23 Th11 The best street food around the world
Jerk chicken, Jamaica
When it comes to jerk chicken, there’s no beating the real deal fresh from a smoky jerk hut. Recipes are closely guarded secrets, but usually start with chicken on the bone slathered in a marinade of allspice, thyme, scotch bonnet chillies, ginger and spring onions. The meat is left overnight to absorb the flavours before being grilled over pimento wood.
Chilli crab, Singapore
The quintessential Singaporean dish, chilli crab is served in numerous hawker centres throughout this small city-state. Its invention is credited to Cher Yam Tian, who began serving the spicy crustaceans from a street cart in the 1950s. The crabs are served whole, stir fried in a sweet and sour sauce of tomato, egg and (of course) chilli.
These round corn cakes are a ubiquitous comida rápida in Colombia, where there are myriad regional specialities across the country. Arepas are much thicker than tortillas and will usually be grilled or baked before being stuffed or topped with cheese. Try them in Bogotá, where they’re particularly popular for breakfast.
A cup of multicoloured halo-halo is the perfect way to cool down on a hot and sticky Philippine summer day. Directly translated as “mix-mix”, it’s an attractive sundae like concoction of red beans, coconut, syrup and fruit, usually topped with ice cream, evaporated milk and shaved ice.
Bunny chow, South Africa
Don’t worry bunny lovers, this South African snack is rabbit free. It consists of quarter, half or whole portions of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with a variety of thick curries. As you might guess, bunny chow has its origins in India, but it is now Durban’s most famous street food, with spicy fillings ranging from chicken to mutton.
You’ll find versions of pierogi all over Eastern Europe, but Krakow is the only city we know of that has an entire festival dedicated to this handmade dumpling. Pierogi are made from a simple dough of flour, egg, water and salt, which is shaped into parcels and filled with meat, potatoes or cheese. They’re boiled first and then fried in butter.
Pulled pork, USA
BBQ is serious business in the south, where yearly cook-offs see avid cooks vying to get the best from their grills. The lone star state might be the undisputed home of slow-cooked beef, but North Carolina is the place to go for smoky-sweet pulled pork, at its best doused in a rich BBQ sauce and piled into a sandwich.
Banh mi, Vietnam
No list of great street food would be complete without banh mi, a legacy of French colonial rule in Vietnam. The key ingredient is a thinner and crisper Vietnamese-style baguette (made with rice and wheat flour), which is usually filled with a fresh and colourful mix of coriander, pickled carrot, daikon and meats ranging from pork belly to chicken.
Bubble Tea, Taiwan
Bubble, pearl or boba tea originated in Taichung in the 1980s. These days flavours range from a classic milky tea, often sweetened with condensed milk, to fruity creations like mango or passion fruit. The bubbles themselves are chewy little balls of tapioca sucked up through a large straw; they’re strange at first but quickly addictive.
This is greasy, filling street food at its best: chunky fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy. You’ll find poutine all across Canada, but it’s best in its home, French-speaking Québec – sample it at diners and roadside eateries across the region.
Simit bread, Turkey
It’s not all about kebabs in Turkey. Delicious simit are sold from street carts across the country and are often eaten for breakfast on the go. Baked in a large ring shape and covered in sesame seeds, they’re lighter than bagels and the perfect accompaniment to a cup of Turkish tea.
Xiao long bao, China
Bamboo baskets holding this traditional northern Chinese dumpling soup steam away on streets and in restaurants across Shanghai. It takes a certain amount of skill to eat them without being scalded: hold the dumpling tenderly and slurp out a little of the boiling hot broth before tackling the minced pork centre.