The 20 Best Street Foods From Around the World

Best Street Foods Around the World

Street food is an integral part of many cultures worldwide, offering a delicious and authentic taste of local cuisine. From savory snacks to sweet treats, these curbside delicacies are often the best way to experience a destination’s flavors and traditions.

In this article, we’ll take a culinary journey around the globe to discover the 20 best street foods around the world.

20 Best Street Foods Around the World You Need to Try

In a world where flavors know no borders, street food stands as a testament to cultural identity and culinary ingenuity. As you wander through the streets of distant lands, the aromas, sights, and sounds of local vendors offer an authentic taste of everyday life.

The best street foods around the world are not just meals; they are stories told through the language of food, inviting us into a shared human experience. This comprehensive guide takes you on a gastronomic tour of the globe, spotlighting 20 must-try street food dishes.

Each bite is a journey into the heart of a culture, offering insights into the traditions and ingredients that define a community’s culinary landscape. Join us as we uncover the flavors that captivate locals and travelers alike, celebrating the diversity and creativity of street food around the world.

1. Tacos al Pastor (Mexico)

Best Street Foods Around the World

Tacos al pastor, originating in Mexico City, are characterized by slow-cooked marinated pork on a vertical spit, akin to shawarma. They then slice off the meat and serve it on small corn tortillas, garnishing it with onions, cilantro, and pineapple.

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The combination of savory, spicy, and sweet flavors makes this street food a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

2. Pad Thai (Thailand)

A staple of Thai street cuisine, pad thai is a stir-fried rice noodle dish that combines sweet, salty, and sour flavors. The dish typically includes eggs, tofu, bean sprouts, and peanuts, with a choice of protein such as shrimp, chicken, or beef. Cooking pad thai in a wok over high heat ensures a quick and flavorful meal.

3. Banh Mi (Vietnam)

Banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich that reflects the country’s French colonial influence. A baguette is filled with various ingredients, such as grilled pork, pate, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs, and chili sauce. The result is a delicious and satisfying sandwich that balances multiple textures and flavors.

4. Jerk Chicken (Jamaica)

Jerk chicken is a Jamaican specialty that involves marinating chicken in a spicy mixture of scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, thyme, and other aromatic spices. We then grill the chicken over pimento wood, which imparts a smoky flavor. Often served with rice and peas or coleslaw, jerk chicken is a fiery and flavorful street food that embodies the island’s vibrant cuisine.

5. Gyro (Greece)

Best Street Foods Around the World

A popular Greek street food, gyros are made with meat (usually pork or chicken) that is cooked on a vertical rotisserie and then sliced off and served in a pita bread with tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce. Often, a blend of herbs and spices marinates the meat, imparting a distinctive Mediterranean flavor.

6. Vada Pav (India)

Vada pav is a vegetarian street food that originated in Mumbai. It consists of a hot potato patty (vada) served on a soft bread roll (pav), frequently with a variety of chutneys and green chili peppers. This carb-heavy snack is a favorite among students, workers, and anyone looking for a quick and satisfying bite on the go.

7. Churros (Spain)

Churros are a sweet treat that can be found on the streets throughout Spain and many other countries. A star-shaped nozzle pipes these fried dough pastries, dusted with sugar, or served with a thick chocolate dipping sauce. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, churros are a perfect indulgence any time of day.

8. Döner Kebab (Turkey)

Döner kebab is a Turkish street food that has gained popularity worldwide. A vertical spit seasons and stacks meat, usually lamb or chicken, before slowly roasting and shaving it off to order. They serve the meat in a pita or wrap along with vegetables and sauces, resulting in a hearty and flavorful meal.

9. Pupusas (El Salvador)

Pupusas, a traditional Salvadoran street food, feature thick corn tortillas filled with various fillings like cheese, pork, or refried beans. Curtido, a spicy fermented cabbage slaw, and salsa roja accompany the crispy, grilled filled tortillas. Pupusas are a comforting and filling snack that reflects the country’s rich culinary heritage.

10. Takoyaki (Japan)

Best Street Foods Around the World

Takoyaki, or octopus balls, are a popular Japanese street food that originated in Osaka. Small pieces of octopus are mixed into a batter and then cooked in a specially molded pan, resulting in bite-sized balls with a crispy exterior and a gooey interior. Typically, people top takoyaki with a savory sauce, mayonnaise, bonito flakes, and green onions, resulting in a flavorful and texturally interesting snack.

11. Bunny Chow (South Africa)

Bunny chow is a South African street food that originated in Durban’s Indian community. Usually made with lamb, chicken, or beans, a spicy curry fills a hollowed-out loaf of white bread. The bread serves as both a container and a utensil, making it a convenient and satisfying meal on the go.

