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Top 10 Best Cities for Street Food

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Diandra D'Alessio
Bon voyage, and bon appétit! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Cities for Street Food. For this list, we’re looking at cities around the world that are known for their delicious street snacks.

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Bon voyage, and bon appétit! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Cities for Street Food.

For this list, we’re looking at cities around the world that are known for their delicious street snacks.

#10: Portland, USA

This Pacific Northwest city is a food lover’s paradise. With over 600 licensed food carts to choose from, you’ll never go hungry. Most of Portland’s food carts are organized in big groups called “pods,” and are incredibly diverse. You can try fish and chips, Korean barbecue, Nutella-banana crêpes, and everything in between. Not sure where to eat first? Portlander faves include Nong’s Khao Man Gai for Thai food, and the Cartopia pod for late-night eats. Portland’s food carts aren’t only on the street – you can even chow down at the airport! Whether you’ve just landed or are exploring the city, this street food mecca will satisfy any craving.

#9: Rome, Italy

For history buffs as well as foodies, this Mediterranean capital is a dream come true. Roman street food has been around since ancient times, and remains an integral part of city life. Besides the go-to pizza and gelato, Rome also offers many local treats. Among the most popular are porchetta paninis, and fried rice balls called supplì. If you’re craving something more modern, try the trapizzino. A cross between the tramezzino sandwich and pizza, it’s a cone of pizza dough stuffed with meat, seafood, or even chocolate for dessert! As the old saying goes, all roads lead to Rome. With these tasty options, yours could too. Buon appetito!

#8: Marrakesh, Morocco

France and Spain once colonized this North African country, so it’s no surprise that its street food has European, Arab, and indigenous Berber influences. One of the most popular places to eat in Marrakesh is the Jemaa el-Fnaa Square, with a myriad of traditional Moroccan foods. Crusty bread called khobz is a common snack, as are sardines and tagines. Snail soup, a fava bean soup calledbessara and a traditional Moroccan soup called harira also make for delicious, nutritious meals. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even eat an entire sheep’s head! For dessert, fried sesame cookies called shebakia are local favorites. Finally, mint tea and freshly squeezed orange juice make delightful drinks. Affordable and eclectic, Marrakesh street food is a must-have.

#7: Hong Kong, China

This city’s street food is so renowned that it has its own section in the 2016 Michelin Guide for Hong Kong and Macau. Many snacks are served on skewers, including curry fish balls, squid/octopus tentacles, siu mai dumplings, and even deep-fried pig intestine. Rice noodle rolls, roasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes are also popular. That’s not to mention stinky tofu, which gets its strong odor from fermentation. If you’re more of a dessert lover, you’re in luck too. Red bean pudding, pineapple buns, egg tarts and egg waffles are the ideal treat for any sweet tooth. No matter your taste buds, Hong Kong street food has something that will tantalize your senses.

#6: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Street food is a big part of this city’s culture and its economy. According to some sources, the industry employs 11% of the city’s workforce. Ho Chi Minh City street eats include Vietnamese staples like pho and bánh mi, but also lesser-known dishes. Many of these feature rice as a key ingredient. A common street snack for breakfast is bánh cuon, which is a rolled rice sheet stuffed with pork, shallots and mushrooms. If you’re a fan of seafood, you’ll love bánh xeo, a crepe with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts. There’s also the homegrown banh trang tron, a salad-like cration made with strips of rice paper. To locals, backpackers, even Principal Skinner, these Vietnamese treats are simply irresistible.

#5: Mexico City, Mexico

If you’re heading to this vacation hotspot, bring your sunscreen and your appetite. Street food is so popular in Mexico that it has its own name: antojitos, or “little cravings.” Whether you’re craving tamales for breakfast or churros as a midnight snack, you can grab a bite even after the sun goes down. Naturally, tacos and quesadillas are aplenty in Mexico City, stuffed with all kinds of meat, seafood, and veggies. There’s also the hearty torta sandwich, tostadas, and tlacoyos, which are made with blue corn dough. These dishes can be quite spicy, but tropical fruit juices, mescal, and snow cones are perfect refreshments. Buen viaje y buen provecho!

#4: Istanbul, Turkey

When you think of Turkish street food, you might be thinking of döner kebabs. In the city where east meets west, you’ll find these and much more. One of the most common street foods in Istanbul issimit, which is similar to a bagel but Turkish-style. Balık-ekmek, is a wholesome sandwich with grilled fish, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce. If you’re more into wraps, try the lahmacun, dürüm, or thetantuni. For something completely different, you could also try kokoreç, a Turkish delicacy made from lamb intestines. If you prefer dessert, you’ll love dondurma, or Turkish ice cream. Wash it all down with pomegranate juice, and you’re in for a culinary experience like no other.

#3: Tokyo, Japan

This Asian capital has its share of street eats. Unlike other cities on this list, however, it’s considered poor etiquette in Tokyo to eat while walking. Still, street food is a hit with locals and tourists alike. A go-to treat is takoyaki, which consists of fried balls filled with octopus, green onions, and ginger. If you like ramen, you’ll definitely dig yakisoba, which are thick noodles stir-fried with pork, vegetables, and a tangy sauce. Other favorites include gyoza dumplings and sweet or savory dango skewers. At night, take a trip down Memory Lane to indulge in yakitori brochettes and alcohol on the cheap. Tokyo streets are busy and vibrant, and they have the food to match!

#2: Singapore

This city-state is small, but its street food scene is far from it. Food stalls in Singapore have been around since the 1800s. Today, they’re mostly organized in clusters called hawker centres, serving a slew of tasty treats. For breakfast, try the roti prata, a flatbread served with curry or sugar, or kaya toast, named for its thick coconut jam. Unsurprisingly, Singapore also has oodles of noodles. Laksa soup is rice vermicelli in a spicy broth, and wanton mee is stuffed with prawns and pork. No taste test is complete, however, without Hainanese chicken rice. Often called Singapore’s national dish, it’s chicken, rice and soup all in one. Singapore is a tiny country, but its street food demands a big appetite.

Before we get to our #1 street food city, here are some honorable mentions:

New York City, USA

Cartagena, Colombia

#1: Bangkok, Thailand

According to MasterCard, this Southeast Asian capital was the world’s top travel destination in 2016, and its street food is also very popular. Start your culinary journey in Yaowarat, Bangkok’s Chinatown and the birthplace of Thai street food. There, you can find stalls serving must-try foods like satay, Thai-style sukiyaki, and lod chong, tiny pieces of tapioca or rice flour served with coconut milk. There are also plenty of noodles, whether they’re in pad thai or a curry dish, and seafood, especially shrimp, mussels, and other shellfish. Sweet teeth are welcome too, thanks to papaya salads, sticky mango rice, and pandan cakes. Delicious and diverse, Bangkok street food is second to none.


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