Incredible India is definitely the place to start! Any visitors to this land of the weird and wonderful will quickly discover dhabas, or local roadside restaurants and street-food stalls as they are known, are the best places to try authentic Indian cuisine. Curries of the day, served with small hot roti (chipati) are the staple meal for many around lunchtime. If you’re after a snack, try a kachori – a flattened ball of fine flour, stuffed with a seasoned dahl (chickpea curry) and baked or fried until crispy; kachori served with a spicy sauce drizzle on top makes for a delicious eat. Aloo tiki is another popular dish, where a ball of creamed, seasoned potatoes is cooked on a hot plate with chickpeas, onions coriander and spices. The fragrance of this alone is enough to entice you! Don’t leave India without tasting a jalebi (deep-fried flour twists soaked in sweet syrup) with a small glass of masala chai, or a fresh yoghurt lassi on a hot day.
Any foodie you meet will tell you about their love of Vietnamese street food or their desire to visit Hanoi, Hoi An or Ho Chi Minh to try all the South East Asian country’s delicacies. The most popular dish, which you’ll find on the streets of any Vietnamese town or city, is the humble pho, a broth which is slow cooked for hours and served with noodles, beef or chicken, greens and garnished with chili, lime and coriander. Simple, yet delicious, this Vietnamese staple is popular amongst locals and tourists alike. French colonial influence is also still present today in Vietnamese food – try a banh mi, the Vietnamese take on a baguette sandwich, this one filled with a colourful mix of pickled carrot, daikon (radish), coriander and a choice of meat. Last but not least, the warm climate of the country makes for perfect conditions to grow a range of exotic fruits sold on every street corner – try jack fruit, durian, dragon fruit, small sweet bananas or fresh pineapple as well as many others you may not have seen before.
Viva Mexico!....and its incredible street food culture. Walking down the streets of any Mexican town you will undoubtedly find a meal on any given corner, and a bunch of hungry locals tucking into traditional delicacies. Recipes based around corn, meat, greens, beans and chilies, the Mexican diet is popular for its delicious mix of texture and flavour. Try tacos from a taco-stand, and see the smaller in size equivalents of the ones you’re used to at home filled up with meat, caramelised onions and parsley amongst other toppings. Tostadas are round, flat corn tortillas much crispier than tacos, usually topped with beans, guacamole, fresh lettuce and salsa; try for seafood along the coast. Tortas are the delicious Mexican version of a sandwich, with endless varieties of filling, including meats and sauces, cheese and fresh greens. Try a fresh licuado or agua fresca (fruit drink with milk or water base) to wash it all down with.
Singapore, a city-state bordering Malaysia, is largely thought of as a business-centred hub for ex-pats. Wrongly so! Largely influenced by its neighbour, Singapore takes pride in being an amalgamation of cultures, traditions and nationalities, whilst still competing with the likes of New York, London and Hong Kong for economical capital of the world. Its cuisine is much the same –traditional Chinese favourites, Malaysian delicacies, Indonesian staples and modern fusion food are the mod here. Try a laksa – spicy noodle soup spotted with chunks of chicken, fish, bean sprouts and served with fresh chili, lime and coriander leaves. Hokkien mee or Singapore noodles are also a popular go-to at many street-food markets, with fresh vegetables and prawns or chicken usually peppered amongst vermicelli rice noodles.
Of course we were bound to have China on this list! From fresh baozi (steamed bun filled with meat or vegetables), to jiaozi (dumplings with a filling), to Rou Jia Mo, the Chinese hamburger with thinner buns, shredded meat and flavoured with meat gravy and chili paste. There’s also Chuan’r, a Chinese kebab where meat cubes are skewered on thin cut bamboo sticks and seasoned with herbs before it’s grilled. Visitors to China will undoubtedly be surprised to discover that local Chinese food is nothing alike to the typical fare served in UK restaurants, but may be delighted to find out each region of China has its own local delicacies which will combine textures, flavours and ingredients you’d never expect. Whatever your taste buds are after, China will never disappoint!
If you’ve made it to Guatemala, then your sense of adventure will definitely take you to some street food stalls to sample all the local delicacies. Though Guatemalan cuisine is largely influenced by its more powerful, affluent neighbour, Mexico, the Guatemalans have applied their own take on typical Mexican street food. Tamales, should inevitably be at the top of your list to try here. Dough, meat, sauces and spices are wrapped up in parcel form using banana leaves, and steamed for hours. Corn flour is a big feature in these, and the grassy, floral scent of the banana leaves create a wonderful experience for your taste buds. For a sweet treat try raspado – a perfect cooler in hot Guatemalan days, this shaved ice dessert is topped with fruit sauces and fresh tamarind for that extra kick. Delicious! Last but not least, though it’s not street food, Guatemalan coffee should still be on your list – experts at growing the beans in high-altitude conditions, the flavour of coffee here is unlike any you’ll try back home.
A destination holidaymakers usually associate with golden beaches, great weather and cheap deals, Turkey’s reputation for street-food is not so well known, or almost practically non-existant. However anyone who visits will undoubtedly be met with an array of flavours, textures and treats to try, especially whilst exploring a city or town. They’re experts at pastries, be it savoury or sweet, and our advice is that no visitor to Turkey should miss out on börek, simit or baklava. Börek is a savoury pastry, usually stuffing Turkish cheese in between sheets of dough, whist the simple simit is a Turkish alternative to the American bagel, but with a twist – molasses glaze and poppy seed topping give it that extra something! Baklava is a must-try for all those with a sweet-tooth – completely indulgent, this sweet treat is made up of chopped nuts trapped between layers of filo pastry doused in sweet syrup or honey. And that’s just scratching the surface…
So, do we have you drooling at the thought of your next foodie holiday?