
Dublin street food used to consist of a fairly sad burger and soggy chips with garlic sauce, but the food scene in the city has exploded with international cuisine, including some awesome street food from all over the world – including Mexico.
There are a lot of really, really good burrito places slinging out these huge, heavy wraps full of rice, meat, cheese and all kinds of other gorgeous fillings, but we reckon you should get your little ass to Little Ass.
Not only are their burritos well-filled, fresh, juicy little numbers – but their shop front and decor is completely charming, which is obviously a massive bonus.
Oh, and if you’re worried about your little ass turning into a big huge ass, there’s a wrapless ‘paleo’ burrito you can get too.
Madrid has so many awesome little bodegas and restaurants that the street food thing was never a really huge thing… until the Madreat Street Food Market rolled its delicious wheels into town.
It’s a weekend street food festival that runs every month and it serves up all the best classic street eats you’d expect, as well as some seriously fancy Michelin stuff from time to time.
Plan your trip to Madrid around it, and spend a whole day trying everything you can manage to fit in your mouth.
Where street food meets disco. We’re actually a little bit disgusted that nobody thought of this sooner. But BIteclub thought of it – and they nailed it too.
They serve street food from all over the world, all under one roof, accompanied by whopper cocktails, brilliant music, disarmingly friendly staff, and a bit of a dance if you’re into that sort of thing.
The fish tacos, wings and corn on the cob are all particularly good. Actually it’s all particularly good – just order what you want. And order some for us too.
Street food is not such a huge thing in Seville either, probably for the same reasons as Madrid. But if Lacayejera is anything to go by, it might very well kick off.
They have the usual food truck stuff – hot dogs, burgers and chips – but also some spicy little Mexican fusion numbers, great salads, grilled chicken, banging burritos, and even oysters, prawns and all manner of fancy, fresh seafood.
Don’t let the truck fool you. This is a restaurant. On wheels.
Panzerotti are sort of like an Italian version of a pasty. What we are talking about here are pockets of soft dough, filled with cheese, tomatoes and Italian herbs or anchovies, deep fried until crispy on the outside and hot and melted inside. Yep.
They’re originally from Bari, but there’s a place in Milan that serves up some incredible ones that you really have to try.
Luini makes panzerotti so good that you can expect to queue around 20 minutes to get your hands on one, but once you have, you totally won’t care about how long it took.
These are like eating hugs.
In a city where expensive restaurants mean that street food is an essential part of any budget break, it helps when the street food is legitimately awesome.
You might be eating a lot of it (one reason we chose two winners here), but you won’t feel deprived for a moment if you indulge in a Copenhagen favourite; one of their gorgeous and ubiquitous hot dogs.
We mentioned John and his delicious dogs in our ‘Ten for under a Tenner’ series as a Copenhagen must – and that still stands. The toppings are incredible, the meat is proper quality, and the service is with a smile. Your other hot-dog-stop is døp.
Trust us, it’s a stop you’ll be very glad you made. Organic, gourmet hot dogs that are made with love to be devoured with relish. And with lots of relish.
The hip hop chip shop. The HIP HOP CHIP SHOP. The name alone should have you queuing up to order already. If that’s not enough, how about the fact that their food truck is built like a giant boombox?
Or the fact that they name their food after rappers and famous lyrics (the crab cakes are called Chell L Cool J, the side dishes are Pharcydes, and they have a Q-Tip Jar)?
Or most importantly, that their food is cleverly thought out, ethically sourced and extremely well put together – and tastes absolutely gorgeous? Yeah that should do it.
Here’s hoping that someday they’ll do a dish called Skate Outta Compton. Or U-Cod. I want to work there.
Food from the wall. At Febo, you buy your street food from a vending machine. There are burgers and chips behind a glass wall in giant vending machines, and you honestly just put in your money and take a burger, chips or a croquette from the shelf.
It’s slightly insane, and we can’t help but wonder about the correlation between Amsterdam’s many cafes, the effects of what is consumed in those cafes, and the need to eat junk food without having to speak to anyone to get it.
This is not gourmet cooking, but you absolutely have to try it if you’re in Amsterdam, just to say you did.
Oh, mon dieu. Le Camion qui Fume is an absolute Parisian trailblazer, set up by a forward thinking woman in a time where the very notion of hamburgers, let alone food trucks, was something met with pure Parisian disdain.
But she kept frying those patties, assembling them between two buns, and serving them to hungry Parisians and tourists who drifted her way, drawn by the intoxicating scent of frying beef.
It’s now Paris’ most iconic food truck, and one of Kristen Frederick’s burgers is as much as Parisian gastro-experience as a macaron from Ladureé.
- Dee Murray