April 15, 2024 | Jamie Hayes

What Country Has The Best Street Food In The World?


It Tastes Better Off The Street

What was the last thing you ordered off the street? Whatever it was, I bet it tasted delicious. Everyone knows food tastes better off the street.

Sf2Gallery

Corn Dog - United States

First invented by German immigrants in Texas, the corn dog—a hot dog on a stick, coated in cornmeal batter and deep fried—is one of the most iconic American street foods today.

Close-up Photo of a Corn Dog with mustard placedAndreanna Moya Photography, Flickr

Coxinha - Brazil

When you first see a coxinha, you might think it's a deep-friend chicken wing. Or maybe an enormous deep-fried Hershey Kiss? But it's really shredded chicken meat that's shaped into a wing or teardrop shape, then battered and deep-fried.

Close-up Photo of Coxinhas on a green bowl placed on a wooden table, blurred backgroundAlpha, Flickr

Curry Puff - Southeast Asia

Popular across Southeast Asia, curry puffs are flaky, turnover pastries filled with vegetables or meat—and you guessed it, plenty of curry powder.

Close-up Photo of Curry Puffs on a white plate placed on  wooden tableAlpha, Flickr

Currywurst - Germany

When cultures collide! Nowadays in Germany, you can order a currywurst on the street—a traditional German bratwurst topped with curry powder and curried ketchup, often served with french fries.

Close-up Photo of Currywurst, as ordered in Wuppertal GermanyZiko van Dijk, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Dahi Puri - Mumbai, India

Originally from the city of Mumbai, Dahi Puri is one of India's most popular street foods today. It's made of mini puffed bread shells called "puri" stuffed with potatoes, vegetables, and spices.

Close-up Photo of Dahi puri on a metal platePanku00143, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Dak-kkochi - South Korea

If you're ordering street food in South Korea, you'll probably see some dak-kkochi, the country's spin on BBQ chicken skewers.

Close-up Photo of Dak-kkochi on a aluminum foil placed on a tableCharles Haynes, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Danger Dog - Mexico

A hot dog, wrapped in bacon and deep-fried might seem like a quintessentially American snack, but it was actually invented by street vendors in Mexico first.

Close-up Photo of a person serving a Danger DogNoHoDamon, Flickr

Doner Kebab - Turkey

Though most people call it "shawarma," the original vertical rotisserie was the döner kebab from the Ottoman Empire, now Turkey—but you can find it in pretty much any city on Earth today.

Photo of a person preparing Doner Kebab in Ankara, TurkeyCameron Wears, Flickr

Doubles - Trinidad And Tobago

If you're in Trinidad and Tobago, you NEED to order doubles. Two curried flatbreads with curry chana, mango, cucumber, tomato, coconut, tamarind chutney, and pepper sauce. 

Doubles are most popular for breakfast—but like all great breakfast foods, they hit at any time of the day.

Close-up Photo of Doubles on a white plate placed on a wooden tablecoreycam, Flickr

Douhua - China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, And Southeast Asia

A sweet or savoury soft pudding made from tofu, douhua has no real comparison in the West, but it's an extremely popular street confection in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and across Southeast Asia.

Close-up Photo of Douhua in a plastic bowl placed on a tableUnknown Author, Wikimedia Commons

Egg Waffle - Hong Kong

A fluffy, eggy, bubbly waffle popular on the streets of Hong Kong. Can be rolled and filled with fruit or ice cream, or just served on its own fresh out of the iron.

Close-up Photo of Egg waffle on a white plate placed on a wooden tableAlpha, Flickr

Elote - Mexico

You haven't had corn until you've had an elote: Corn on the cob that's grilled and coated with butter, salt, chili powder, cheese, and lime, often served on a stick.

Close-up Photo of Elote a Mexican Style street FoodInes Suarez R, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Empanada - Philippines, South America, And Spain

Spanish pastry turnovers stuffed with savoury fillings like meat or potatoes, a fresh empanada from a street vendor always hits the spot.

Close-up Photo of Empanadas on a wooden tableConsumatron.com, Flickr

Esquites - Mexico

Esquites is a street corn salad found in Mexico made of sauteed corn with butter, onions, chile peppers, spices and lime. Delicious.

Close-up Photo of Esquites served on the streetAngélica Portales, Flickr

Farinata - Genoa, Italy

Farinata are thin, crepe-like pancakes made from chickpea flour. First made in Genoa before spreading down the Mediterranean coast to France, farinata are a savoury dish, usually served simply seasoned with rosemary.

Close-up Photo of Farinata in a metal plate placed on a tableSalvatore Mazza, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Fish And Chips - United Kingdom And Ireland

You can order fish and chips all over the world—even places where we call them "fries"—but you haven't had proper fish and chips until you've gotten true, batter-fried whitefish and chunky deep-fried potatoes, wrapped in newspaper, from a vendor by the ocean. Sorry.

Close-up Photo of Fish And Chips and bowl of sauceSmabs Sputzer, Flickr

Fish Balls - Southern China And Southeast Asia

Guess what shape fish balls are? Ball-shaped. Guess what's in them? Fish paste. They're deep-fried, delicious, and you can find them at street markets all over Southeast Asia.

Close-up Photo of Fish balls on a white plate placed on a tableWee Keat Chin, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Thai Fried Chicken - Thailand

Maybe the most underrated kind of fried chicken, in Thailand they'll serve you your wings with coriander, garlic, fish sauce, and other Thai spices. My mouth is watering.

Close-up Photo of thai fried chicken in a white plate placed on a wooden tableStreets of Food, Flickr

Frybread - Southwestern United States

In the 19th-century, the US Government forced the Navajo people to migrate to New Mexico from Arizona. They gave the migrants simple staples like flour, sugar, salt and lard, which the Navajo used to make the first frybread, which is exactly what it sounds like. 

