Best street food in Europe: Deliciously local
Travel is all about new and different experiences, and nothing does it better than food. One of the best places in the world to find tasty local street food is Europe. It’s a great way to sample seasonal food and local delicacies, often unique to that region or town.
Join us on a smorgasbord of delights as we tour 10 hidden corners of well-known cities to add flavor and spice to your amazing European trip.
If you’re feeling peckish while touring one of the lovely cities in Croatia, or perhaps sailing along the Dalmatian Coast, just look for a sign advertising burek. Most bakeries and food carts are laden with these delicious pies. Layers of fragrant thin phyllo pasty contain seasoned meat, potato and onions that are so delicious and easy to eat on-the-go. Finish with a bag of chocolate layered mađarica or kroštule (sweet pastry knots) as a sweet dessert.
San Sebastian, Spain
Tapas is commonplace in Spain, often served to accompany an icy caña beer. Head to San Sebastian on the Atlantic coast and you’ll find perfect snack-size pintxos served on every side street. These tasty morsels of seafood, cheese or meat are marinated and grilled on skewers. Other pintxo ingredients are artfully arranged on a slice of baguette and taste just as good as they look. The great thing is, like tapas, they are small and delicious so you can order a bunch and try them all.
Street food in Paris? Surely not! The three course “menu du jour” lunch is no longer practical for many office workers, hence the new trend for eating sur la pouce (literally, “on the thumb”) or on the go.
Lining the Rue des Rosiers in the Jewish Quarter you’ll find chefs attentively fussing over the thinnest crepes. They are filled with morsels of tasty jambon et fromage (ham and cheese), chestnut puree or vegetarian savories and served to-go. This off-the-beaten-path area is also a top spot for sampling authentic Mediterranean falafel and spice-infused shawarma wraps.
Berliners have long enjoyed food-on-the-go, so street food is entrenched in this birthplace of currywurst. These are hot dogs topped with a curry flavored sauce – an acquired taste! You’ll find them served at snack shops (Imbiss) and petrol stations.
If you want to be even more adventurous, take your appetite down to the historic Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg for a foodie experience like no other. Beneath the high glass roof, dozens of market stalls do a brisk trade in freshly made pretzels and meaty bratwurst. They also serve international fast food such as Dutch oysters and Spanish Huevos Rancheros (Mexican-style eggs). Best time to visit is after 5pm on “Street Food Thursday” when you can tuck into Allgäu cheese spaetzle, Fish Klub seafood, smoky BBQ pulled pork brötchen (buns) and you’ll even find authentic Nigerian FuFu. Guten appetit!
Sicilian food culture dates back for millennia, so you know everything will be outstanding in taste and quality. True Sicilian street food includes panelle (fried squares of dough made from chickpea flour).
However, the true masterpiece of finger food is l’arancina. Following the centuries-old recipe, these tasty balls of saffron rice, minced meat and peas are deep-fried and surprisingly filling. You’ll find them on any street market away from the chic city centre. Check out the creamy cannolo and cassata, the queen of Sicilian pastries, and treat yourself to a bagful!
Following the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, sampling authentic pizza is a must.
There are two types of pizza in Rome – as a round pizza pie in a sit-down pizzeria, or pizza al taglio which is sold by the slice. Not surprisingly, it is Rome’s most popular street food. Baked in rectangular trays, it is sold in slices by weight! Master chefs manage to create mouthwatering taste from the simplest ingredients. Don’t be afraid to go for the simple-but-oh-so-delicious Pizza Bianca (olive oil and salt) or Pizza Rossa (olive oil and tomato sauce). From there you can progress to adding some unconventional toppings such as tripe, potato with rosemary, caviar, truffles, gorgonzola cheese or peaches with chicory. Hey – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, right?
One thing all 227 Greek islands have in common is their love of gyros. These pita bread wraps are the ultimate portable snack. Cones of pressed meat are cooked on a rotating grill (like doner kebab meat) and shaved off fresh for each gyro. Stuffed with lettuce, tomato, onion and tzatziki sauce, they can include roast chicken, beef or lamb.
The region of Transylvania has its very own specialty street food known as Kürtős kalács or Chimney Cake. Look out for charcoal rotisseries (often made from old oil drums) at the roadside, on markets and at open-air events. The dough is wound onto the rotating metal pole and cooked over the barbecue embers. The pastry is then rolled in sugar, nuts and cinnamon and is a true delight. Well worth the trip!
The best place to tuck into delicious Hungarian cuisine is at one of the “ruin bars”. These pop-up street food venues take over one of the many fine buildings that were hastily abandoned in WW2, particularly in the Jewish Quarter.
Entrepreneurs erect a makeshift bar, barbecue and lights and create a pop-up eaterie. Diners sit at mismatched benches and tables and tuck into creamy goulash or Lángos. These deep-fried flatbreads come with a variety of toppings including sour cream, grated cheese, ham, sausages, vegetables and garlic. They’re good to take-away and eat in the park or on the go, too!
We can’t finish without mentioning London, one of the most visited cities in the world. Head to Soho Square near Chinatown at lunchtime and you’ll find the Street Food Union – a convoy of quirky food trucks that’s a foodie utopia. Skip the humdrum hot dogs and burgers and hunt down the Yorkshire Burrito. Rather than re-fried beans and salsa, this “burrito” is crammed with roast beef, gravy, strips of Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings. It’s the street food equivalent of a hearty Sunday roast. Oh my
Wherever you are planning to travel to (with us!), don’t be afraid to sample the local cuisine. It’s a memorable and enriching experience – and street food is as surprising as it is unique to each destination.
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