Sampling the local fare at a destination’s eateries is one of the best ways to dive into the culture and live like a local. But if you want a grittier adventure, a destination’s street food tells a different story. The most authentic experience happens when you stop at a street corner and sample some of the locals’ usuals from the neighborhood street vendor.
A specialty of the island of Madeira, espetada can be found at parties and picnics throughout the Portuguese island. Espetada is made from chunks of beef marinated with garlic and salt, then skewered on a stick with bay leaves and cooked over hot coals. This juicy, savory snack goes best with a glass of sangria.
If you find yourself in São Paulo, pick up a serving of coxinha, a mouthwatering croquette stuffed with chicken and cream cheese, breaded and deep-fried and shaped into a chicken drumstick. Its name literally translates to “little thigh.”
The cousin to the Portuguese espetada, the espetinho of Rio de Janeiro comes cooked most often with chicken or beef, but can also be made from hot dogs, fish, sausages, shrimp or even queijo coalho. Whatever its main component, it’s always skewered and grilled to tantalize the tastebuds.
When in Istanbul, stop by a stall at the market and pick up a helping of simit, a ring of bread similar to a bagel but dipped in fruit molasses and coated with toasted sesame seeds. It’s often served with tea or ayran, a salted yogurt beverage.
Throughout Turkey you can also find lahmacun, often labeled “Turkish pizza.” But this salty, crunchy dough topped with ground meat and spices has a bigger kick to it than that. Seasoned with chili and onions and other herbs, it’s a delicious lunchtime meal you can find at any stall along your travels so you can eat on the go.
Kokorec, traditionally Turkish but also found in Greece, consists of small and large animal intestines and sweetbreads, rinsed, cleaned, wrapped around an iron skewer and grilled over charcoal. Once cooked, it’s often served with bread and spices like cumin, chili flakes and oregano.
While the most popular street food in Israel is falafel, there are many that debate its origins are actually in Egypt. But in Egypt, it’s called ta’amiya, and it’s made from fava beans instead of chickpeas and served with pita, salad, pickled vegetables and tahini sauce.
Between tango sessions in Buenos Aires, you’ll need to maintain your energy. Try the local favorite, choripán. A sandwich made with chorizo (sausage) on a crunchy bun with your choice of toppings makes it kin to the American hot dog, but with different flavors.
Anywhere you go in Italy you can find a street vendor selling porchetta, a traditional boneless pork roast cooked to perfection with fennel seeds, rosemary, salt, garlic and other aromatic herbs. Stuffed with liver, pieces of skin and meat or fat, it’s the kind of meal made to break a diet.
Trinidad and Tobago
Appropriately named doubles, this street treat can be found on the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago and is a clear symbol of the culture’s Indian roots. Two flat pieces of fried bread are filled with curry channa (chickpeas) and enjoyed with toppings like pepper sauce, mango, tamarind or cucumber.
You can’t go wrong with a flaky phyllo pastry stuffed with cooked spinach. Spanakopita, Greek for spinach pie, is seasoned and accompanied by feta cheese, lemon juice and sometimes dill within the spinach stuffing. It’s a quick bite to eat popular among the locals who are on the move.
Savor the flavors of the street during your travels on one of our luxe-adventure ocean voyages.