The key to understanding a region’s culture is their traditional cuisine hence food being a vital part of traveling. Who am I kidding? Good food can do wonders for your mood! I believe that the best way to taste cultural food is to take to the street food. Just be wary that the food is being prepared in a clean way. Street food will is also quite cheap compared to big restaurants.

As a proud foodie

I normally stick to traditional places when traveling so I avoid expensive restaurants and chain restaurants. The older shops create the perfect atmosphere for me and I save so much money from this. Another habit of mine is to compare cheap flights to get the absolute best price when traveling.

Thailand Street Food

Dish: Tom Yam

Street Food | Best iconic local dishes to try around the world-Thailand

Often translated as Thai sour soup, it is so much more than that. The Lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf and lime juice give it its iconic tang. Often served with shrimps and ramen noodles with lots of coconut milk and cream added, this is quite popular in Bangkok. All the ingredients make it very flavorful and the best part? It’s super cheap to buy!

South Africa

Dish: Bunny Chow

Street Food | Best iconic local dishes to try around the world-South Africa

Often called simply “bunny” by the locals, this street food originated from the Indian community living in the city of Durban. I guess this one is quite simple as a loaf of bread is hollowed out and then filled with curry. The curry itself can be of either meat, like mutton, lamb or chicken, or beans for people who prefer vegetarian food. Traditionally, you eat this dish by hand and it is usually served with a simple salad of grated carrots, onion, and chili.

France

Dish: Crepe

Street Food | Best iconic local dishes to try around the world-French

France is the home of many delicious dishes but I think the most iconic one has to be crepes. They can be prepared as a dessert or as a snack. This thin, pancake-like pastry has a quite a following in many other countries. The sweet version of it are usually either stuffed or topped with Nutella, fresh fruit, custards, and whipped cream and dusted with powdered sugar. The more savory ones can be stuffed with cheese, eggs, mushroom, and meat of your choice. The possibilities of all the fillings make this a fun food to try multiple times.

England

Dish: Fish and chips

Street Food | Best iconic local dishes to try around the world-England

This is the most British food today although it’s originated from somewhere else in Europe. The trend of serving battered fish and chips started in the mid-1800s. Back then it used to be served in an old newspaper but these days it has been replaced by greaseproof paper. Usually, it is sprinkled with salt or vinegar and served with a side of either curry sauce, gravy, ketchup or tartar sauce.

Canada

Dish: Poutine

Street Food | Best iconic local dishes to try around the world-Canada

This French-inspired food is basically French fries topped with brown gravy and cheese curds. I know it may sound gross but trust me it tastes absolutely delicious. While this is essentially a street food, it is so popular that it can be found in the menus of popular chain restaurants. There are also several variations of poutine, some even topped with your choice of meat. It is such a love dish in Canada that it’s even available in expensive restaurants albeit with more luxurious toppings such as caviar.

Japan

Dish: Takoyaki

Street Food | Best iconic local dishes to try around the world-Japan

Japan is home to many popular and flavorful foods, especially sushi, but I want to talk about takoyaki. These battered fritters with octopus stuffing are a very popular street food in Japan. The batter is wheat based, and the stuffing usually consists of diced or minced octopus, tempura scraps, green onion, and pickled ginger. Then these delicious treats are brushed with mayonnaise and local takoyaki sauce, then sprinkled with dried fish, mostly bonito as well as some seaweed. It is said this dish was invented in Osaka so it’s best to try takoyaki there for a very authentic flavor.

Pakistan

Dish: Chapli Kebab

Street Food | Best iconic local dishes to try around the world-Pakistan

Pakistan is home to many spicy and hearty dishes but this one is quite iconic there. This is a round, flat kebab usually made of mutton or beef. Lots of flavorful ingredients are mixed with the minced meat to make it really aromatic and delicious. Common ingredients include eggs, onions, tomatoes, ginger, coriander, green chilies with several spices like garam masala. Once they are mixed well, they are shaped and then either fried or deep fried. This is also quite popular in India and eastern Afghanistan and is traditionally served with naan bread, with salad, chutney, and yogurt on the side.

Vietnam

Dish: Banh Mi

Street Food | Best iconic local dishes to try around the world-Vietnam

This is a result of the introduction of baguette in the French inhabited Vietnam back in the 19th century. The bread became a must by the 20th century and so banh mi came into existence. The sandwich is made from the Vietnamese version of the baguette, which is airier with a thin crust and consists of one or more types of meat. Usually, you can choose which meat would you like. Vegetables are also added then such as cucumber, white radishes, pickled carrots, and cilantro. Different sauces are also added like chili sauce and such. Today this flavorful sandwich is quite popular around the world as well.

Middle East

Dish: Shawarma

Street Food | Best iconic local dishes to try around the world-Middle East

The most common street food and the steeple food in small shops. This inexpensive meat dish is found all over the Middle East and is one of the most common foods there. Chicken, lamb or beef, stacked with some fats is placed on a vertical spit and is grilled for hours. Once it’s ready, the vendors kind of shave off the meat with a long knife and use the thin slices of it to make a delicious wrap, mostly in pita bread, or make a platter of it by serving each component separately. Shawarma is usually toppled with traditional toppings like hummus, tahini, or amba. Vegetable such as cucumber or tomato is served on the side. Sometimes an Arabic salad like tabbouleh, or fattoush is also served on the side.

Denmark

Dish: Smorrebrod

Street Food | Best iconic local dishes to try around the world-Denmark

Essentially, it’s an open sandwich but Danish chefs make them into a work of art with all the colorful toppings. This appealing dish dates back to the 19th century. The bread used is buttered rye bread that is dark brown in color, and then it is topped with a number of items including, cold cuts, vegetables, smoked meat and pretty much anything else you’re craving at the moment. It’s a very popular lunch item. I tried some of the best one in Copenhagen so I can assure you there are no dull sandwiches. The possibilities of toppings makes every sandwich very unique. No Danish cuisine is complete unless you try Smorrebrod at least once.