The heart and soul of international food are to be found on the streets by the local vendors on their stands and trucks. Street food is the ultimate comfort food that we crave at the end of our nights out as our stomachs rumble on our way home. Although these vendors are usually replicating restaurants, they always taste best when eaten out of a paper plate and when a total mess is made. Street food often represents the national pride of the country.
Vada Pav, India
Vada Pav is the epitome of Indian street food. It is a legendary Mumbai sandwich that begins with spiced mashed potato balls which are deep fried in chickpea flour. The next stage is adding green chili peppers which are also fried in the oil. The soft and chewy rolls are drenched in chutneys such as mint-coriander, tamarind or peanut-garlic. The roll is stuffed with the potato fritters, usually one or two, the chili strips and then it is squished together into a delicious masterpiece.
Chicken Rice, Singapore
If you are in Singapore and are looking to start a fight, the easiest way is to ask two locals who has the best chicken rice. It is the national dish of Singapore and is locally known as Hainanese rice since the recipe came from Hainan, a small Chinese island. This dish is completely simple and that’s what’s so special about it. It’s poached chicken and rice. However, the unique flavors combined create for one of the best meals. The chicken is poached in a ginger broth on a low simmer, making it incredibly juicy and moist. The rice is simmered in the same broth.
Jerk Chicken, Jamaica
Boston Bay is the home of jerk chicken in Jamaica. Authentic jerk chicken is not grilled, it is actually smoked over Jamaican pimento wood, which also makes allspice. The chicken is placed right on top of green pimento logs and covered with metal sheets, smoked to the tenderest possible state from the coals. The pimento smoke makes it fruity and it is best served with Jamaican rice and beans.
Pork Satay, Thailand
Thailand is not only a beach paradise, but also a street food paradise. Although there are many unique local street foods to choose from, the most iconic would have to be pork satay. It is cooked on charcoal grills and served with a cucumber salad with peanut sauce. The pork is marinated in a spicy and sweet lemongrass paste with garlic, shallots, ginger and fish sauce. The skewers are brushed with coconut milk while cooking.
What you need to do is discard everything you know about quesadillas. It is not a flour tortilla with microwaved cheddar cheese. There is nothing quite as authentic and delicious as a real Mexican quesadilla. The dough is handmade from ground corn and is either rolled or pressed into a circle and placed on a hot griddle. The standard version is filled with Oaxacan cheese or Chihuahua cheese and then folded over. But Mexican street vendors know that there is no reason to stop at the cheese, and have drool-worthy fillings such a chorizo sausage, potato, cactus, squash, mushrooms, refried beans and all kinds of meats.
Crepes and Galettes, France
A crepe is pretty simple for a country that is the creator of fine dining, however, most certainly does not disappoint. There are two standard varieties, a galette, which is more savory and is made from buckwheat flour, and the crepe made from white flour which makes for a super sweet treat. They were both eaten in Brittany in the northwest of France, however, were brought over by immigrants and are now served by street vendors all throughout France. A galette is usually served with ham and Gruyere cheese and sometimes includes a fried egg. The sweet crepe usually has Nutella, a chocolate and hazelnut spread, and sometimes strawberries and cream.
Falafel has become so popular that it is considered an international street food. These fried chickpeas are to be found throughout the streets of every major city. However, the home of falafel is known to be Israel, mainly in the metropolitan area of Tel Aviv, where you can find an overstuffed pita with freshly fried falafel balls and all the fixings, such as hummus, vegetables, eggplant, and french fries, 24 hours a day. Best eaten around 2 am, however.