14 Incredible Street Foods You’ve Never Heard Of
There’s something about eating from a street cart that makes your food taste even better. Maybe it’s the fact that you’re standing there and watching the chef whip you up a dish right before your eyes or maybe it’s the instant gratification you get from pointing at a pastry and having it in your hands within minutes. Street food is universal and it’s so much more than a quick bite to eat. You learn about a culture, their culinary
Street food is universal and it’s so much more than a quick bite to eat. You learn about a culture, culinary traditions and people, firsthand. There’s no middle man, just face-to-face human interaction with the very person who’s cooking for you and chances are, he or she is an expert at the craft. Street food should always be a part of your travels. Here are incredible street foods you’ve never heard of, but need to try.
1. Bunny Chow
In South Africa, this street food is referred to as a bunny. Bunny chow is a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with curry. There are no actually bunnies involved in the making of this dish. You can dip the bread on top to scoop up the curry and keep working your way down until you reach the curry-soaked piece of bread at the bottom.
In Georgia (the country not the state), khachapuri is a popular street snack. The traditional dish looks like a golden brown, bread-shaped boat that’s filled with bubbling cheese, butter and a freshly cracked egg. You mix the cheese and the egg together while everything is still piping hot and then rip off pieces of the bread to scoop up the gooey mixture.
This Bolivian snack is an empanada-like savory pastry that’s filled with beef, pork or chicken and a sweet, spicy sauce. It can have peas, eggs, olives, raisins, herbs, olive oil or boiled eggs. You’ll find vegetarian salteñas at certain spots.
4. Sugar Cane Juice
Sugar cane juice is considered Egypt’s national drink. It’s pressed from actual sugar cane and you’ll find it in just about every juice shop in Cairo. In Upper Egypt, they add lemon to the sugar cane juice, leave it for two hours and drink it like it’s alcohol.
This traditional Salvadoran dish is a thick corn tortilla stuffed with a savory filling. Pupusas are known as El Salvador’s national dish. The filling can be anything from refried beans to squash to chicharrón (fried pork belly). You’ll find them with meat, shrimp, fish, chicken or a combination of black beans, garlic and onions. You can easily eat pupusas with your hands.
6. Cambodian Morning Soup
Num banh chok, or Cambodian morning soup, is the perfect dish to eat in warm weather. It’s made with rice noodles, a cool fish gravy and crisp raw veggies like cucumbers, banana blossoms, water lily stems and fresh herbs.
Bougatsa is a Greek pastry made with phyllo dough that’s wrapped around sweet semolina custard and sprinkled with powdered sugar and/or cinnamon. The fillings can vary and some variations are stuffed with mizithra cheese (a fresh sheep or goat’s milk cheese that looks like a dry ricotta), or minced meat.
8. Nasi Campur
At local food outlets in Bali, you’ll find variations of nasi campur. This Balinese dish is a plate of rice piled high with all kinds of Indonesian delicacies. You’ll find things like chili fried tempeh, jackfruit curry, seared purple eggplant, curry beef, grilled fish, vegetable curry, fried shrimp, peanuts and eggs. It’s basically a buffet of all the best Balinese dishes on one plate.
Langos is a popular Hungarian street food that’s basically deep fried bread slathered with sour cream and grated cheese and then either fresh garlic, garlic butter or doused with garlic water. You’ll come across langos at any market in Hungary. The garlicky aroma will probably find you.
10. Aloo Tikki
Aloo Tikki is a Pakistani, Bangladeshi and North Indian snack made from boiled potatoes, onions and curry spices. Aloo tikki looks like mashed potato cakes and it’s a common street food. These fried croquette-like snacks are filled with ginger, cilantro, garam masala and cumin.
11. Sambal Sotong
Sambal on its own is a chili-based sauce made from a paste of dried chilies, shallots and garlic. Sambal sotong is a Malaysian dish of fresh squid cooked in a spicy sambal with stewed tomatoes, tamarind paste and dried shrimp paste. It’s often served with rice or on top of a banana leaf.
The Japanese ball-shaped snack, takoyaki, is fried octopus. The crispy outside dumpling is made from an egg-based batter and the inside is gooey with octopus, scallions and red ginger. Takoyaki is eaten hot, right out of the pan. In Japan, it comes with a special sauce, dried fish flakes and green seaweed flakes.
You’ll find this Middle Eastern street food in a number of Arabic countries. Kanafeh is a cheese pastry that’s soaked in a sweet, sugar-based syrup. The preparation and spelling of the name varies by region, but most of the time it’s layered or filled with cheese (it could be anything from goat cheese to region-specific cheeses) or cream. The pastry part is made with shredded phyllo dough, known as kataifi, and the whole dessert is soaked in a sugar syrup that’s flavored with rose water or orange blossom water, and then topped with ground pistachios.
With Tibetan origins, momos are a type of South Asian dumpling similar to Japanese gyoza. Momos can be meat-filled or vegetarian with tofu, paneer cheese, hard cheese or any meat and veggie combination. You can get them steamed (which is the most popular method), fried or cooked in soup. Momos are served with a dipping sauce that has a tomato base, like a tomato garlic chutney.