8 Iconic Street Foods From Around The World
Where To Find It: South America, particularly Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay.
Chorípán sandwiches are a staple appetizer at South American asados, or barbecues, where they are typically served hot off the grill. The name choripán is a hybrid of the sandwich’s ingredients: chor for chorizo sausage and pan (Spanish for bread) for the crusty bread roll typically used to make it. In many South American countries, chorizo is the name for any type of coarse meat sausage—unlike Mexican or Spanish chorizo, it is not highly spiced or cured. In Argentina and Uruguay, choripán sandwiches are frequently topped with herby chimichurri sauce, while in Chile pebre and aji verde are popular toppings.
Bulgogi Beef Skewers
Where To Find It: South Korea
Bulgogi is an iconic Korean dish which includes thin slices of tender grilled meat, marinated with a combination of soy sauce, garlic, sugar, hot red chiles, and ginger. Bulgogi, which translates to “fire meat,” is a centuries-old tradition in Korea, thought to have originated during the Goguryeo era (37 B.C. to 668 A.D.) where it evolved from a skewered meat preparation called maekjeok. In Korea bulgogi is typically served wrapped in fresh lettuce leaves, along with steamed rice and additional condiments like gochujang or kimchi.
Jamaican Beef Pie
Where To Find It: Jamaica and the Caribbean
Jamaican Beef Pies, also known as beef patties, are far and away the most popular street food throughout Jamaica and much of the Caribbean. In many ways, beef patties are an edible symbol of Jamaica’s colonial past—they are largely based on Cornish pasties, a type of pastry-shelled meat pie brought to the Caribbean by British colonialists. African and Indian influence can be found in the meat filling, which is typically curried and flavored with fiery Scotch bonnet chile peppers. Affordable and delicious, Jamaican beef patties can be found at roadside stands across the island at breakfast and lunchtime. They are often served as a sandwich between two slices of coconut flavored bread (known as coco bread) which enhances the spicy flavors of the filling.
Where To Find It: Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, and the countries of the Levant
Shawarma is one of the world’s beloved street foods, but it’s especially popular throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. Shawarma is a preparation of marinated meat which is packed into a cone and slow-roasted on a rotisserie before being shaved and stuffed inside of a pita. Closely related to the Greek gyro, both shawarma and the gyro are based on the döner kebab, a centuries-old roasted-meat snack which originated in Ottoman Turkey. Shawarma can be made with chicken, lamb, or beef, and typical toppings include tahini, tabbouleh, cucumber, fries, and hummus.
Where To Find It: North India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh
Aloo tikki is a fritter made from boiled potatoes, curry spices, and sometimes peas. “Aloo” is the Hindi word for potato and “tikki” means croquette in Hindi and Marathi. A ubiquitous street food in their native Northern India, aloo tikki are typically served hot, with plenty of salt and a variety of sides like tamarind chutney and coriander-mint sauce.
Yaki Tomorokoshi (Japanese Grilled Corn)
Where To Find It: Japan
Yaki Tomorokoshi is a Japanese street food staple, enjoyed at fairs and sold by street vendors around the country. Before being grilled, the corn is brushed with a savory-sweet combination of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Before being served, it is often dusted with shichimi togarashi, a traditional Japanese seasoning which translates to “seven-flavor spice.”
Where To Find It: Sicily and throughout Southern Italy
Arancini are stuffed balls of Arborio rice which are coated with bread crumbs and then deep fried. Traditional fillings include sugo or ragù, a tomato-based sauce with meat, peas, and mozzarella, though today a wide variety of fillings are available, including bechamel sauce, mushrooms, and eggplant. Arancini are a popular street snack throughout Central and Southern Italy, available for sale at snack bars and pizza shops throughout the day. They are also frequently served as an appetizer at pizzerias. In Rome, arancini are known as supplì, while in Naples they are called pall'e riso. In Sicily, where they originated, arancini have a conical shape which represents the volcano Etna.
Mu Ping (Thai Grilled Pork Skewers)
Where To Find It: Thailand
Mu Ping are succulent skewers of grilled pork that are mariated and grilled. They are a ubiquitious and affordable street food in Thailand, where they are sold by street vendors. Mu Ping are typically marinated in a mixture of garic, coriander, chiles, and coconut milk, which helps tenderize the pork before cooking. They are often served with sticky rice and nam jim jaew , Thai dried chile sauce.