The best street food in the world

Jerk chicken, Jamaica

When it comes to jerk chicken, there’s no beating the real deal fresh from a smoky jerk hut. Recipes are closely guarded secrets, but usually start with chicken on the bone slathered in a marinade of allspice, thyme, scotch bonnet chillies, ginger and spring onions. The meat is left overnight to absorb the flavours before being grilled over pimento wood.

Jerk chicken, Jamaica

Chilli crab, Singapore

The quintessential Singaporean dish, chilli crab is served in numerous hawker centres throughout this small city-state. Its invention is credited to Cher Yam Tian, who began serving the spicy crustaceans from a street cart in the 1950s. The crabs are served whole, stir fried in a sweet and sour sauce of tomato, egg and (of course) chilli.

Chilli crab, Singapore

Arepas, Colombia

These round corn cakes are a ubiquitous comida rápida in Colombia, where there are myriad regional specialities across the country. Arepas are much thicker than tortillas and will usually be grilled or baked before being stuffed or topped with cheese. Try them in Bogotá, where they’re particularly popular for breakfast.

Arepas, Colombia

Halo-halo, Philippines

A cup of multicoloured halo-halo is the perfect way to cool down on a hot and sticky Philippine summer day. Directly translated as “mix-mix”, it’s an attractive sundae like concoction of red beans, coconut, syrup and fruit, usually topped with ice cream, evaporated milk and shaved ice.

Halo-halo, Philippines

Bunny chow, South Africa

Don’t worry bunny lovers, this South African snack is rabbit free. It consists of quarter, half or whole portions of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with a variety of thick curries. As you might guess, bunny chow has its origins in India, but it is now Durban’s most famous street food, with spicy fillings ranging from chicken to mutton.

Bunny chow, South Africa

Pierogi, Poland

You’ll find versions of pierogi all over Eastern Europe, but Krakow is the only city we know of that has an entire festival dedicated to this handmade dumpling. Pierogi are made from a simple dough of flour, egg, water and salt, which is shaped into parcels and filled with meat, potatoes or cheese. They’re boiled first and then fried in butter.

Pierogi, Poland

Pulled pork, USA

BBQ is serious business in the south, where yearly cook-offs see avid cooks vying to get the best from their grills. The lone star state might be the undisputed home of slow-cooked beef, but North Carolina is the place to go for smoky-sweet pulled pork, at its best doused in a rich BBQ sauce and piled into a sandwich.

Pulled pork, USA

Banh mi, Vietnam

No list of great street food would be complete without banh mi, a legacy of French colonial rule in Vietnam. The key ingredient is a thinner and crisper Vietnamese-style baguette (made with rice and wheat flour), which is usually filled with a fresh and colourful mix of coriander, pickled carrot, daikon and meats ranging from pork belly to chicken.

Banh mi, Vietnam
 
 
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