7 street food destinations you should add to your bucket list
Travel Tips / 15 October 2019, 08:00am / Clinton Moodley
Gone are the days when travellers wanted sit-down dinners in fancy restaurants or at their hotels. Instead, they prefer food loved by the locals.
Street food has become incredibly popular. Travellers wander the streets in search of dishes you won’t find in restaurants.
Here are some popular street food destinations:
South African cuisine combines African, Asian and European elements. For the best street food experience, explore Durban. The city was voted one of the top street food destinations in the world by CNN in 2016. Durban offers many options for travellers.
Try the bunny chow, a hollowed-out bread filled with a curry of your choice: mutton, chicken or beans. Many Indian eateries have incorporated it into their menus. Also, try the amagwinya (vetkoek), a savoury dough filled with mince or cheese and deep fried.
Many vendors serve this comfort food at street corners, but restaurants serve “gourmet” versions with additional combinations. Other notable mentions include koeksisters, boerewors, biltong and the kota which is filled with atchar, polony and slap chips.
Thailand may be known for its culture, tourist attractions and warm hospitality, but it is also famed for its food markets and vendors who showcase some of the country’s best cuisine.
The street vendors prepare meals in front of you and there are plenty of options to choose from.
Popular Thai street food includes pad thai, kaao laad kaeng (curry on rice), mango sticky rice and Thai iced tea. A popular place to satisfy your street food cravings is Yaowarat, also known as China Town, in Bangkok.
Lined with market stalls, street-side restaurants and gold shops, China Town should be on every foodie’s bucket list.
Bangkok.com suggests that travellers plan their trip with major holidays like the Chinese New Year, if you want to see it in all its glory.
Bali is another Asian destination that thrills foodie travellers. Besides its spectacular views and array of temples, Bali is a destination packed with flavour. Here you can get your street food indulgences brought directly to you via people known as “flying vendors”.
They usually walk around with a large container filled with food.So whether you’re reading a book at the beach or wandering the streets, food is bound to find you.
Popular street food items include sate (satay), a southeast Asian dish of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat; bakso, an Indonesian meatball with hot broth; and pisang rai, a boiled banana wrapped in rice flour and rolled in coconut.
Street food is quite common in the US. You may have seen a few carts or food trucks featured in major Hollywood movies that serve up hot dogs, meaty subs and designer coffee.
Each city in the US has its unique attributes. For example, Chelsea Market in New York has become a popular food attraction.
Just a short walk from the Hudson River, Chelsea Market serves everything from soup to nuts, wine to coffee, cheese to cheesecake.
According to its website, the area has always been the “locus of food in the city, beginning with the Algonquin Indians, who traded their game and crops on the banks of the Hudson River at this same spot”.
Atlanta is known for its southern-style food. Think barbeque, fried chicken, burgers and sweet tea.
Atlanta is also big on the food truck scene. Try Yumbii for its Asian and Mexican influences and The Pickle for its Tex-Mex, southern and bayou specialities. New Orleans is well-known for its southern-style cuisine, including po’ boy, a traditional sandwich from Louisiana, which consists of meat or fried seafood.
Travellers to Mexico visit the country for its azure beaches, party spots and top-of-the-range resorts. But its street food is a winner, too. Tamales are a traditional Mesoamerican dish steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. Tamales are undoubtedly one of the popular dishes in Mexico and are available at food vendors or restaurants across the country.
Other popular options include tacos, quesadillas, tostadas, empanadas, nachos, fajita and tortas. The Guardian named Tostadas and La Reyna de la Roma as popular eateries that serve street food.
Morocco, bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, is distinguished by its Berber, Arabian and European cultural influences. The country is rich in culture and many travellers love to explore the shopping and food offerings.
The street food scene is flourishing. Harira, known as the national soup of Morocco, is one of the traditional meals you must try. The tomato-based soup is prepared with chickpeas and lentils. There’s also the merguez, a grilled red, spicy mutton or beef-based sausage and sardines served with parsley and paprika.
Morocco is the largest canned sardine exporter. For those with a sweet tooth, try chebakia, a pastry dough created to look like a rose. After it’s deep-fried, it’s poured with a syrup made of honey and rosewater and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Hit the streets of Fez, known as Morocco’s culinary capital. Visit Bab Abi al-Jounoud, an ornate city gate and the main western entrance to Fes el Bali, the old city of Fez, where you are bound to find a few eateries and shops.
No street food destination list would be complete without India. India is known to offer some of the best street foods and the majority of them are vegetarian-friendly.
Among their traditional meals is bhelpuri, a mixture of puffed rice, potatoes and roasted peanuts, and pani puri, crisp, hollowed puris with potato, moong and chickpeas, and aloo tikki, a dish made with mashed potato stuffed with lentils and cottage cheese, and deep-fried in ghee.
Also, try the jalebi: a deep dough smothered in a sugary syrup, or besan ki roti, a gluten-free Indian flat bread made from chickpea flour.
Sip on some chai tea prepared by a chaiwala as you wander among the vast array of street food vendors. Visit Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and for the best street food offerings.