One of the best ways to get to know a culture is to explore the flavours of a country by eating like the locals. In our experience, almost any country you go to will have street vendors offering authentic local cuisine at low prices - with big flavours. Come on a journey with us as we take to the streets for the best eats around the world. Be warned though, if you’re not hungry now, you will be after reading this!
Bún Chả in Hanoi, Vietnam
If you’ve ever visited Hanoi, you’ve probably tried this unique plate. Famously, Barack Obama shared bún chả and beers with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain at one of Hanoi’s most famous street cafes - Bún Chả Hương Liên. Eaten at any time of the day or night, bún chả consists of deliciously marinated meat, vermicelli and a dipping sauce known for being sour, spicy, salty and sweet all at once. Hanoi locals say bún chả should be eaten with a variety of fresh vegetables which perfectly balances the rich flavours.
Bunny Chow in Durban, South Africa
This South African specialty is genius - and tastes amazing too! Ask any South African about Bunny Chow and they will have a passionate opinion about the origins and traditions associated with the dish - not to mention where to find the best ‘bunny’. A hollowed-out bread loaf is filled to the brim with Durban-style curry, with the centre bread served on top. Dip into the curry with the soft inner bread, then as you get through the meal you can tear off the crusts to use as your cutlery. Take note though, Durban curries are HOT, so if you have a sensitive stomach you might want to sit this one out.
‘Ota ‘Ika or Poisson Cru in Tahiti
Many Pacific Islands have similar national dishes, but special mention goes to the Tahitian ‘ota ‘ika - raw fish marinated in citrus and coconut milk. Fresh raw tuna (or other fish, crab, eel or squid) is ‘cooked’ in the acidic lemon or lime juice, before adding creamy fresh coconut milk. The resulting fresh, tender fish is often served with complimentary flavours of red onion, cucumber and tomato on a bed of banana palms.
Jerk Chicken in Jamaica
Known for being spicy and smokey, jerk chicken is famous in Jamaica where it originated, but you’ll also find it anywhere you visit throughout the Caribbean. Jerk signifies the style of cooking - strips of chicken (although you can get other meats too) are coated in spices and left to marinate for hours. Then, when it’s ready, the meat is slow-cooked over a fire or grill with green pimento (chilli) wood over the hot coals to create the intense smokey flavour.
Currywurst in Germany
Another Indian fusion of flavours! Half bratwurst, half curry - the currywurst is essentially a deep-fried sausage cut in pieces and doused in flavourful curry sauce. The origins of the Currywurst can be traced back to a woman and national treasure named Herta Heuwer. The location of her original food kiosk where the currywurst was created in the late 1940s, has a memorial plaque to notify the public of its significance. If you really want to delve into the history, head to the Deutsches Currywurst Museum in Berlin which opened on the 60th anniversary of this famous street food.
Pierogi in Poland
Traditionally served on Christmas Eve, pierogi are popular all year round in Poland - and throughout the world. Popular fillings for these delicious fried dumplings are classic potato and cheese, sauerkraut and mushroom, ground meat or try them with sweet cheese or stuffed with fruit for dessert! To get the best pierogi on the market, time your visit to Poland with the annual national pierogi festival in Krakow - usually held in mid-August.
Hungry yet? Or inspired to travel to one of these street food destinations? Start planning your trip by reaching out to your nearest Travellers Choice travel agent