Oyster Editors’ Favorite Street Eats Around the World

See recent posts by Maria Teresa Hart

Jirka Matousek/Flickr

Jirka Matousek/Flickr

When it comes to street eats, there are two types of travelers: the timid and fearful and the load-up-my-plate fearless. Our editors are in the latter camp and firmly believe in seeking out the best food on our trips, whether it's made in a sizzling roadside wok in Thailand, a deep fryer in Belize, or a food truck in Portland. If you're feeling shy or uncertain about where or what to eat, follow our recommendations below. You're sure to be waiting in line with several other hungry, in-the-know foodies.

Pav Bhaji in Mumbai


“In my humble opinion, street food in India is hands-down the best in the world. It’s a way of life here, with locals from all walks of life crowded around street-food stalls, chatting and chewing. In Mumbai, in particular, beaches like Chowpatty and Juhu are prime spots to go for the tastiest street eats, like vada pav (a deep-fried potato mixture that’s stuffed into a bun and served with spicy chutney), bhel puri (a puffed rice dish that’s tossed with an assortment of veggies and tamarind chutney), and of course, the king of all Indian street food snacks, samosas. But my go-to is pav bhaji, a savory dish that can be devoured any time of day — lunch, dinner, late-night munchies, you name it. The bhaji is a tasty blend of potatoes, peas, tomatoes, onions, and aromatic spices. This is served alongside pav, bread that’s heated on a pan and smothered in butter. The whole thing is mesmerizingly mashed and mixed together over a large skillet, but housing it all down brings even more pleasure. Squeeze some lemon on top and go for the dip-and-scoop method.” — Alisha Prakash, Editor

Dumplings in Mauritius


“The best eating you can do in Mauritius is at a street stand selling traditional meals (chicken biryani, lamb and lentil stew) and snacks (lentil cakes, fried bread bites studded with chilis). You can find snack shacks along backcountry roads; on the beaches; and in every village, big or small. Visiting “marchand boulettes” (dumpling vendors) is essential. These sellers man a large pot by the side of the road, where you can peer in and point out the varieties — chayote, fish, pork, chicken — you’d like to try that day. Devouring dumplings, roti, and fried noodles is just part of the thrill — in the village centers especially, the street scenes are wild with motorbikes, buses, cars, pedestrians, and stray dogs all navigating the thin sidewalks and twisty, shoulder-less roads.” — Anne Olivia Bauso, Associate Editor

Hot Dogs in Denmark and Iceland


“I love hot dogs. Like, really, love them. While they’re typically thought of as an American food, the hot dog actually has its roots in the old-school sausages of Germany and Austria. But in contemporary Europe, Denmark and Iceland have my vote for best street hot dogs. In Copenhagen, I was initially thrilled about the ubiquitous Steff pølsevogns (hot dog wagons) because my name is plastered all over them — correctly spelled with an F. But I became even more excited when I realized they sold hot dogs. And if you’re one of the thousands of tourists that have visited Iceland in recent years, you’re likely well aware of the popularity of hot dogs in the small island nation. In both destinations, I love the range of sauces and toppings you can smother your hot dog with, plus the different types of bread you can use as a bun.” — Stefanie Waldek, Editor

Tlacoyos in Mexico City


“Being a vegetarian can make street food a challenge, and it’s often a matter of ‘don’t-ask-don’t-tell’ when it comes to traveling in some parts of the world. Thailand, in particular, loves to sneak fish or oyster sauce into everything. So while I can’t vouch for the full vegetarian credentials of all of the street food I’ve ingested, I can say that when I went to Mexico City earlier this year, I discovered tlacoyos and my life was changed. These most commonly consist of a blue corn masa that’s molded into a pancake-like shape by hand, then filled with a thin layer of refried beans and sealed. This is then fried on a streetside griddle, doused with salsa verde or rojo, and topped with queso fresco. Alternatives that include chicharron and chicken are also available. It’s an incredibly simple dish, but two or three make a filling and cheap lunch, so post up on one of the tiny plastic stools next to any of these stands and enjoy.” — Kyle Valenta, Editor

Carnitas Burrito in Portland


“My favorite street food is an enormous (seriously big enough for two people) carnitas burrito from the El Brasero taco truck in Portland, Oregon on SE 12th Street and Hawthorne. The city isn’t super well known for Mexican food, so I was pleasantly surprised to find authentic braised pork, cactus, and spicy green salsa with fresh peppers. Plus, El Brasero is open late so it’s an ideal post-party choice.” — Megan Wood, Editor

Fry Jack in Belize


“While in laid-back Caye Caulker, Belize this February, one of the tastiest things I ate was a fry jack. It’s a deep-fried dough that’s stuffed with various filings — eggs, beans, ham, chicken and/or cheese, for instance — and typically eaten for breakfast. The most popular are served at Errolyn’s House of Fry Jacks and range from $1.50 to $5 for the works. Given that most food on the island is on the pricier side, this is an excellent deal. Though not the healthiest way to start the day, a fry jack with eggs, beans, and cheese that’s liberally topped with Marie Sharp’s hot sauce is undeniably delicious. Be sure to pair it with fresh watermelon juice from a stand next door.” — Lara Grant, Associate Editor

Everything in Bangkok's Chinatown


“I was lucky enough to try some of the world’s most famous street food, in Bangkok‘s Chinatown. I was a little hesitant at first, having heard horror stories about street food and stomach bugs, but the food on Yaowarat Road — Chinatown’s main artery — was too tempting to resist. After careful consideration, I settled on some sort of pork noodle soup dish, which tasted exactly as delicious as it smelled. But there’s no reason to just settle for one meal when the prices are so cheap — come hungry and sample things from several stalls!” — Kelsey Blodget, Senior Executive Editor

Tacos al Pastor in Mexico City


“I didn’t love the restaurants in Mexico City, but street vendor tacos were pretty fantastic. Tacos al pastor, which is pulled-pork roasted on a vertical spit, and fish tacos were my faves. If there’s a long line, chances are it’s worth the wait.”  — Rachel Klein, Editor

Thai Iced Cream in Chiang Mai


“The phrase ‘street eats’ brings to mind something salty, fatty, and (hopefully) topped with cheese. But thanks to my raging sweet tooth, my all-time favorite roadside snacks have always been on the sugary side. The light-as-tissue crepes I ate in Brittany, France come to mind, but in terms of presentation, nothing beats the Thai rolled ice cream I had in Chiang Mai. It was in the middle of their famed night market, surrounded by seafood vendors and open-air karaoke sessions, that I found a little booth carving out these spiraled sundaes. After pointing to a flavor/topping combo, the ice cream slinger went to work on a chilled surface making my little masterpiece: several rosettes of ice cream with toppings mixed in, capped off with a grotesque amount of whipped cream.” — Maria Teresa Hart, Senior Editor

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