While sightseeing is a big part of the international travel experience, the best trips engage all five senses. No matter what part of the world you’re headed to, sampling the local cuisine is a must. Fine dining can be delicious, but the best way to taste the local cuisine for an affordable price is trying the street food. Check out our list of mouthwatering street foods from around the world.
Currywurst in Berlin
Döner kebab is strongly associated with Berlin thanks to its large Turkish community, but currywurst is without a doubt the city’s signature street food. Consisting of steamed and fried pork sausage smothered in ketchup and curry powder, this spicy local twist on bratwurst is usually served with a side of fries.
Bánh mi in Vietnam
Though bánh mi technically refers to a type of baguette, it’s become synonymous with Vietnam’s
signature style of sandwich. A typical banh mi blends grilled pork, cucumber, cilantro and pickled carrots with liver paté and mayonnaise, though other meats and vegetables can be added into the mix. While you’re most likely to find a good, authentic bánh mi in Saigon, Vietnam’s signature street foodcan be found in most urban areas of the country.
Supplí in Rome
Think Italy is all pizza and pasta? Travelers in Rome are in for a unique treat. Strangely enough, this deep fried rice ball filled with tomato, meat sauce and mozzarella got its name from the French word for “surprise.” This popular finger food can be found among Rome’s many street vendors and in local pizza parlors. Grab a few on the go while you take in the ancient architecture in this mesmerizing city.
Arepas in Columbia and Venezuela
Think of arepas as a sort of South (and Central) American spin on the classic crepe. The arepa itself is a patty made from maize dough that can be baked, grilled, fried, or steamed, and molded into various shapes. A Colombian arepa commonly consists of butter, cheese, eggs, chorizo, and hogao onion sauce. However, what you’ll find inside your arepa will vary from place to place and time of day.
Haluhalo in the Philippines
Not all of the world’s best street eats are served hot. Try the ice-cold Haluhalo for a chilled delight. This Filipino dessert combines shaved ice and condensed milk, then adds a wide range of toppings and flavors to make a sundae unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Add-ins like sweetened kidney beans, chickpeas, jackfruit, and plantains are local favorites. The whole mixture makes for a colorful street treat that’s perfect for cooling off.
Bao in Taiwan
While bao has become increasingly trendy, inspiring specialized restaurants and food trucks around the globe, there’s no substitute for the real deal. This savory snack consists of stewed meat in a steamed bun, adorned with pickled mustard greens and finely ground peanuts. Pork belly is the most popular filling, but varieties with chicken and fish are also available. And since a traditional bao can be finished in just a few bites, you can sample a few to find your favorite.
Rou jia mo in China
Not to be outdone by Taiwan, mainland China is also home to some of the best street food you’ll find anywhere on the planet. Rou jia mo, which originated in the Shaanxi Province, is now a common sight at street markets all over China. With a name that roughly translates to “meat sandwich,” rou jia mo is a spiced blend of stewed pork, kabob style beef or lamb and peppers stuffed into “mo,” which closely resembles a flatbread.
“Bunny Chow” in Durban, South Africa
Despite the name, there’s no rabbit or rabbit food involved in this popular South African street dish.Some years ago, Durban’s Indian expat community came up with the idea to scoop out bread and fill it with locally prepared curry. While originally vegetarian, today you’ll find bunny chow featuring mutton, lamb or chicken alongside meatless options incorporating beans and fries (or chips as the locals call them). The end result is a “sandwich” perfect to enjoy while taking in ocean views from one of Durban’s beautiful beaches.
Bhel puri in India
Street food is such a part of Indian culture that they have their own word, “chaat,” for the wide range of low-cost delicacies you can find there. While there are tons of local varieties of chaat to try, bhel puri is one of the most prevalent. Featuring puffed rice, fried sev noodles, vegetables, chutney, and spice, this dish features a wonderful mix of flavors and textures.
These are some of the best street foods from around the globe, but there are plenty of delicious local dishes to try no matter where you’re headed. For more travel inspiration, learn about some of the benefits of solo travel or the apps that can help you make the most of your trip.