World’s Best Street Food – Cheap Eats Around the Globe

in Tips

Most frugal travelers find themselves chowing down in fast food chain restaurants in a bid to save cash. These international food giants don’t just create food that’s bad for your waistline; it’s also generally unsatisfying. So why see the world while eating the same old junk you do at home? Instead try the street food sold in your travel spot’s marketplaces and roadside karts. You won’t believe how good it tastes, or how little it costs! In this article we round up some of the best street food around the world.

Asia is credited for starting the street food craze, and this continent’s nations still produce some of the best. Bangkok is considered by many as the ultimate vacation spot for street food gourmands. Its marketplaces have vendors serving up local delicacies like fish curries, pork sugarcane skewers, and more. Make sure to leave room for the battered banana fritters for dessert!

Ho Chi Minh City’s street food is influenced by traditional Vietnamese culture and the French colonial forces of the early 1900s. It’s not unusual to find savory pho soup, spring rolls, and the stuffed pancakes called banh xeo sitting alongside little pate sandwiches! Wade through the fake designer handbags at the Ben Thanh Market to find some delicious Vietnamese street food treats.

In Hong Kong the nightly Temple Street markets are a great place to find dinner. You can feast on hot pots, curried fish balls, and fresh fried seafoods for a pittance. The pungent tofu and offal dishes aren’t for the faint hearted, but they’re great options for adventurous palettes.

Turkey is Europe’s street food center, and you’ll find more than doner kebabs there. While these are delicious, you’ll enjoy many more exotic treats like the flaky borek pastries, the pretzel-like simit, and the baked potatoes called kumpir. Ask the vendors to fill these starchy vegetables with ketchup, pickles, sausage, and olives and you’ve got a complete meal!

Turkey’s influence on street food can be felt as far afield as Germany. Use a Turkish style doner kebab or the fried ketchup and curry-covered sausages called currywurst to wash down a pint of that famous weizenbier.

Even America is catching on to the street food trend. Los Angeles is credited with bringing this style of food to the United States. The city’s food trucks offer an exciting range of dishes including dim sum, grilled cheese melts, and Southern fried chicken and biscuits.

The blend of cultures in Austin, Texas has give birth to some unique fusion food like fried-chicken waffle tacos and Korean inspired kimchi fries.

Chicago’s strict laws prohibiting cooking on carts haven’t stopped the city’s street food vendors. A concord of trucks assembles at Lincoln Park on Tuesdays and Ethyl’s Beer and Wine Dive on Thursdays. Locals come from everywhere to sample the meatballs, naan bread sandwiches, and Southern mac and cheese cleverly prepared from previously cooked ingredients.

Those horror stories of travelers contracting gastro and other nasties from street food can be daunting, but don’t let them scare you. While this is fast food, it’s smart to look for the longest lines. Certain vendors are popular for a reason, and it’s generally worth waiting a little while to find out what that is.

Street Food in Vietnam

Street Food in Vietnam

It’s also smart to stash a plate and eating utensils in your bags. Illness can be spread when these implements aren’t properly washed, so taking your own is a good way to cut the risks. In cities where the locals do it, such as Istanbul, this precaution is a must. Disease can also come when fruits and vegetables are washed in unsanitary water. If you wouldn’t drink a city’s water avoid anything with an edible skin, and stick to foods you can peel like bananas and oranges.

Keep your wits about you but remember to have fun. That’s what eating street food is all about!

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