For an exotic blend of sights, sounds and smells, why not visit some local street-food sellers the next time you’re abroad? Here we reveal five of our favourite street food bites and where in the world you’ll find them.
Whether it’s Noma in Copenhagen or Eleven Madison Park in New York, world-famous restaurants sit at the top of many a foodie’s travel bucket list. But for a true taste of your holiday destination, you can’t beat a trip to its local markets and street-food stalls.
They might not appear on the traditional tourist trail, but street food hotspots are becoming an increasingly popular part of travel itineraries. As well as showcasing the finest local dishes and ingredients, they provide an authentic snapshot of everyday life in your destination. Just remember to have some local cash at the ready.
OUR TOP FIVE STREET FOODS
1. Sausage and rice cake skewers (Seoul, South Korea)
Known locally as ‘Tteok-kkochi’, this is one of South Korea’s most famous street foods. Rice cake-based recipes – both sweet and savoury – used to be the preserve of Korea's royal family, but nowadays everyone from shoppers to partygoers enjoys stopping for these moreish street treats.
In this particular recipe, skewers of sticky rice cakes and smoked sausages come drenched in a rich, spicy sauce. For an indulgent finish, try washing the dish down with a shot of soju, which is similar to sake but deceptively stronger.
2. Norwegian waffles (Oslo, Norway)
Have you always thought the ultimate waffle destination is Belgium? Think again. Oslo’s offering is made with so much love that it often comes in the shape of a heart. Thinner and softer than Belgian waffles, Norway’s tastiest street snack has a similar recipe (flour, water, eggs and sugar) but a unique and irresistible smell.
You could tuck into a savoury serving with ham and cheese, but those with a sweet tooth can’t miss the sour cream and jam version – served at any time of day in all sorts of places, even on ferry rides through fjords.
3. Churrasquinho (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
As the clock ticks past midnight and infectious samba rhythms pulse through the hot night air, Rio locals and tourists take a break from singing and dancing to snack on skewers of barbecued meat (chicken, beef, sausages), which are best dipped in a toasted salty flour called farofa.
You might hear the local vendors referred to as “cat grillers” (churrascaria de gato) because of an urban legend that says they used to cook cat meat. Put this to the back of your mind by washing down the snack with a caipirinha, made from lime, sugar and rum.
4. Bunny chow (Durban, South Africa)
‘Bunny’ was born on the streets of Durban’s Indian community in the 1940s and was originally a vegetarian dish, although nowadays it can be cooked with anything you fancy.
A hollowed chunk of bread (quarter, half or full loaf) is filled with hot curry and topped with a chili sauce called sambal – and should only be eaten with your fingers. In honour of the dish, hundreds of Durbanites gather for the prestigious Bunny Chow Barometer every year, which sees local eateries competing for the title of top bunny chow maker.
5. Cag kebab (Istanbul, Turkey)
Turkey is famous for its wide variety of street foods, but no visit to Istanbul is complete without a kebab. Considered Turkey’s original kebab recipe, the Cag comes from the Anatolian province of Erzurum and is an unmissable treat for meat lovers.
Ansel Mullins writes in The Guardian: “Unlike with döner, where the meat often ends up lying in a puddle of grease, the cağ man carefully selects each morsel with a knife and a thin skewer. When he's done, he'll present you the skewer, threaded with a collection of tender yet crispy bites.”
Travel money that’s never knowingly undersold
It’s always handy to have some local cash with you when visiting Christmas markets. For foreign currency at great rates, pop to one of the Bureaux de change in our John Lewis & Partners shops around the UK or order online using our converter below.
John Lewis Finance and Bureau de change from John Lewis Finance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Registered in England (Registered Company Number 233462). John Lewis plc introduce the panel of carefully chosen providers in Bureau de change products and services, whom each hold the appropriate licences with the Financial conduct authority and HMRC.
Foreign Currency online from John Lewis Finance is provided by First Rate Exchange Services Limited registration number 4287490 (Money Service Business licence number MLR-64068), whose registered office is at Great West House, Great West Road, Brentford, West London, TW8 9DF England.