News / Arts & Entertainment

Hong Kong Tops Best Street Food Cities List

Tourists from mainland China eat street food on downtown street in Hong Kong, May 11, 2011.
Tourists from mainland China eat street food on downtown street in Hong Kong, May 11, 2011.
Reuters
Quick, cheap and chock full of flavor, street food gives hungry passersby a lot to love in locales around the world. Trying the local open-air fare is also a key ingredient to sampling any city's culture.

That's why online travel adviser Cheapflights.com has put together its Top 10 street-food cities. Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1.  Hong Kong, China

With a bustling international food scene, Hong Kong offers up everything from sweet tofu soup to dumplings all from street-side stalls. Long under British rule but now part of China, the city is famous for everything from snake soup to egg tarts, and serves up an interesting mix of Cantonese delicacies and Western favorites.

Markets like those on Temple Street in Yau Ma Tei, the Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street and Kowloon City are popular places to peruse Hong Kong's street food scene and taste test items like hot pots, curried fish balls and skewers of stinky tofu (your nose will guide you to that one).

The city's dai pai dongs (open-air street food vendors) have been dwindling since the 1980s when regulations tightened, but places like noodle shops and markets still thrive.

Some of Hong Kong's food stalls like dim sum canteen Tim Ho Wan on Sham Shui Po even made the most recent Michelin Guide - a significant honor from a guide that's notoriously stingy with its stars, reserving them mainly for high-end brick-and-mortar restaurants.

2.  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Food stands are a staple in Rio de Janeiro. Vendors offer everything from cod fritters to feijoada (rice, beans and pork) and salgadinhos (salty aperitifs). The scene has stretched to the city's waterfront and its suburbs.

Beverages are popular street-side buys here, especially drinks like fruit smoothies and suco de acai (acai juice). Sweet treats like tapiocas (crepes) and churros filled with chocolate or caramel are also popular.

Stroll the boardwalk of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches to find 24-hour food stands.

Street meat called churrasquinhos, hot dogs known as cachorro quente and cheese bread (pao de queijo) are all common street food fare in Old Rio.

French Valentine Davase poses in front of her 'Le Refectoire' food truck in Paris November 16, 2012.
French Valentine Davase poses in front of her 'Le Refectoire' food truck in Paris November 16, 2012.
3.  Paris, France

Paris may be famous for decadent sit-down midday meals, but its street food offerings are extensive. After all, who can resist that wall of Nutella jars practically calling your name from every Parisian creperie?

The city's iconic street food specialty is the heavenly crepe. The thin pancakes are typically made to order and filled with your choice of ingredients, which could be anything from a savory combination like ham and cheese, or a sweet specialty like that heavenly chocolate-hazelnut spread paired with slices of banana.

But the French city's street food scene goes beyond its network of street-corner creperies. Sandwiches from bakeries, falafel in the Marais district and Indian specialties like samosas are all served street side.

A surprising amount of food trucks - many of them dishing out traditional American favorites like burgers - are also popping up around Paris. Just be a little discerning with your selections in popular tourist locales, such as the areas around the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre.

4.  Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Humble hot dog carts, step aside. Gourmet mobile meals are all the rage in several U.S. cities, including Boston where more than 50 food trucks (up from 15 in 2011) roam the city, planting themselves - on any given day - in one of 30 locations. The trucks also converge on various neighborhood markets in the spring, summer and fall.

Each truck has cornered its piece of the foodie market, and cuisine ranges from local specialties like lobster rolls (from the Lobsta Love truck) to Vietnamese favorites (from the Bon Me truck).

The buzz around the treat-dispensing trucks is also a reflection of a growing food scene in this New England city. Truck chefs host food festivals and cooking contests, and, on occasion, even end up launching wheel-less meals from restaurants inspired by their food trucks.

On the flip side, some brick-and-mortar restaurants are now sending their meals on the road.

5.  Istanbul, Turkey


Food stalls and street-side snack shops are ubiquitous in this Turkish city. Specialties include kebap (little pieces of broiled or roasted cow, sheep or chicken meat), dJoner (meat roasted on a vertical spit), lahmacun (Turkish pizza), sokak simit (a large, crispy bagel-like bread roll with sesame seeds) and an array of flaky pastries.

