Laksa from Singapore

Another day, another opinion about the 5 best street food finds in the world, this one from Cathy Huyghe of GlobalPost.  Her list is pretty interesting, and is made up of the following 5 items:

1. Fish kebabs in Turkey’s port cities, such as Istanbul and Izmir, where the fishermen come in with the day’s catch of mackarel, sea bream, anchovies or other catch of the day. They fillet the fish then pan fry or grill it, and hand it over to you from the decks of their small boats. No marinade, no salt, just a kebab of fish with a piece of bread. Pure and perfect.


2. Picarones with honey in Lima, Peru.  Picarones are hand-rolled doughnuts deep-fried in the Spanish tradition. But each vendor-chef makes a unique accompanying sauce or honey. Chef Marilu Madueno, for example, infuses honey with dried figs, raisins, clove, cinnamon and anise seed. It tastes like something from the Spanish Middle Ages.

3. Beef pho in Vietnam. The main ingredients of this dish are echoes of the main cultural and political influences of Vietnam: beef from the French and rice noodles and ginger from China. It’s the signature dish in Vietnam’s vibrant street food repertoire. It is common for a chef-vendor to make only one dish for nearly their entire life: The same woman, for example, has parked herself on the same corner in Saigon for the past 30 years with her sticky rice flavored with turmeric and coconut and served on a banana leaf.

Beef pho in Vietnam

4. Sfenj in Morocco. Street food in Marrakesh, Morocco originated with poor, working class people who traveled to the city from outlying areas for work and had no car or means to return home for meals, and would treat themselves to sweets like sfenj, a type of doughnut, and hearty meals like kefta, spiced ground meat. Today, residents — working class or not — are choosing to go out and eat street food for dinner rather than stay at home and cook. It’s cheap and simpler than the preparation and cleanup at home. But the trend to eat away from home reflects another class shift, said chef Mourad Lahlou. “Ten or 15 years ago people had maids and cooks in their homes. No one wants to do that anymore. They’re there from 8 to 5, and then they go home to their own families.”

5. Laksa from vendors at a 24-hour hawker center in Singapore. Ten thousand itinerant street food hawkers used to crowd the one-square mile that is central Singapore. Fifty years ago the government swept them all into 120 hawker centers the size of a football field, each of which houses 200 tiny kitchens measuring no more than 8 feet by 8 feet. Today some 35,000 licenses have been issued to hawker center vendors. The secret to their food? One chef-vendor does one dish and one dish only. For Laksa, a spicy noodle soup, the chef prepares each component in the morning — makes broth, blanches noodles, cooks shrimp, shreds cucumbers and grinds chilies — and sells it until it runs out. [GlobalPost]

Tell us about your favorite street food experience in the comment section.

Mine is grilled wurst from a street vendor in Vienna who toastd the inside of a long roll on a hot spike, squirted some mustard into the hole, inserted a wurst, squirted on a little more mustard, and topped it with the end of the bread that was sliced off to toast the roll.  A perfect way to walk around Vienna and enjoy the city.