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The World’s 12 Best Cities for Street Food

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Crepes on the street in Paris, France

Crepes on the street in Paris, France

This list offers insight into the 12 best cities for street food, revealing the globe’s depth of culinary delights.

The cultural and culinary traditions of a city are spotlighted in street food. Vendors pride themselves on different flavors, textures, and aromas that engage all five senses. Even in cities celebrated for their restaurants, street food is the ultimate casual dining experience for locals, while providing visitors with a window into a country’s gastronomic heritage.

Street food blurs the lines between authentic culinary customs and exciting gastronomic exploration. It bursts from outdoor markets, carts, or kiosks that make the culture and heritage of a city like Istanbul in Turkey or Durban in South Africa tangible.

  1. 1. Istanbul, Turkey
  2. 2. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  3. 3. Fukuoka, Japan
  4. 4. Durban, South Africa
  5. 5. Marrakech, Morocco
  6. 6. Mumbai, India
  7. 7. Amman, Jordan
  8. 8. Paris, France
  9. 9. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  10. 10. Cartagena, Colombia
  11. 11. Bangkok, Thailand
  12. 12. Cologne, Germany
  13. Discover the Best Cities for Street Food During Your Trip

1. Istanbul, Turkey

Street sale of traditional Turkish simit


Doner kebab has become a staple across western Europe and Istanbul serves delicious dishes from kiosks across the country’s largest city.

Börek, a flaky pastry, and simit, a ring-shaped sesame bread similar to a pretzel, unleash evocative aromas that drift through the streets. Istanbul draws people from across the country who bring their culinary traditions and flavors, making the streets a platter of delights.

Kebabs, lahmacun, which are similar to a Turkish pizza, and traditional pistachio ice cream known as Dondurma are Istanbul’s most popular dishes. When visiting during a customizable trip, you can indulge in how the metropolis combines local flavors with a connection between East and West.

Highlights: Hagia Sophia • Topkapi Palace • Blue Mosque • Basilica Cistern • Hippodrome

Food to try: Turkish coffee • Simit • Turkish tea • MenemenDonerLahmacun

Learn more: Turkey Tours & VacationsTurkey Travel Guide

2. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich

Bahn Mi

The bustling streets of the Vietnamese capital offer the country’s most popular street foods, with vendors selling fare on bus corners or quiet alleyways.

The scent of steaming bowls of pho drifts through the streets, while banh mi sandwiches have become a favorite international street food, their distinct flavors of shredded pork skin or sausage with cilantro, cucumber slices, and pickled carrots all served on a French baguette.

Vendors also serve fish soup, stuffed pancakes, and light, crunchy spring rolls.

Highlights: Cu Chi Tunnels • War Remnants Museum • Mekong Delta • Water Puppet Theater

Food to try: Banh MiPhoThit NuongBanh XeoBun Bo Nam BoCao Lau

Learn more: Vietnam Tours & VacationsVietnam Travel Guide

3. Fukuoka, Japan

Japanese yakitori, grilled chicken skewers


Pop-up food stalls have been popular in Fukuoka, Japan, since the 17th century, but erupted after the second World War. Mobile open-air stands can host up to 10 diners, promoting a communal experience.

The city has approximately 150 food stalls, with many offering the local specialty of tonkatsu ramen, a creamy pork broth topped with ramen noodles, sliced pork belly, and an array of fresh vegetables.

Other traditional dishes like hot pot include grilled chicken skewers, thinly sliced beef, tofu, or seafood served with leafy greens and mushrooms.

Highlights: Ohori-koen Garden • Hakata Machiya Furusato-kan • Rakusuien Garden • Kushida-jinja

Food to try: Hakata Ramen • MentaikoMotsunabeMizutaki Hotpot • Beef Tongue • Unagi

Learn more: Japan Tours & VacationsJapan Travel Guide

4. Durban, South Africa

Bunny chow street food in Durban, South Africa

Bunny Chow

A little-known secret outside South Africa is that Durban boasts the best street food scene in the country due to its blend of unique flavors and culinary influences.

It is known for its great year-round weather, but is also a fantastic place for a gastronome, with its Indian, Zulu, and white South African influences. The result is delicious curries, celebrated vegetarian options, and juicy chicken dishes from small street-side stalls and markets emphasizing quality through fresh ingredients.

