Getting a taste of the true food culture of a city often means standing on a street corner getting served food from a truck, or maybe even a boat! F&W's Gourmet Traveller, Nadia El Ferdaoussi lists the places around the world to go for top-notch street food. 

More than ever, a city’s food scene can be the major deciding factor when it comes to choosing the destination for your next break. Restaurants and cafés aren’t the only draw though, street food tends to be the holiday memory that sticks in your mind the most and the one you tell your friends and family about when you get home.

People can be wary of street food hygiene standards, but choose busy stalls with a high turnover of customers, eat when the locals are eating and you can even bring your own reusable cutlery or chopsticks as a safe and eco-friendly option.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Formerly Saigon, HCMC is arguably one of the best cities in the world for street food. Favourites like bánh mi and phở may have made it into the restaurant scene at home, but try gỏi cuốn, fresh spring rolls, bò lá lốt, beef wrapped in wild betel leaf and bánh tét, banana and sticky rice rolled in a banana leaf, if you want something sweet.

Expect fresh flavours of ginger, lime, chili and basil in Vietnamese cooking with lots of very cheap, healthy options lining the streets and alleyways of the city. Go it alone or you could book a food tour. 

Fly to Ho Chi Minh City from Dublin via Dubai with Emirates daily.

Mexico City

You’ll find vibrant street food scenes all over Mexico, but head to the capital for a contemporary take on the classics. Tacos al Pastor can be found all around the country, but they originated in Mexico City and make the perfect snack. Tiny corn tortillas with shaved slow-roasted pork and the simple toppings of chopped white onion and coriander.

You’ll also find no shortage of tamales and tortas, churros and fresh juice stands. Be warned – salsas can be fiery, so start with a little and add more as you need it.

Fly to Mexico City from Dublin via Toronto with Air Canada, or from other Irish airports connecting via London.

Marrakech, Morocco

The Medina in Marrakech is where you’ll find all the market stalls with famous Moroccan oranges, honey and pistachio covered pastries, pyramids of olives, piles of colourful spices and jars of preserved lemons. Stock up on goodies to take home, but while you’re there make sure to eat at the night food market at Jamaa el-Fna, the main square.

Make your selection from seafood skewers to spicy sausages and tagines, over-order on the couscous and pull up a stool. Don’t forget to try the pastilla, sugar and cinnamon dusted pasty or pie traditionally filled with pigeon meat but can also be made with chicken. 

Fly to Marrakech direct from Dublin with Ryanair.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s street food scene is world-famous for good reason, this urban foodie paradise ticks all the boxes; cheap and tasty snacks, food markets and dai pai dongs, open-air cooked food stalls.

lots of stuff on sticks, like curry fish balls, fried pig intestines, siu mai, steamed dumplings, or stinky tofu, deep-fried fermented tofu. Less adventurous eaters might enjoy popular eggettes, egg waffles, a little better. You can also download the Hong Kong Food Truck app, to see where some of the best food trucks will be during your visit.

Fly to Hong Kong direct from Dublin with Cathay Pacific.

Author: Nadia El Ferdaoussi

Dublin native, Nadia is a freelance travel writer whose plan is to wander the globe until the novelty wears off (if that ever happens). Despite travelling to exotic locations the world over, her favourite country is Ireland, “when the sun shines, there’s no better place.” Her dream job would be mystery shopping in hotels, since she has a keen eye for detail and already spends most of her time living out of a suitcase. Nadia has a new found passion for wine and is quickly moving up through the ranks in terms of wine education. Her bucket list destination? Antarctica. 
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