We went in search of the best street food cities in the world outside of Asia. But why leave out Asia, you ask? We didn’t! Asia’s street food traditions are so strong the region merits its own post here. Now let’s see what the rest of the world has to offer.
BOROUGH MARKET, LONDON, UK
The most popular food market in London. It is definitely a must go when in London if you are looking for the best street food. Located near the London Bridge Station, there are many varieties of food from fresh produce to ready-to-eat meals.
One of the recommended stalls which we fell in love with is Richard Haward Oysters. They are 7th generation oystermen. It was our first try at oysters, as we do not usually eat oysters back in Singapore. This was recommended by our friends. They are located in Borough Market, facing the street. It will be difficult to miss.
Choose from the mid to big size oyster, the big ones can grow as big as your palm! They will shuck the raw oysters in front of you, place on the plates and serve immediately. At the sides, there are condiments and lemon slices to go along.
Our first time having oysters and definitely recommended to try this out if you are at Borough Market.
Oyster price starts from £0.90 each to £2.20 each, closed on Sunday and Monday.
Donovan blogs at Travel Voila
The city of Dresden was part of the former East Germany and the street food is similar to that found in nearby Berlin. Some of the food on offer includes Bratwurst, Doner Kebabs and Quarkballchen for those with a sweet tooth. Currywurst, however, reigns supreme when it comes to the best street food here. There are a number of hole-in-the-wall places serving the saucy sausage combination and at every festival and event in the city, you will find a food truck selling currywurst. Currywurst is a grilled bratwurst served with a slightly sweet curry sauce; at some shops, you even get to choose how spicy you want it from kindergartener mild to knock your lederhosen off spicey. If you want to eat like a local, this is what to choose.
Kaylie Lewell blogs at Happiness Travels Here
There is a little hot dog stand near the harbor of Reykjavik, the pretty and friendly capital of Iceland. The name of the hot dog stand is Baejarins Betsu Pylsur, which translates into “the best hot dogs in the world.” Bill Clinton, a former U.S. president, and fast food aficionado sampled a hot dog there and is said to have loved it. As if that were not sufficient validation, Anthony Bourdain, the foodie celebrity, visited the stand and declared the hot dog “delicious.” That did it! Since that endorsement, there has been a line stretching out in front of the stand almost continuously. It is said that the secret ingredient that makes the hot dog so mouthwateringly delicious is a bit of ground lamb added to the recipe.
But Reykjavik is more than just mere hot dogs, albeit amazing ones. The city is rapidly gaining a reputation as a foodie destination and a place to get the best street food.
Talek Nantes blogs at Travels with Talek
Could this be the ultimate best street food experience in Europe? So far, I cannot think of many competitors.
Restaurant day was invented in Finland and the idea came about because many people were frustrated with the bureaucracy of the restaurant industry. Now, on special days, everyone can open his own restaurant. After initial success in Finland, Restaurant Days became popular worldwide. According to visitfinland, there are 88,000 individuals selling in 22,000 pop-up-restaurants globally.
In Helsinki, four times a year, people go out to the streets, put up their tents, cook and sell food. You can try dishes from all over the world. You cannot recognize the streets, which are normally half-empty.
While most of the restaurants are on the central walking street- Esplanadi, there are other ones scattered around the city.
Alexander Popkov blogs at Engineer on Tour
When people think of Germany and the best street food, the first thing that comes to mind is probably sausages. But the street food scene in the exciting city of Cologne is so much more diverse than that. The international nature of the city is reflected in the best street food scene that can be found every Thursday evening on the Rudolfplatz at Meet and Eat or in the monthly Street Food Festival at the Helios.
With a vibrant Turkish community, doner is a must try street food in Cologne and nothing like an English high street on a Saturday night. Being a country famous for its meat there is always an amazing selection of burgers (Buns and Sons are a huge favourite), steak sandwiches (Die Foodpiraten) and of course Bratwurst (Wurst Case Scenario).
There’s great food from all over the world. You name a country and you can probably get their local dishes somewhere in Cologne. My favourites are the Vietnamese Sandwiches from Banh Mi Brothers, Cornish Pasties from the Tasty Pasty Company and Falafels from Dinkelmann’s. Fans of desserts should really check out the deep fried stuff from Die Kleine Munchkin. The only problem I have it that there’s so much good street food it’s impossible to choose.