Bunny chow has emerged as the quintessential Durban street food consisting of a hollowed-out loaf of bread stuffed with curry.

Highlights: Golden Mile • Durban Botanic Gardens • Indian Quarter • Mitchell Park • Moses Mabhida Stadium • Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve

Food to try: Bunny Chow • Shisa Nyama, barbecued meat • Bobotie • Mutton Vindaloo • Spicy Chakalaka • Chicken Heads and Feet • Biltong • Dumplings filled with spiced ground beef

Learn more: South Africa Tours and VacationsSouth Africa Travel Guide

5. Marrakech, Morocco

Tagines at the market in Marrakesh, Morocco


Whether in the mood for freshly squeezed fruit juices or sampling the traditional flavors of snail soup, walking through the bustling aisles of Djemaa el-Fna Square in the evening tantalizes the senses.

Chefs worldwide have visited the city for centuries in search of the elaborate spices included in lentil and chickpea soup, dried fruits, nuts, and grilled meats. Street vendors serve a type of pastry similar to a pancake hot from the stovetop.

Cookies and pastries bursting with colors and syrupy flavors are common in the markets.

Highlights: Souks • Djemaa El Fna Square • Koutoubia Mosque • Majorelle Gardens • Medersa Ben Youssef

Food to try: Bestilla • Couscous • Chebakia • Mint tea •BissaraKefta tagine

Learn more: Morocco Tours & VacationsMorocco Travel Guide

6. Mumbai, India

Vada pav., street food in Mumbai

Vada Pav

The hand-painted carts decorating the streets of Mumbai foretell the flavors of the city’s enticing street food. Vegetarian delights, with their aromatic spices, tempt from the crowded markets.

Instead of searching for signs, Mumbai is a city where you follow the crowds in search of savory biryanis and sweet malpua pancakes. Whether exploring the shores of Chowpatty Beach or walking through the Fort business district, you will find delectable kebabs, fried potatoes, and fresh mango lassis.

Sampling authentic food during your India trip can open your eyes to a completely different perspective of the culture and history of the city and greater India.

Highlights: Gateway of India • Bandra-Worli Sea Link • Kanheri Caves • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum

Food to try: Akuri on toast • Baida roti • Tiffin • Vada pav • Butter chicken

Learn more: India Tours & VacationsIndia Travel Guide

7. Amman, Jordan

Falafel wrap in Jordan


Amman is the heart of the country’s street food scene when visiting Jordan, with tantalizing dishes combining Persian, Mediterranean, and North African flavors.

Restaurants open to the city's antique walkways, highlighting the history of Amman’s urban heritage, from chic neighborhoods to the ancient citadel. The Arabic pizza known as manakish sings with spices like za’atar and is drizzled with olive oil, topped with halloumi, and covered with eggs and ground meat.

The dough is baked in a brick oven, adding a distinct aroma of charcoal grills. Amman street food also consists of oval-shaped rings of bread called kaak, creamy hummus, and traditional Jordanian falafel.

Highlights: Citadel • Roman Theater • Rainbow Street • Jordan Museum • National Gallery of Fine Arts

Food to try: Falafel • MansafKunafa • Shawarma • Hummus • Warak Enab

Learn more: Jordan Tours & Vacation Packages

8. Paris, France

Sweet crepes in Paris, France


Paris is known for its culinary mastery and a gastronomic scene guaranteed to seduce visitors.

The city was slow to join the street-food revolution, but it’s helped underscore Paris’s reputation for using quality, fresh ingredients to create affordable gourmet food that’s available on street corners. Beyond the veil of haute cuisine in restaurants, you can uncover the flavors of humble Parisian dishes like roasted chestnuts or crepes.

The crepes are stuffed with gruyere, ham, and eggs or, if you prefer something sweet, Nutella and sliced banana. Food trucks and canteens have erupted in popularity and offer international flavors with a French twist.

Highlights: Eiffel Tower • Louvre Museum • Champs-Elysees • d’Orsay Museum • Arc de Triomphe • Luxembourg Garden

Food to try: Croissant • Escargots • Macarons • Onion soup • Steak tartare • Crepes

Learn more: France Tours & VacationsFrance Travel Guide

9. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazilian barbacue shop on the street of Rio de Janeiro

Skewered Meats

This famous city fuses the gastronomic traditions and flavors of Portugal, Brazil, West Africa, and Japan for an exciting and unexpected culinary combination.

