The Best Street Food

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Travel Features >> The Best Street Food

The Best Street Food

March 26, 2012

Finger licking’ good is what street food is! Read on to get the low down on what to eat in destinations across the world.

Crepes in Paris, France
Nothing tastes better than a piping hot crepe straight off the griddle at a street corner. Crepes are the well-known Parisian delicacy whose origins are unknown but mouthwatering taste to die for! Though crepes are available in most restaurants in Paris, the best ones are sampled at the street vendor’s cart where no sooner than you have placed your order, crepes will be skillfully flipped, folded and loaded with the filling of your choice: Banana and gooey chocolate Nutella for the sweet toothed or delicious ham and cheese for a savoury bite.

Look for the freshness – a good crepe vendor will not pre make the crepes, so there should be no stacks of half made crepes. Watch out for the shape – the best crepes are conical in shape and simply oozing with filling. Look out for the telling lines that queue up - that’s always a pointer to how good the vendor is! And lastly look for crepe maker that takes pride in his/her skill!


Head for the four M’s of crepes: Rue Mouffetard and St Michels, Montmartre and Montparnasse – believe us you will not be disappointed!

Singapore Food Centers
In Singapore the national pastime may well be eating, considering the 40,000 odd food hawkers whose business it is to provide clean, hygienic, the freshest and the tastiest of food to Singaporeans and visitors alike. From satays to seafood, wafer thin popiahs to shrimp dumplings- all is available at the busy food centers and to top it all you don’t have to worry about tummy troubles as there is a strict hygienic code all vendors have to adhere to.


With over 27 centers to choose from we had a hard time narrowing down. These five made it to the top of our list:
1. Golden Mile at 505 Beach Road - best known for Sup Tulang
2. Maxwell Food centre on Maxwell road – Hainanese Chicken Rice
3. Lau Pa Sat at 18 Raffles Quay – sample the Satays
4. East Coast lagoon Food Village at 1220 East Coast Parkway - Chili crabs to die for
5. Newton Circus at Bukhit Timah Road - gorge on the barbequed crab and lobster

What should you try?

- Try the Hainanese Chicken Rice. Considered the national dish of Singapore it is made up of chicken strips with flavourful rice. A must try!
- Singapore Chili crabs, the signature dish of Singapore is hot, tangy but sweet. To be eaten with your fingers and you cannot leave Singapore without feasting on chili crabs.
- Laksa is simply noodles in a coconut based soup, but oh so tasty! Many versions of it are on offer – from thin to thick sweet to tangy and each one as good as the other.
- Popiahs are the delightfully light spring rolls stuffed with bean sprouts, spring onions and veggies peppered with a light sauce.

Phad Thai, Bangkok
Make no mistake. The best food in Bangkok is served at the local street vendor’s push cart. The food dished up here will give any good restaurant a run for their money. And the most common of all street food in Bangkok is the sumptuous Phad Thai. If you are concerned about the cleanliness and hygiene of the push cart, don’t be! The turnover of the food is very quick and most street carts run out of food by the evening.


Anywhere. Having said that, Khao San Road is a popular street to find the ubiquitous street cart vendor dishing out the most sumptuous of street food amongst which Phad Thai or fried noodles is a popular choice. How do you choose the best vendor? Easy. Just look for the vendor that has the most local people before it and that’s the one to zero in on!

Bhel Puri, Mumbai
A deceptively simple mixture of puffed rice, sev, finely chopped red onions, cube sized boiled potatoes, sprinkling of green coriander leaves and tempered with tangy sweet and sour chutneys, bhel puri is the most delicious street snack in Mumbai. Soft and crunchy at the same time, eat it as soon as the vendor hands it over to you or you may land up with a gooey mess.


Though it’s available all over Mumbai, all roads lead to Chowpatty Beach, Marine Drive in South Mumbai. The best bhel puri in town is dished up by the vendors here. One word of caution though: this is not for lily-livered stomachs as the cleanliness may be suspect.