John Franklin blogs at From Real People
In Wales, go to the right places and there are mobile feasts to be had. Wales excels at quality produce, lamb, beef, lobster, shellfish and characteristic Welsh specialties such as seaweed (we call it lava) caul (soup) Welsh cakes and bara brith (tea cake). A favourite street food feast of ours can be found right on the beach in Pembrokeshire. A now-famous food van serves up fresh Welsh lobster along with quality burgers and bacon dressed with lava enriched ” black butter.” The owner of the van collects lava from the beach daily. A must-eat in south Wales.
Alyson Long blogs at World Travel Family
Uganda is a lot more than some gorillas in a forest. The capital city Kampala has a great street food scene as it’s the only way locals eat out. Restaurants in Africa are reserved for the rich, expats, and non-profit workers. So, the vast majority of locals are served up food street side. The national street dish of choice is called a “Rolex.” It’s an omelette with any mixture of ingredients, the most popular potatoes, rolled in a chapati with chili sauce. It’s cheap, filling and delicious. You can also find staple foods such as grilled maize, BBQ chicken, Mandazi, and Sumbusas (samosas). Then you always have Muchomo, grilled meat on a stick typically goat, beef, or pork. It can found everywhere in Africa but goes by different names.
Natasha & Cameron blog at The World Pursuit
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, USA
New Orleans, Louisiana is hands down one of the best foodie spots in the Southeast USA! The Cajun, French, and Creole blend of flavors allow for decadent cuisine to be created. Some of our favorites include King Cake, Gumbo, and Beignets.
Originally, king cakes were a simple ring of dough with little decoration. Today, the ring is braided and baked before the “baby Jesus” is inserted. The “lucky” person who receives the slice of cake with the baby must buy the cake next year. King cakes can come stuffed with cream cheese or jams but I prefer a simple cinnamon one decorated in green, yellow, and purple colors of Mardi Gras!
Gumbo is my FAVORITE “soup”. The roux, or base, is a mix of fat and flour. Onion, celery and bell pepper are added and simmered. Lastly, the meats are added by seasons. Seafood is readily available in summer. Fall brings home venison or alligator meat, winter uses smoked Andouille sausage, and Spring is anything, but of course all veggie during Lent.
Lastly, beignets are a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar. They are served in orders of three. These are the main reason we visit NOLA…so addicting!
There you have it! New Orleans is where you find the best street food in the Southeast USA!
Maegan White blogs at The Wanderlust Dietitian
Dallas Food Trucks: A Taste of Americana
Food Trucks are a tradition dating back to the 1800s with roots to the chuckwagon. There is no better place to experience this beloved piece of Americana than in Dallas where there are nearly 200 food trucks dishing out delicious and diverse culinary delights on any given day.
What makes Dallas food trucks unique is the diversity of the city itself. People from around the globe call Dallas home, bringing with them their favorite recipes handed down from generations before. One of my favorite places to enjoy food truck flair is Klyde Warren Park next to the Dallas Museum of Art. The park hosts a variety of food trucks that range from wood-fired pizza, Greek specialties, authentic Peruvian meals, Maine lobster delicacies, flavorful vegan desserts and homemade Texas BBQ.
I love chowing down on Easy Slider’s Baby Bella sliders. Made from grown portabella, they layer it with a thick slice of warm mozzarella and fresh tomato drizzled with a tangy pesto sauce. Then they sandwich it between a mini-bun with a cherry tomato on top. It is a good thing they come in pairs, because you can’t eat just one.
Donna Long blogs at Empty Nestopia
Better known for its craft breweries, Portland, Oregon is also a street food paradise: more than 500 food carts offer a wide variety of world cuisines and fusions from downtown to the city’s farthest reaches, including the airport. Most carts are organized into pods, vacant lots that host a number of carts with amenities like bathrooms, picnic tables, even fireplaces. Several pods have become centers of neighborhood life, with an atmosphere of a town square.
It’s impossible to pick the best food cart in Portland aka Cartopia. First, they come and go like comets. The Moroccan cart we named as the most underrated food cart in Portland disappeared a few months later. Some food carts get so popular they turn into brick-and-mortar restaurants, some of which have become culinary destinations themselves, e.g. Guero or Lardo. The variety of food is huge: we’d wager you can find food from 100 countries (the only Mauritian food cart in the US is in downtown).
Portland Mercado, the Latin American cuisine pod in SE Portland, boasts many fantastic carts. QueBolá Chef Jose Perez’s ropa vieja and Cubano sandwich changed our minds about Cuban food. Best paired with tepache from the nearby Barrio bar. Here is a city that can really claim to have the best street food.
Peter Korchnak blogs at Where Is Your Toothbrush?
