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Street Food: The Soul of a Country

Norman, a great friend, foodie, and photographer from the Philippines, says, “you know the soul of a country by eating its street food.” Having eaten the street foods in every country I’ve visited, I have to admit he’s right. From stationary carts in Hong Kong, push carts in Lima, small trailers in Mexico City, and literal holes in the walls in Durban, I’ve learned more about a country and its people and had some of the best meals of my life. And never was I cheated out of the sit-down-and-enjoy experience, because there was always a stoop, bench, curb, or large flower pot nearby to park myself and think about nothing but the bites.

This list is for those whose, like mine, palate is as adventurous as their passport and those who, like me, love to save money and still have the time of their life!

My recommendation is google nothing; no images, descriptions, nothing. Arrive and do your best to pronounce the name and surely someone will point you toward the dish!


1. Bangkok, Thailand.
Foods To Try: Boat Noodles + Kluay Tod + Som Tam + Khao Kha Moo + Moo Ping + Guay Teow + Massaman Gai + Mango Sticky Rice (My absolute favorite)

Thai Street Food | by Todor Kamenov

2. Istanbul, Turkey.
Foods To Try: Kokorec + Islak Burger + Gozleme + Boza (a drink)

Grilled Kebabs of Turkey | TRAVEL INN TURKEY CO. LTD

3. Durban, South Africa.
Foods To Try: Bunny Chow + Grilled Prawns + Roti + Boerewors + Biltong

Durban Bunny Chow | Trover

4. Marrakech, Morocco.
Food To Try: Sheep Head + Harira + B’Stilla + Snails + Ma’qooda + Sheep Heart + Chebakia + Orange Juice (the best in all the world!) + Tangine

Marrakech Street Food | WORLD WANDERING KIWI

5. Hong Kong.
Food To Try: Stinky Tofu + Curry Fish Balls + Grilled Squid Tentacles + Roasted Chestnuts + Egg Waffles + Sui Mai + Stewed Organs In A Pot

Egg Waffles. South China Morning Post

6. Mumbai, India.
Food To Try: Vada Pav + Bhelpuri + Sev Puri + Pav Bhaji + Chai (Of Course) + Pani Puri + Mumbai Sandwich

Mumbai Street Food | HungryForever.Com

7. Lima, Peru.
Food To Try: Guinea Pig + Papa Rellena + Picarones + Arroz Con Leche (mmmm!) + Cow Heart + Baby Goat Mollejas + Ceviche

Lima Street Food | Pariwana Hostel

8. Manila, Philippines.
Food To Try: Kwek Kwek + Helmets & Adidas + Fish Balls + Palabok + Sotanghon + Taho + Halo-Halo + Balut (MUST!) + One Day Old Fried Chicken + Papanga Frogs

Pampanga Frogs | Mike Rivera

9. Any City, Mexico.
Food To Try: Tamales + Grilled Corn + Tortas + Horchata (best drink ever) + Tacos!!!
Warning: You won’t be able to eat tacos in your non-mexico hometown every again. Unless you’re in Cali.

Mexican Street Food | Mark Wiens (Youtube)

10. Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.
Food To Try: Picanha + Pastel De Queijo + Kibe + Bacalhau + Feijoada + Acaraje With Vatapa + Cassava Chips + Ceviche

Bahia Street Food | Owen Franken

Happy Eating. Happy Travels!

Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.