Pho, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Pho is that delicious steaming hot bowl of soup (mostly beef) and rice noodles that has the distinction of being the unofficial national dish of Vietnam. Eaten mainly for breakfast by the locals, Pho is available any time of the day or night at almost every street in Ho Chi Minh City. Most vendor carts serve just one dish and if it’s Pho, the vendor may have been serving it for most of his/her life – enough time to have perfected the art of making Pho. Surely can’t get better that this!


Almost every street has a Pho vendor cart, and everyone of them is good! For late night snacks try the street vendors outside Ben Thahn Market or if you want sample more street food then just Pho visit Quan An Ngong, 138 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street which has been set up by 20 street vendors under one roof – simply amazing food, especially Pho!

Currywurst, Berlin
It’s greasy, it’s heavy and has far too many calories, but it is still the most popular street food in Berlin. So what is Curry Wurst? In simple terms it is a sausage or bratwurst sliced into bite pieces, soaked with a tangy curry sauce and served up with a roll. Some serve it fried with the skin on to retain its crispiness, others boil the skinless sausage. Doused in sauce, served with fries and a roll Curry Wurst is a very popular on-the-go snack with Berliners. So popular is this German snack that it even has a museum devoted to it: the Curry Wurst Musem is located near Checkpoint Charlie and you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about Curry Wurst here!


- Curry 36 at Mehring Daam 36 is full up any time of the day of night. Undeniably the best place in the city.
- Bier’s at Ku’Daam 195
- Krasselts at Stegltzer Daam 22
- Konnopke’s is rated as the best place for Curry Wurst in Berlin

There’s ice cream and there’ s ice cream – but nowhere in the world will you get melt-in-the- mouth ice cream or should we say Gelato, as in the alleyways of Venice. A cousin of ice cream, gelato is that invention by the Italians that lets you gorge on it without putting on those extra inches at the waist and has the most innovative flavours for you to choose from: fresh fruits, chocolate, tiramisu and more. When ordering gelato remember you can have it in a cona or coppa and don’t order more than two flavours as gelato tends to melt quickly. Some tips: go for gelatos that are in steel bins, not too brightly coloured and display the homemade sign. So bring on the Gelato!


- The Paolin in San Marco is the most popular gelateria in Venice and the best according to Venetians. And they should know!
- Gelateria Mille Vogli has the best old fashioned gelato in town. Located somewhere between the Rialto and San Marco, just behind the Dei Frari Church.

Kebabs, Istanbul
It is said that 1300 cooks of the Topkapi Palace in the days of the Ottoman Empire spent their lifetime in the art of perfecting this skewered meat marvel called the ‘kebab’. So where better to sample this delectable treat than in Istanbul? There’s a mind boggling amount of kebabs you can choose from: Doner kebab , sis kebab, fish kebab, … the list goes on. Whichever you do choose it’s bound to tantalize your taste buds and guaranteed to leave you wanting more.


The Grand Bazaar in Sultanahmet district of Istanbul is well known for shopping, but it is as popular for its street food – more specifically - the kebab! Just follow your nose towards that heady smoky aroma from the lines of street carts here and begin your kebab sampling expedition. More than 14 varieties to choose from, so go slow- you don’t want to pass any of them by.

New York City
Move over hot dog. The taco, kati roll, pretzel, tamale, falafel, jerk chicken are jostling for space on the streets of New York City. Eating on the streets comes naturally to people in this fast paced city. Grab a bite at the cart on your street and move.

Where & What?

It’s next to impossible to list out the best street carts/trucks in the city. We make an attempt here. It is by no means complete!
- The Tamale Lady at 39th Street, between Park & Madison Avenue, Midtown for mouth watering Mexican tamales
- Biryani Cart at 46th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue, in the Theater District run by the same guy who started Kati Roll in the Village. Besides the chicken biryani, bite into the absolutely sumptuous meat filled wrap called kati roll.
- The Jamaican Dutchy at West 51st Street and 7th Avenue, Midtown for fried jerk chicken.
- Magdy at Grand Central Terminus for their lip smacking Philly cheese steaks.
- Hot Dog vendor cart at 69th and Fifth Ave and Gray's Papaya on Broadway at 72nd Street for the ultimate NYC hot dog experience!

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