It's still popular across the Southwest today.

Person Holding a plate with a Native American frybreadJohn Pozniak, Wikimedia Commons

Funnel Cake - United States

A lot of people are surprised when funnel cake looks more like a deep-fried net than a funnel, but it gets the name from the funnel used to pour batter directly into hot cooking oil. When they're done frying, the cakes are removed and topped with powdered sugar and sometimes ice cream.

Funnel Cake from Coney Island amusement park in New York, New YorkDavidSandbrand, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Galette-Saucisse - Brittany, France

A staple street food of the Brittany in Northern France, galette-saucisse is a sausage wrapped in a thin, crepe-like buckwheat pancake. Great for eating on the go!

Close-up Photo of Galette saucisse on a white plateTrizek, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Gimbap - South Korea

Sushi, Korean-style: Gimpab looks like Japanese sushi, but it's made with regular cooked rice, vegetables, and meat. Korean cooks likely started making gimpab during Japanese colonial rule.

Close-up photo of Vegetable Gimbap on a wooden plate, placed on a wooden tablecutekirin, Wikimedia Commons

Ginanggang - Philippines

Saba bananas—a popular, stubby cooking banana common in the Philippines—grilled on a stick with margarine and sugar. Ginanggang is very similar the banana cue, but not as rich.

Close-up Photo of Ginangang on a gray plate placed on a wooden tableLokalpedia, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Gorengan - Indonesia

Gorengan are Indonesia street fritters that come in a myriad of varieties, from dessert banana fritters to savoury ones with tofu, sweet potato, or cassava.

Close-up photo of Gorengan on the streets of Jakarta, IndonesiaSakurai Midori, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Grilled Cheese Sandwich - United States And Canada

The grilled cheese sandwich was one of the only good things to come out of the Great Depression in the US. Nowadays you can get all kinds of fancy versions, but the original is still just a simple slice of American cheese friend between two slices of bread—and that's all you need.

Close-up Photo of Grilled Cheese Sandwich placed on a wooden tableVanessa Druckman, Flickr

Gukhwa-ppang - South Korea

You can always recognize gukhwa-ppang pastries from South Korea because of their distinctive chrysanthemum flower shape—and from the delicious red bean paste inside.

Photo of a person selling Gukhwa-ppangLWY, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Gyeran-ppang - South Korea

Street vendors in Korea have gyeran-ppang machines to make these fluffy, egg-filled pastries fresh for you.

Close-up Photo of Gyeran-ppang placed on a tabletravel oriented, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Gyro - Greece

It wasn't a long journey for the doner kebab to jump from Turkey to Greece. The Greeks made their own vertical rotisserie, and called their flatbread sandwiches stuffed with meat, cucumbers, and tzatziki "Gyros".

Close-up Photo of Gyros placed on a tableAntonio Fajardo i López, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Halo-Halo - Philippines

Halo-Halo from the Philippines is one of the most beautiful street foods you can get in the world—and with shaved ice, evaporated milk, and fruit, it's as delicious as it looks.

Close-up Photo of Halo-halo served in a plastic cupJoey Parsons, Flickr

Hot Dog - United States

Meat tastes better on the street. This is the street meat philosophy. Ideally purchased outside of a baseball game. Mustard required.

Close-up Photo of two Hot Dogs on a BunTheBusyBrain, Flickr

Hotteok - South Korea

You might think a hotteok is a regular pancake at first glance—just wait til you take a bite. The brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, and peanuts inside take it to the next level.

Close-up Photo of Hotteok on a blurred background.Korean Culture and Information Service, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Imqaret - Malta

Order an imqaret from a street vendor in Malta. This sweet pastry filled with dates, flavored with aniseed and bay leaf tastes like the Mediterranean.

Close-up Photo of Homemade imqaret, a traditional Maltese sweet pastrySimon Cutajar, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Isaw - Philippines

There's no other way to put this: Isaw is boiled chicken intestine grilled on a skewer.

Close-up Photo of Isaw on a white plateRodel Bontes, Flickr

Jerk Chicken - Jamaica

Heatseekers should seek out jerk chicken cooked fresh on the street in Jamaica. Scotch bonnet peppers—the best spicy pepper—are the star of the show if you can handle the heat.

Close-up photo of jerk chicken in a white plastic bowlstu_spivack, Flickr

Jambon - Ireland

Jambon in France is just ham. Jambon in Ireland is a square pastry stuff with cheese and ham. Both are good.

lose-up Photo of a jambon deli pastry placed on a tableLegoless, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Jambon-Beurre - France

You might say that jambon-beurre is just a ham sandwich. But when you get a baguette, sliced open and slathered with butter and ham on the streets of France, you won't say that anymore.

A classic Jambon-beurre (French ham sandwich)Boulanger, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Jerusalem Mixed Grill - Jerusalem

The signature street food of Jerusalem, the city's mixed grill consists of chicken livers, gizzards, and hearts, braised then grilled. They say don't knock it til you try it...but I'm not sure I'm trying this one.

Close-up Photo of Jerusalem Mixed Grill on a white platePeterjerusalem, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Kaya Toast - Singapore And Malaysia

Kaya is a coconut jam eaten in Singapore and Malaysia. Popularly eaten in a buttered toast sandwich with eggs and coffee, kaya toast is one heck of a way to start your day.

Close-up Photo of Kaya toast on a platePinklily08, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Kati Roll - Kolkata, India

Popular to this day in Kolkata, kati rolls are skewer-roasted meat, wrapped in paratha bread.

Close-up Photo of Kati roll placed on a tableSatyajit Dhawale, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons


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