Show Mobile Navigation
Food |

10 Street Foods Worth Traveling For

by Adrian Sharp
fact checked by Rachel Jones

Street food is a cultural experience wrapped in a delicious parcel. From the streets of Bangkok to the alleys of Tokyo, every corner of the world boasts its own culinary gems. Some street foods stand out among the various options for their unique flavors, textures, and cultural significance. Here are ten street foods worth traveling for.

Related: Ten Survivalist Foods and How to Find Them

10 Khao Niao Mamuang (Mango Sticky Rice – Thailand)

Authentic Thai Recipe for Khao Neow Ma Muang | ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง | Thai Mango with Sticky Rice

The glorious khao niao mamuang is a Thai street food delight worth every mile traveled. It’s made with plump, juicy mango slices nestled on a bed of sticky rice drenched in sweet coconut cream. Are you drooling yet? Because I sure am!

This heavenly concoction is a flavor explosion that’ll have your taste buds doing a happy dance. Thailand knows how to do street food right, and khao niao mamuang is the crown jewel of it all.

Let’s talk location. You’ll find this treat at bustling markets and street corners across Thailand. But for the real deal, head to the vibrant streets of Bangkok or the bustling night markets of Chiang Mai. Trust me, the sights, sounds, and smells of these places will only enhance the experience.

One bite, and you’ll be hooked. It’s no wonder people travel far and wide just to get a taste of this Thai treasure. So, pack your bags and prepare for a flavor adventure like no other. Khao niao mamuang awaits, and trust me, it’s worth every delicious mile.

9 Currywurst (Germany)

How To Make Original Berlin Currywurst At Home

Currywurst is a German street food sensation as iconic as the Brandenburg Gate. Imagine strolling through the bustling streets of Berlin, and the air is alive with the aroma of sizzling sausages and the spicy tang of curry powder. That’s when you know you’ve stumbled upon a currywurst stand, your ticket to a taste bud adventure.

Currywurst is the culinary love child of German efficiency and global flavors. It’s juicy, grilled pork sausage sliced into bite-sized pieces generously smothered in a savory curry ketchup sauce and sprinkled with a dash of curry powder for that extra kick. It’s like a party in your mouth, and everyone’s invited!

Now, where did this marvelous concoction come from? Legend has it that in post-war Berlin, resourceful street vendors started dishing out this delight as a cheap and cheerful meal for the masses. Fast forward to today, and currywurst has become a bona fide cultural institution, with dedicated stalls and even museums paying homage to its greatness.

8 Hoeori Gamja (Tornado Potatoes – South Korea)

Tornado potatoes (Korean: 회오리 감자; hoeori gamja)

Hoeori gamja, also known as tornado potatoes, are the twisty, crispy delights that prove spuds were meant for more than just mash. Picture a potato sliced, skewered, and twirled into a tornado-like shape, then deep-fried to golden perfection. It’s a snack that’s as mesmerizing to watch being made as it is delicious to devour.

Originating from the busy streets of South Korea, hoeori gamja has become a staple of Korean street food culture. You can’t stroll through Seoul without encountering these savory spirals tempting you from every corner. They’re like the rockstars of the street food scene, drawing crowds with their irresistible aroma and eye-catching presentation.

What sets hoeori gamja apart is its versatility. These twisted taters can be seasoned with everything from spicy chili powder to savory cheese powder, offering a flavor explosion with every bite. Watching a street vendor expertly slice and spiral a potato with lightning speed is like witnessing culinary artistry in motion. It’s street food theater at its finest.

7 Bungeo-ppang (South Korea)

Korean fish-shaped bread with red bean filling (Bungeoppang: 붕어빵)

Yummm, bungeo-ppang, the delightful fish-shaped pastry that’s more than just a street snack—it’s a cultural experience. Imagine walking down the streets of Seoul, South Korea, when the sweet aroma of freshly baked bungeo-ppang tickles your nose. You follow your senses like a culinary Sherlock Holmes, and voilà, you stumble upon a tiny food cart, its savory treasures waiting to be devoured.

Now, what exactly is bungeo-ppang, you ask? Well, it’s a tasty fish-shaped pastry stuffed with various fillings, from red bean paste to sweet custard to gooey cheese. It’s like a culinary lucky dip—you never know what delicious surprise awaits you with each bite.

Legend has it that bungeo-ppang was inspired by Japan’s taiyaki but with a Korean twist, proving once again that great food knows no borders—it just knows hungry bellies. The crispy exterior and warm, gooey goodness inside make it the ultimate comfort food, perfect for warming your soul on a chilly Korean evening.

6 Pani câ Mèusa (Palermo, Italy)

Pani câ mèusa (panino à la rate) Palerme, Sicile

Let me tell you about a street food that’s not just a treat for your taste buds but a whole cultural experience rolled into one savory package: pani câ mèusa! Picture the streets of Palermo, Italy. Suddenly, the aroma of sizzling meat and fresh bread fills the air. That’s when you know you’ve stumbled upon a true Sicilian gem.

Pani câ mèusa, affectionately known as “bread with spleen,” is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a culinary masterpiece that involves a crispy, sesame seed-studded roll generously stuffed with slices of slow-cooked veal spleen and lungs, seasoned to perfection with a dash of salt and a squeeze of lemon. Sounds adventurous, right?