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
This multi-cultural city is a hub of immigration and provider of best street food. It is the gateway to the U.S. The place where immigrants pause, for a few days or a few generations, before moving on and assimilating into the rich fabric of the country. As such, you are likely to find the most varied street food imaginable; Colombian arepas, Thai satay, Indian dosas, Middle Eastern shawarma, Italian sausages…you name it, it is found in the multi-ethnic neighborhoods of the city the never sleeps.
Despite this wealth of delicious choice, the general consensus is that the humble hot dog, itself a German immigrant, is the iconic street food of New York City. The best place to grab a New York City hot dog is from the street vendors that occupy strategic corners around the city’s tourist attractions. Complement the dog with sauerkraut, onions or mustard and be an honorary New Yorker, if only for a few bites.
Talek Nantes blogs at Travels with Talek
SAN IGNACIO, BELIZE
Quite possibly the second most unforgettably melt-in-your-mouth amazing street food I’ve ever had in 16 countries is a San Ignacio fry jack. The aroma drew me from two streets over. Heavily spiced beans and rice are mixed with diced peppers and onions and ruthlessly stuffed into a ball of dough kneaded over a clay fire. The crispy shell gets drenched in pickled cabbage and cotija, eaten like a pocket sandwich.
We arrived at the market with one goal – to find homemade tortillas. We left with bellies full and arms loaded with ripe papayas, spiced frijoles and candied coconut wrapped in wax paper. The tight stalls of San Ignacio’s open-air market spill out onto cobblestone streets, each with its own crowd of street vendors and farmers. You’re just as likely to find a “traditional” food cart here as you are a clay pot heaped with coals, over which marinated pork is sizzling for a taco.
This colorful rainforest town of San Ignacio is Belize’s very own melting pot, a thorough mixing of Spanish, German, Chinese, Mayan and Mennonite cultures. Such a rich migration history means travelers will find some of the most delicious and unexpected street food around.
Amy McFarland blogs at The Gypsy Mamas
MERIDA, YUCATAN, MEXICO
Mexico is known for its world-famous cuisine, but did you know that the Yucatan region has its own distinct culinary history and unique street food options. The capital city of Merida is where you will find some of the best street food, from salbutes (puffed deep-fried tortilla) stuffed with chicken, turkey or a local favourite, cochinita which is a traditional Mayan slow-roasted pork, papadzules and of course freshly made tortas. Our all-time favorite is ‘panuchos de lechon’. Panuchos are similar to salbutes but the tortilla is stuffed with refried black beans and the filling lechon is roasted suckling pig. The crispy skin of the pork and crunch of the fried panuchos make the perfect mouthful. It’s a messy meal…but worth it every time!
Merida also has it’s fair share of al pastor tacos where the meat is cooked on a trompos similar to those you’d see in kebab or shawarma shops, however here the meat is marinated with guajillo chiles and achiote, topped off with some pineapple for a bit of sweetness. You will never forget your first mouthful of these delicious tacos.
Meagen Collins blogs at Food, Fun, Travel
There is one place in Israel where you can taste every possible spice in the world and let yourself be wrapped in the smells and colours of the Middle East: Mahane Yehuda – or the shuk, meaning the market. It is the place that wakes up with the city itself, the tasty beating heart of a place where history hardly lets you sleep. From huge chunks of halvas to breads soaked in olive oil and the special spice za’atar – a blend of dried thyme, marjoram, toasted sesame seeds, salt, oregano, and sumac – to dried and fresh fruits, it’s all there! Add to this small restaurants offering traditional hummus dishes and various types of meat or puff pastry and you’ve got a wonderful culinary experience.
Ilana D. Weissz blogs at Ilana Travels.
Some visitors to Marrakech find Moroccan restaurant food can be mediocre. The reason being Moroccans don’t go out to eat Moroccan food – they eat it at home. Instead, they choose to eat small bites on the streets. Even though it can seem intimidating, this is one of the best ways to try Moroccan food if you can’t get an invite to someone’s home.
Most street food is served in the evenings. You can head to Jemma el Fna the famous square known for its food stands, smoky grills, really good food and where the main streets of the souk’s small shops sell all sorts of foods. Slow cooked mechoui (a lamb dish), tangia – lamb cooked in a clay pot for hours, msemmen – a type of flaky bread served savory or sweet, and sfinge – a puffy fried doughnut are just a few of the most common street foods. Don’t be afraid to wander the streets and see where the Moroccans go, then get in there and try it!
Amanda Ponzio Mouttaki blogs at Marocmama
Want to know where you find the best street food in Asia? Click here.
What are some of your favorite foodie cities?