Neighborhoods like Karakoy, Ortakoy and Taksim feature plenty of street food vendors, and the city's Grand Bazaar is another hot spot for street food.

Down at the waterfront, vendors stand aboard boats and offer up fish sandwiches that will only set you back about three Turkish lire.

Seasonal favorites like corn on the cob in the summer and roasted chestnuts in the winter are also popular in Istanbul.

6.  Mexico City, Mexico

Affordable and authentic are two frequently used adjectives for street food in Mexico City. Thousands of food stalls and taquerias line city streets dishing up Mexican favorites like tostados, carnitas, tamales and quesadillas.

But the key street dish in this city is tacos al pastor - thinly sliced pork that has been spit-roasted and bathed in chili sauce, paired with chopped onion and coriander, then rolled into a small tortilla.

Try the carts in the city's main square, Centro Historico's Zocalo, or the Colonia Roma neighborhood. For a treat, head to the cart on the corner of Delicias and Aranda streets, which offers blue corn tlacoyos - grilled corn patties with beans, cheese, cactus, cilantro and salsa.

7.  Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Often overshadowed by Vancouver and Toronto in the street food arena, Ottawa boasts a growing mobile meal scene, with 44 food trucks and carts already hawking their yummy goods and about 20 inventive newcomers ready to hit the streets in May.

New trucks include the Urban Cowboy, which will dish out self-proclaimed "innovative Texan street food'' and the Ottawa "Streat'' Gourmet set to feature local, seasonal eats.

New specialty carts will serve everything from frozen yogurt to churros and baked potatoes with toppings.

These additions will join the city's perennial street food favorites like hot dog and sausage carts, BeaverTails (fried pastries with your choice of sweet or savory toppings) and poutine (french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds).

8.  Marrakech, Morocco

The heart of Marrakech's street food culture is Djemaa el-Fna, which daylights as the city's main square, but moonlights as an impressive spread of about 100 open-air food stalls.

Adventurous foodies can sample the traditional sheep's head, while those with more reserved tastes can bite into offerings like fried eggplant or couscous-based dishes.

If the food isn't enough of a draw, the market also features performers, snake charmers and tarot card readers. Overflowing bowls of olives and barrels of spices are mainstays in the city's souks, or markets.

Rue El Kassabin is another key spot to savor street food in this city. Known for its slow-roasted lamb called mechoui, the area serves up a variety of other street food fare including bean soup, escargot, sausage sandwiches and Moroccan-style macarons.

9.  Berlin, Germany

There are plenty of international favorites served streetside in Berlin, but two dishes are the main players: currywurst and the dJoner kebab.

Currywurst is essentially a deep-fried pork sausage covered in ketchup and dusted with curry powder. Curry 36 in the Kreuzberg district is the go-to local food stand for many lovers of this dish. You can order it with or without the skin. Devout currywurst fans typically pair the sausage with fries topped with ketchup and mayonnaise.

Stands selling dJoner kebabs - gyro-like Turkish sandwiches - also pepper the city. Berlin's markets serve up a mix of international street food, including items like pickled herring on bread, falafel sandwiches and Turkish pastries.

The city also just launched "Street Food Thursdays'' at the Markthalle in Kreuzberg. The weekly event will feature a line-up of street food favorites for several hours every Thursday.

10. Fukuoka, Japan

Other Japanese cities may be more famous, but Fukuoka is famous for its street food. Located on the northern shore of Kyushu, the city boasts more than 150 transportable food stalls known as yatai that open around dusk, then pack up and vanish at the end of each night.

The stands dot the city, but large groups of them are located near Tenjin Station and on the southern end of Nakasu Island.

Specialties include tonkotsu ramen (a noodle dish featuring broth made using pork bones and fat), mentaiko (spicy pollack roe), hakata gyoza (pan-fried dumplings filled with cabbage and pork), iwashi mentaiko (Japanese sardines stuffed with mentaiko) and tempura (seafood and vegetables fried in a light tempura batter).

The perfect pairing for many of these dishes? A glass of sake.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

Avery Sunshine is known for her irresistible combination of soul, jazz and gospel influences. She’s traveled the world entertaining audiences with her powerful voice, inspiring lyrics and infectious spirit. She joins host Shawna Renee on "The Soul Lounge" to perform and share the stories behind her new album, "The Sun Room."