Eating is an essential and delicious aspect of travelling and among the best ways to get to really know a place and its people. From the biggest cities in the world to the tiniest hamlets and villages, almost every corner of this amazing planet has something unique by way of food. There will always be that special fruit or vegetable, spice or staple that will be the pride and joy of the local populace. Whether you are living in five-star luxury or couch-sharing with friends or family, try to experience a range of food options at your destination. In your travels it is always a great idea to go on culinary adventures where you try to discover the local favorite, the grand and ceremonious or the quick and easy ways by which the local people satisfy their hunger pangs.
Street foods are the simplest way to enjoy authentic local flavors. They will be found in carts, on trolleys, in kiosks or there may be entire streets dedicated to them with numerous stalls sheltered under canvas canopies. Wherever in the world you may roam, you are sure to feel right at home with this list of the best street food options across the globe.
10. Sambusas in Kenya ($0.80 for 2 with a chicken filling)
Sambusas are a favorite tea-time or light snack in Kenya and the regions known as the Horn of Africa, which encompasses Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti. This food is also called samoosas, sambosas or samosas in other parts of the world such as the Middle East, India and Pakistan. In Africa they are especially made during the festive seasons of Christmas, Ramadan and Meskel. A sambusa is a pastry that can be either fried or baked and stuffed with a variety of fillings such as spiced vegetables, potatoes, lentils, onion and peas or even ground chicken, beef or lamb. They are best enjoyed piping hot and served with a spicy sauce or chutney.
9. Pakbet and Pork or Chicken Adobo in the Philippines (Pakbet: $8 for a plate and Chicken Adobo: $2.50 for a serving)
Pakbet, also called Pinakbet is widely available in the Philippines. The word is derived from the Ilokano word pinakebbet which means ‘shrunken’. The dish consists of vegetables such as bitter melon, tomato, okra, beans, eggplant and peppers which are steamed in a fish or shrimp sauce. The mix is seasoned with garlic, onion and ginger and the vegetables are cooked till they shrink in size and shrivel up. Chicken or pork can also be added.
Adobo in the Filipino language means sauce or seasoning and is a delicious and quick dish made by mixing meat or seafood with a marinade of soy sauce and garlic and simmering it in oil. Adobo is so popular and widely available that it is sometimes considered the unofficial national dish of the Philippines.
8. Tacos and Tostadas in Mexico (Usually less than $1)
A visit to Mexico would be incomplete without a bite of an authentic and local taco or tostada. The latter is just a Spanish word which means ‘toasted’. Tacos and tostadas are soft or hard shell corn or wheat tortillas which are rolled or folded around a filling. The sky’s the limit when it comes to the variety of fillings that can be used and typically includes a combination of vegetables, cheese, meats or seafood. The dish is eaten without cutlery and is usually served with accompaniments such as salsa, guacamole, onions or lettuce. Tostasdas are usually made of corn tortillas.
7. Shish Kebab in Morocco (Less than $5 for a plate)
Kebabs are small pieces of meat or fish that has been cooked on coals. Traditionally lamb is used but beef, chicken, fish and even pork can be used. Shish Kebabs are pieces of meat or sometimes ground meat cooked on a skewer, taken off and served with rice or in pita bread rolls or sandwiches. In large parts of the Middle East and the Mediterranean regions, kebabs are part of the daily food of the people and can be found emitting their smoky scents in numerous roadside stalls on almost every street.
6. Dumplings in Taiwan ($3 for a plate of 5)
Dumplings are balls of dough that have been stuffed with vegetables, meat or seafood. They are then cooked in a variety of ways that include frying, boiling and steaming. The dough can be just flour or can have tiny chopped vegetables and spices mixed into it. Dumplings can also have sweet fillings such as fruit, peanut butter or custard. The savory kind makes for an excellent snack eaten plain or can be added to a soup or stew. They are best eaten straight out of the steamer and using just your fingers.
5. Pies in England ($8 – $13)
Among the many things to be savored in grand old England such as Fish and Chips and a traditional ‘English Breakfast’, the humble pie can certainly hold its own as a snack or as a substantial component of a meal. Pies can be sweet or savory and filled with an endless variety of stuffing such as meat, vegetables, chocolate and fruit. Pies can have just a crust at the bottom and sides with the top left open or the filling can be completely enclosed in the pastry. After a morning of taking in the sights, sinking your teeth into a satisfying pie can make for a perfect day.
4. Pølse in Denmark ($4 for a pack of 8)
If anything could rival the magnificent scenic beauty of Denmark, it is the succulent and ever present red sausage. Their popularity is established by the fact that a country with a population of just over 5 million produces over 100 million red sausages annually and the dish is regarded by many to be the national dish. The skin of the røde pølser is dyed a bright red and the dish is served with mustard, ketchup, fried onions and pickled cucumbers. The sausages are made of finely ground pork that is lightly spiced with pepper, nutmeg or ground mustard seeds. The hotdog stands that dispense these delicacies are numerous enough to block traffic in parts of the country but absolutely nobody seems to mind at all.
3. Baguette sandwiches in France ($2 for just the bread)
A Baguette is a quintessential French bread that is found abundantly in roadside stalls, bakeries and upscale restaurants. It is a long loaf of bread with a crisp crust and the dough and the price is regulated by French law. The typical baguette is about 6 centimeters wide and about 65 centimeters long. They are popularly used cut in half for submarine sandwiches. The French like theirs just spread with pâté or a creamy cheese. Continental breakfasts in France also feature baguettes spread with butter and jam and dipped into piping cups of coffee or hot chocolate.
2. Souvlaki and Pita Bread in Greece ($6 a serving)
The word ‘Souvlaki’ is derived from the Greek word for skewer and the dish that takes the name is a popular fast food that consists of meat and vegetables grilled on a skewer. It can be eaten straight off the skewer, in a pita bread sandwich or as part of a main meal with a garnish and fried potatoes. In Greece the meat used most often is pork, but souvlaki is also delicious with beef, chicken and even swordfish. Pork souvlaki tastes best in combination with onions and tzatziki sauce enclosed into a lightly grilled pita bread. When the meat is chicken, onion can be replaced with lettuce and a milder sauce. A heartier meal can be created with a double meat and double pita order that will adequately satiate the sharpest hunger pangs.
1. Nasi Goreng in Indonesia ($2 a serving)
Nasi Goreng which literally means ‘fried rice’ in Indonesian is a must-try experience on a visit to that country. It is one of the many contenders for the title of the National Dish. Roadside stalls will serve a basic form of the dish on paper or thin metal plates, but the restaurant version will have a range of sauces and salads accompanying it. Nasi Goreng is simply pre-cooked rice that is fried in cooking oil with onions, garlic, tamarind, soy sauce and chilli. Egg, chicken, prawn and shrimp morsels can also be tossed in for added flavor and substance. In an online poll of 35,000 people conducted in 2011 by CNN International, Nasi Goreng emerged at the number two spot in a list of the ‘World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods’.