Street food had become a buzzword recently, mainly because of its booming market all over the world. In the US, food trucks have breathed new life into the meaning of street food. A cuisine that once only included hot dogs and snow cones now encourages all sorts of portable culinary creations: chilled cookie dough, black-bean burgers, fried pineapple, and so much more!
Across the pond in Europe, street food has remained a must-have in order to feed crowded streets of tourists and late-night party goers. Every country seems to have its own take on a potable staple, and here are some of the most popular ones.
Everywhere- Kebab: When in the US, the word “kebab” is usually associated with a skewer chalk-full of meat, vegetables, and then grilled on a barbeque. However, in Europe it’s the shortened lingo for “Doner Kebab,” or a tortilla filled with a slow roasted meat (usually chicken) and then filled with lettuce slaw and other assorted. They’re then dowsed in a special “kebab sauce,” and usually pressed under a panini press until the outside is toasted, and then you grab it and eat on the go! The tortilla shell proves to be one of the most efficient ways to make any delicious meal portable and edible on the go.
*Kebab can easily be made vegetarian by substituting the meat for falafel– a doughy ball made from ground up chickpeas.
Germany- Currywurst: This delicious combination takes the cake when it comes to street food in Germany. The dish brings the best of East and West together by taking a traditional German bratwurst and then smothering it in a flavorful, often spicy curry sauce. They’re served without a bun, and cut up into small pieces inside a paper boat. They don’t give you any forks to use, but rather a wooden, toothpick-like pronged utensil. It tastes best with a side of crispy fries!
Greece- Gyro: This street food is pretty similar to the kebab, but don’t ever let someone from Greece hear you say that! The meat inside us often either pork, chicken, or my personal favorite, lamb. The gyro is also usually topped with a creamy yogurt sauce, and wrapped in a piece of pita bread as opposed to the plain tortilla.
France- Crepe: The crepe isn’t just a breakfast food in France! It’s often enjoyed by people late at night, stopping for a warm treat on their way back from dinner. The crepes are often filled with Nutella and strawberries, or simply dusted with sugar.
Italy-Gelato: In the states people often indulge in Ben and Jerry’s or a soft-serve cone, but neither or these can be found in Italy. Instead, nearly every street has its own gelato shop, accessible usually by a window facing the crowded boulevards. Flavors range from more traditional ones like pistachio and chocolate, to more inventive ones– I’ve even tried one called spicy clementine! Gelato is mainly famous for its creamier, thicker texture.
England- Cornish Pasty: Pasties became popular in the US during the mining boom. The flaky pie crust exterior was filled with potatoes, and ground beef. Miners would take them into down into the caverns and eat them for a hearty lunch. However, these pastries actually hail from the small-English region of Cornwall. The traditional pasty still had ground beef and potatoes, but new shops have invented their own signature flavors like pork and apple– a delicious combination.
No matter what country you’re in, the most successful street foods are often fried, filled with juicy meat, or delectably sweet. The arrival of food truck festivals in the US has only made it easier to try all of these tasty food on the go, so there are really no excuses not to branch out and grab a bite!