The coastal ambiance of the city makes eating by the water a necessity. Enjoy empanadas, skewered meats, cheese bread, and tropical fruit juices as you enjoy the seaside air.

Vendors fry tapioca into a pancake with shredded coconut topped with ham and cheese or chocolate spread and banana, while small wagons offer popcorn cooked with bacon bits.

Highlights: Christ the Redeemer • Sugarloaf Mountain • Copacabana • Ipanema • Tijuca National Park

Food to try: FeijoadaGlobo cookie • Churrascaria Coxinha de GallinhaPao de queijo

Learn more: Brazil Tours & VacationsBrazil Travel Guide

10. Cartagena, Colombia

Grilled plantains

Grilled Plantains

The Caribbean city of Cartagena is filled with open-air street grills where you’ll find fried skewers and chorizo. In the plazas, vendors commonly serve arepas stuffed with cheese or egg.

The Spanish fortress's antique walls and the markets outside of the historic city center demonstrate the fascinating hybrid of Spanish, African, Caribbean, and indigenous South American influences. Vendors exhibit their expertise through tomato-shrimp cocktail, ceviche, and fried green plantains with garlic.

The grilled corn cakes, known as arepas, are the most common and celebrated street food in Colombia and are often served from street carts, food trucks, and kitchen windows.

Highlights: The Walled City • Plazas of Getsemani • Cathedral of Santa Catalina de Alejandria • Tunnels of Castillo San Felipe de Barajas

Food to try: MojarraMondongo soup • Pan de bonPosta negra CartageneraEmpanadas • Ceviche

Learn more: Colombia Vacations & ToursColombia Travel Guide

11. Bangkok, Thailand

Woman preparing noodles on boat in floating market, Bangkok, Thailand

Boat Noodles

Bangkok has become an unofficial foodie capital in Thailand and Southeast Asia due to diverse flavors that cross provincial and international borders.

The melting pot has resulted in exceptional culinary diversity tailored to the local ingredients and flavors that make Thai cuisine special in its own right. Local chefs have crafted gastronomic masterpieces in marketplaces and street kiosks with easy access to rural and seaside delights.

With a mixture of royal recipes that have lasted three centuries to those of immigrants from southern China and even US military veterans, Bangkok’s fascinating combination of styles and flavors results in popular dishes like pad thai, tom yum soup, and the famous boat noodles made with pork and beef broth.

Highlights: Grand Palace • Wat Pho • Wat Arun • Wat Traimit • Wat Suthat • Chatuchak Market

Food to try: Spicy green papaya salad • Fried chicken • Tom Yum GoongPad Thai • Mango with sticky rice • Tom Kha Gai

Learn more: Thailand Tours & VacationsThailand Travel Guide

12. Cologne, Germany

Currywurst in Cologne, Germany


Vibrant and diverse Cologne is a spectacular destination for street food, with flavors and tastes influenced by international culture and local heritage.

Sausages are always a staple, but immigrants from around the world have brought their specific recipes and mixed typical dishes with Cologne’s seasonal and culinary traditions for the ultimate celebration of food.

From halve Hahn to the apples and mashed potatoes that make up Himmel un Ääd, a bread roll with minced pork to potato pancakes, when visiting Cologne, you can find how chefs shine a new light on the expected to create unexpected delights.

Highlights: Cologne Cathedral • Old Town • Rathaus • Wallraf-Richartz Museum • Ludwig Museum

Food to try: Himmel un Ääd Mettbrötchen • Schnitzel • Leberwurst

Learn more: Germany Tours & VacationsGermany Travel Guide

Discover the Best Cities for Street Food During Your Trip

Vietnamese sizzled pancake stuffed with shrimp and bean sprouts

Bánh xèo

The world’s cuisine offers an authentic look at a country's culture, and you can explore culinary traditions across the globe with our Food & Wine Tours or in our Food & Wine Travel Guide.

With unique dishes and traditional recipes, sampling the street food of a new destination captures the joy of uncovering new flavors and continued customs.

Whether finding a lane full of vendors or a cart by the sea, you can embrace surprise and delight when you know the best street food to sample during your trip to one of the 101 destinations Zicasso serves.

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