12. Arepas (Colombia and Venezuela)

Colombia and Venezuela make arepas, a staple street food, by shaping ground maize dough into a patty and then grilling, baking, or frying it. You can split open the resulting flatbread and stuff it with various fillings like cheese, avocado, or meat. You can enjoy arepas as a versatile and filling snack at any time of day.

13. Falafel (Middle East)

Ground chickpeas or fava beans, mixed with herbs and spices, form into balls or patties, and then deep-fry them to create the popular Middle Eastern street food falafel. People often serve the crispy falafel balls in a pita with tahini sauce, vegetables, and pickles, resulting in a satisfying vegetarian meal.

14. Balut (Philippines)

In the Philippines, balut is a controversial street food that may not be suitable for everyone. The dish involves boiling a fertilized duck egg and eating it straight out of its shell. The embryo inside, partially developed, possesses recognizable features like feathers and a beak. While it may have an acquired taste, balut is a rich source of protein and a cultural delicacy.

15. Gimbap (South Korea)

Best Street Foods Around the World

Gimbap is a Korean street food that resembles Japanese sushi rolls but has distinct fillings and flavors. Cooked rice is seasoned with sesame oil and salt, then rolled in dried seaweed with various ingredients such as pickled vegetables, eggs, meat, or fish. Sliced into bite-sized pieces, gimbap serves as a convenient and portable snack.

16. Crepes (France)

Throughout the country, stalls and markets serve the beloved French street food, crepes. These thin, delicate pancakes can be filled with a variety of sweet or savory ingredients, such as Nutella, fruit, cheese, or ham. Large, flat griddles often cook crepes to order, ensuring a fresh and customizable treat.

17. Poutine (Canada)

Poutine is a Canadian street food that originated in Quebec and has since spread throughout the country and beyond. It consists of crispy French fries topped with fresh cheese curds and rich gravy, creating a comforting and indulgent dish. Many variations of poutine exist, with toppings ranging from pulled pork to lobster.

18. Currywurst (Germany)

Currywurst, a popular German street food, consists of grilled or fried sausage, sliced, and topped with spicy curry ketchup. The dish is often served with French fries or a bread roll, making it a filling and satisfying meal. Street stalls and restaurants across the country serve Currywurst, an iconic part of German cuisine.

19. Bubble Tea (Taiwan)

Bubble tea, also known as boba or pearl milk tea, is a Taiwanese beverage that has gained worldwide popularity. It consists of tea (usually black or green) mixed with milk and flavored syrups, with the addition of chewy tapioca pearls that are sucked up through a wide straw. You can customize bubble tea with various flavors and toppings, creating a fun and interactive street food experience.

20. Elote (Mexico)

Best Street Foods Around the World

Elote is a Mexican street food that celebrates the country’s love of corn. Grilled ears of corn receive a coating of mayonnaise, then cotija cheese, lime juice, and chili powder. You can enjoy this smoky, spicy, and tangy snack on the go. Elote is a simple yet flavorful dish that highlights the importance of corn in Mexican cuisine.

These 20 best street foods from around the world showcase the incredible diversity and creativity of global cuisine. From savory snacks to sweet treats, these curbside delicacies offer a delicious and authentic taste of local culture.

Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Mexico City or the night markets of Taipei, be sure to seek out these iconic street foods for a true culinary adventure.

Street food not only provides a convenient and affordable way to sample a destination’s flavors but also serves as a reflection of its history, traditions, and way of life.

Over generations, many of these dishes have evolved, incorporating local ingredients and techniques deeply rooted in the community. By indulging in street food, travelers can gain a deeper appreciation for the people and places they visit, fostering a sense of connection and cultural exchange.

Moreover, street food often represents the entrepreneurial spirit and resilience of local communities. Many vendors operate small, family-run businesses that have been passed down through generations, providing a vital source of income and pride.

By supporting these vendors, tourists can help sustain local economies and preserve culinary traditions that may be at risk of disappearing in an increasingly globalized world.

However, it is important to approach street food with a sense of caution and responsibility. Hygiene standards can vary widely, and some dishes may contain unfamiliar ingredients or preparation methods that can cause digestive issues or allergic reactions.

It is always a good idea to seek out vendors with good reputations, look for busy stalls with high turnover, and exercise common sense when trying new foods.


The 20 best street foods from around the world offer a tantalizing glimpse into the vast and vibrant world of global cuisine. From the spicy tacos of Mexico to the savory kebabs of Turkey, these curbside delicacies provide a delicious and authentic way to experience local culture and connect with people from all walks of life.

So the next time you find yourself in a new destination, be sure to seek out these iconic street foods and embark on a culinary adventure that will leave you satisfied, inspired, and eager for more.

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