Now, before you scrunch up your nose, hear me out. The dish may sound unconventional, but trust me, it’s a flavor explosion. The texture is rich, the taste is bold, and the experience is unforgettable. So, if you’re a culinary daredevil craving unique flavors, pani câ mèusa is calling your name.

5 Poutine (Canada)

Classic Canadian Poutine

Poutine is Canada’s gift to the world and the ultimate comfort food. It consists of a generous heap of crispy golden fries, lovingly smothered in rich gravy and crowned with a melty avalanche of cheese curds. Can you taste it already? Trust me, this indulgent dish is a full-blown culinary adventure.

Quebec, in particular, boasts some of the most authentic and mouthwatering versions of this iconic dish. It’s practically a rite of passage for any self-respecting foodie to make a pilgrimage to Montreal or Quebec City in search of the perfect poutine.

What makes poutine so irresistible? It’s all in the magical alchemy of its humble ingredients. The crispy fries provide the perfect canvas for the velvety gravy, which marries with the squeaky, gooey cheese curds. It’s a symphony of flavors and textures that dance on your taste buds with every glorious bite.

But beware, dear traveler, not all poutine is created equal. Seek out the hole-in-the-wall joints and local diners, where the chefs treat poutine-making as a sacred art form. You’ll find the real deal in these places—the kind of poutine that inspires trips and cravings from across the globe.

4 Asinan (Indonesia)

Making Asinan Mangga, A Refreshing Indonesian Dish for Hot Days

Asinan, my dear foodie friend, is the flavor-packed gem you’d gladly travel miles for. Picture Jakarta, Indonesia, where the air is filled with the tantalizing aroma of tangy, sweet, and savory goodness. Enter asinan, the ultimate street food champion of Jakarta.

Asinan is irresistible because of its vibrant medley of pickled vegetables, fruits, and peanuts, drenched in a sweet and sour sauce. Think crunchy cucumber slices, crisp bean sprouts, and juicy pineapple chunks bathed in a zesty dressing that packs a punch.

And oh, let’s not forget the location. Jakarta, with its vibrant street food scene and bustling markets, serves as the perfect backdrop for this culinary masterpiece. So, if you ever crave a taste of Jakarta’s street food magic, make a beeline for asinan. Trust me, it’s worth every mile traveled and every flavor savored.

3 Bunny Chow (South Africa)

Why is No One Talking About This Secret Curry

No, this dish has no relation to puppy chow.

For this street food, we’re heading on a taste adventure in the streets of Durban, South Africa, where bunny chow reigns supreme as the ultimate street food. Forget about fine dining; this quirky dish proves culinary magic can happen in the most unexpected places.

Picture a hollowed-out loaf of bread generously filled with a mouthwatering curry concoction. Bunny chow’s origins can be traced back to the Indian community in Durban, and locals swear by its irresistible blend of spices and textures.

As you wander through the bustling markets and food stalls, the aroma of bunny chow tantalizes your taste buds, beckoning you to join the culinary carnival. Whether you opt for the classic chicken, beef, or veggie variation, each bite is a symphony of flavors that dance on your palate.

Durban’s bunny chow is a cultural experience. It embodies the spirit of fusion, where Indian culinary influences meet South African street food creativity. Grab a hearty serving, find a spot in the lively streets, and let the bunny chow adventure begin.

2 Takoyaki (Japan)

TAKOYAKI (Japan’s Best Street Food)

If you’re a street food aficionado with a desire for the quirky, then takoyaki is your ticket to taste bud nirvana. Originating from Osaka, Japan, this savory snack is a true testament to the country’s culinary creativity.

Imagine perfectly round, piping-hot octopus-filled spheres cooked to golden perfection in a specially molded pan. The batter, a harmonious blend of flour, dashi (a Japanese soup stock), and eggs, wraps around tender chunks of octopus, creating a flavor explosion with each bite.

But it’s not just about the taste; it’s the entire takoyaki experience. Street vendors expertly twirl their spatulas, transforming the batter into these delectable orbs. At the same time, the irresistible aroma wafts through the air, drawing you in like a moth to a flame. And don’t forget the toppings—drizzles of savory takoyaki sauce, a sprinkle of bonito flakes dancing in the breeze, and a dash of nori (seaweed) for that extra umami kick.

1 Banana Cue (Philippines)

BANANA CUE RECIPE | How to Make Banana Q Recipe | Easy Banana Dessert | LPR KITCHEN

Banana cue, oh, how you tempt the taste buds and lure the hungry traveler into your sweet, caramelized embrace. Imagine the streets of the Philippines, with vendors skillfully frying up bananas coated in caramelized brown sugar. Yes, my friend, we’re talking about banana cue—a street food worth every mile traveled and every calorie consumed.

To make this treat, you’ll need a perfectly ripe banana, skewered on a stick and coated with a generous layer of golden-brown caramelized sugar. The result? A crunchy, sweet exterior that gives way to a soft, creamy interior—an explosion of flavors in every bite.

But where’s the best place to experience this culinary delight? Look no further than the city of Manila, where banana cue reigns supreme among the array of Filipino street foods. So, if you find yourself wandering the streets of Manila or any corner of the Philippines, don’t hesitate to indulge in the sweet seduction of banana cue.

fact checked by Rachel Jones