We have our chaat, chai and vada paav. Lassi, jaljeera, pani puri, bhelpuri and momos to name a few more, Indian Street Food is as expansive as the Indian appetite. It is not just us Indians, though, who enjoy the sweet, spicy delectables. Here are a few street food items from around the globe:
Hot Dog (New York City)
As seen in quite a few movies and TV shows, New York City is the host to scores of food carts and vans. The hot dogs served with mustard and ketchup is a treat for tourists and locals alike. Most New Yorkers have their favourite food stand which they will frequent and be loyal to.
Fish and Chips (The whole of the United Kingdom)
The Britons love their chips! They pair them with almost anything, the most common being Fish ‘n chips. Chips in this context is actually French fries. Served as a favourite everywhere, this delicacy comprises a big fillet of batter-fried fish and chunky home style fries. The fish and chips go best with the creamy yet tangy tartare sauce.
Tanghulu (The streets of China)
China doesn’t have a lot of street food stalls left because the government banned them for safety on the roads, but if you are roaming the streets of Beijing or Shanghai you will definitely find a stall of these colourful confectionaries calling out your name! Tanghulu is actually skewered candied fruit. Kiwis, strawberries, blueberries, bananas and mandarin oranges are skewered on bamboo sticks and dipped in sugar syrup that eventually hardens.
Other versions include chocolate covered fruits and ones covered in sesame seeds.
Crêpes (Rues de France)
These thin pancakes are so popular that the rest of the world has resorted to making them their own street food. They are either served sweet with fruit, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, hazelnut paste, ice cream or savoury with cheese, ham, spinach or chicken. Crêpes are magnifique in all shapes, sizes and flavours!
Shawarma (Arab Nations)
Though shawarma is essentially Levantine, it has counterparts all over the world (donner kabab/gyros). Shawarma is basically a roll which has a filling of meat and vegetables. This wrap is different from regular ones because the meat is prepared by stacking it on a spit and rotating it. The cooked outer layer is scraped off to put in rolls or eat separately while the exposed layer cooks.
Churros are like thin tall Latin cousins of the doughnut. Mostly eaten as breakfast with thick hot chocolate, churros are long sticks of fried dough that vary in thickness. The dough, made of flour, water and salt, is squeezed through a star shaped nozzle before frying and that’s what gives it the ridged appearance. They can be sprinkled with sugar and sometimes cinnamon for a twist in flavour!
Gatsby Sandwich (South Africa)
This popular street food is a long roll cut lengthwise and the opening filled with various meats and vegetables. The filling of the Gatsby depends largely on the person ordering it. It can be a saucy bolognese, sausages, chicken, calamari, masala steak... whatever you want. The invention of this sandwich happened because people of SA would take a big roll of bread and fill it with leftovers to split it four ways.
Pie Floaters (Australia)
Most common in Adelaide as a late evening snack, pie floaters are the regular Australian meat pie floating in a thick soup of green peas. The pie could be submerged or floating upside down. The condiments used in this dish are a mint sauce, tomato sauce, salt and pepper or malt vinegar, depending on the taste of the consumer. Shane Warne, the cricketer, claims to be a huge fan of this heritage Australian dish that is sold out of pie carts all over the country.
There are many many delicacies that do not require a heavy pocket to enjoy. Some are intrinsic to their regions and some are found almost everywhere. But the most common street foods in the world still remains the cool and refreshing ice cream and the cheesy Italian pizzas.