One of the items on my bucket list is to travel to as parts of the world as I can and try at least one street food item that is central or unique to that region. The following street foods are just a handful of items that I would like to check off of my list, so if you live somewhere that I happen not to mention below, please feel free to leave a comment down below with some suggestions on what I should try!
A whole ear of corn, either on or off its plant, is referred to as “elote” in Central America and Mexico. Elote can be served either salty or sweet, often being boiled in water with salt and various other spices. One of the more popular ways to enjoy elote is to add butter and/or mayonnaise, cheese, and sometimes chile powder and lemon or lime juice.
Empanada (South America)
Empanadas can be served as a main dish or dessert. Main dish empanadas can be filled with chicken, beef, or even fish. They can be spiced and also stuffed with onions, peppers, or beans as well. Dessert empanadas can be stuffed with a fruit or chocolate filling. Empanadas can be baked or fried, with a mark on the dough to help distinguish between dessert and main dish empanadas.
Funnel Cake (United States)
This is the only item on this list that I have tried myself, but I loved it so much that it had to be included here. Funnel cakes get their name from the funnel that the batter is poured through. Pouring the batter through a funnel gives it that unique shape and texture. Funnel cakes can be enjoyed plain how they are, but it is common to top them with powdered sugar and/or fresh fruit. I find that a combination of cinnamon and powdered sugar, a small amount of whipped cream, and a handful of strawberries make for the perfect toppings to a funnel cake, but the possibilities are endless!
Originating in Greece and slowly traversing to the United States, gyros have become an iconic street food here in the United States and Greece as well. The meat for gyros, primarily being beef, chicken, or lamb, is hand-prepared and vertically grilled. Tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce accompany the meat, with this combination being wrapped up in any sort of pita or flatbread. This is a food that I have seen on the menu at several fast-food places, but I personally would prefer to try my first gyro in Greece.
Jerk Chicken (Jamaica)
I love chicken, so this is one that I am especially excited to try. Jerk chicken can either be flavored by dry rubbing the meat or wet marinating it. The chicken is spiced using Jamaican jerk spice, which is a particularly hot spice combining allspice and hot peppers known as Scotch bonnet chili peppers. The smoky flavor that can be found in jerk chicken comes mainly from a variety of cooking methods, with the primary method being to use a more modern wood burning oven.
Meat Pie (Australia/New Zealand)
Meat pies in Australia and New Zealand are quite iconic, often being considered as the national food of both areas. These pies are normally hand-sized snacks which contain any sort of meat, usually diced, and gravy. To add a little more complexity to these handheld pies, some places might mix in mushrooms, onions, and cheese as well. Meat pies in Australia and New Zealand are sold in supermarkets already frozen and ready to heat, or by individual and street vendors who make them on the spot.