Probably the best way to explore a country’s culture is through its food, and there’s no more fun way to do it than by tucking into some street food! Whether you’re sunning yourself in the Riviera Maya, strolling through the back streets of Bangkok or moseying around the souks of Marrakech, you’ll find a fabulous array of exotic foods to get your taste buds tingling. We’ve come up with our top 5 destinations for street food to get you in the mood for your 2018 holiday!
Mexican cuisine is so good, it’s been awarded Intangible Cultural Heritage status by UNESCO (see our blog here). If you’re heading to Mexico – whether you’re going to soak up the sun in Cancun, or hitting the vibrant capital of Mexico City – don’t miss out on the fantastic street food. Stop off at a taco stand for a fresh tortilla, piled high with a mind-boggling array of delicious fillings, including the famous barbacoa (tender, slow-cooked meat), and topped with a choice of sauces. Or go for some tlacoyos, which are similar to tortillas, but are larger and fatter. They are filled with fava beans, cheese or other ingredients and fried or toasted. Then there are tortas, rolls stuffed with a variety of delicious fillings, or elote, barbecued corn-on-the-cob smothered in mayo, cheese, and chilli.
The street food offerings in Turkey are endless! Kebabs and döner kebabs might be the country’s most celebrated street food exports, but there are plenty more local delicacies to try while you’re on holiday. You’ll see simit – a sort of cross between a bagel and pretzel crusted with sesame seeds – everywhere. They are freshly baked and sold warm, often from street vendors balancing trays on their heads. You can also tuck into lahmacun, a thin pizza-like base with a meat, onion and red pepper topping, which is a very popular late-night snack. Börek are another top snack choice: these tasty little pastry parcels have all different kinds of fillings, including some delicious veggie options.
The exotic sounds and sights of Morocco are only equalled by the enticing smells of its extraordinary variety of street food. Head to the spectacular Jemaa el-Fnaa square in Marrakesh to have your mind blown by the sheer numbers of carts and stalls dispensing a dazzling choice of tasty snacks as snake charmers and acrobats perform for the crowds. You could give the snail soup or sheep’s head a go if you’re the curious type, or stick to the meloui pancakes, which have savoury filings and are served hot off the stove, if you’re not quite so brave. Other options include spicy harira soup, the delicate b’stilla savoury pastries, or the fabulous range of beautifully decorated sweets and biscuits that are found everywhere.
When you’re on holiday in Thailand, you’re bound to visit some of the country’s amazing night markets. One of the most atmospheric ways to spend an evening is to take in the fabulous street food stalls, many of which also have a table or two and a couple of plastic chairs. You’ll find pad Thai, the famous stir-fried rice noodle dish, everywhere, but you can also tuck into plenty of other delicious local treats. If you like it hot and spicy, go for some pad kra pao, a meat and noodle dish that is liberally spiced with chilli and Thai basil, or the som tam salad, which consists of shredded papaya, shrimp, peanuts and vegetables, with a tangy, hot sauce. Kai jeow is a Thai omelette, fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside, drizzled (of course) with chilli sauce.
There are all kinds of fantastic reasons to head to Mauritius – tropical beaches, turquoise seas, and endless sunshine are just some of them. But the island’s street food should really be right up there at the top of the list, because it is truly amazing! For a start, it is incredibly varied, reflecting the rich ethnic diversity and cultural heritage of Mauritius. You’ll find everything from spicy curries and ultra-fresh seafood, to samosas, vegetable fritters and a dazzling range of tropical fruit. And, of course, the famous and finger-licking delicious dholl pori, a kind of flatbread with spicy savoury fillings, which you’ll find everywhere.