Did You Know These 10 Street Food Delicacies Can Only Be Found Abroad?


Street food is more than just a quick snack on the go – it’s a culinary adventure that allows you to explore the flavors and culture of different countries. From sizzling jerk chicken in Jamaica to mouthwatering chili crab in Singapore, these street food delicacies are exclusive to their respective countries and offer a taste of authenticity that can’t be replicated elsewhere.

Street food is deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric of many nations, serving as a reflection of local traditions, ingredients, and cooking techniques. It brings people together, fostering a sense of community and providing a glimpse into the daily lives of locals. Whether it’s grabbing a steaming hot pierogi from a bustling food market in Poland or indulging in a creamy pastel de nata at a charming pastelaria in Portugal, street food allows you to immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of global cuisine.

In this article, we will take you on a culinary journey around the world, exploring ten exclusive street food delicacies that can only be found abroad. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with these unique and mouthwatering dishes. So pack your bags and join us on this street food adventure!

But before we dive into the delectable details, let’s take a moment to appreciate the rich history and cultural significance of street food. It’s not just about satisfying hunger; it’s about experiencing the heart and soul of a country through its flavors. So get ready to embark on an unforgettable gastronomic escapade as we unveil these ten street food treasures from around the globe.

1. Jerk Chicken from Jamaica

Jerk chicken is a quintessential dish in Jamaican cuisine, renowned for its bold flavors and cultural significance. This tantalizing dish originated with the indigenous Taino people and was further developed by African slaves who incorporated their traditional cooking techniques and spices. The name “jerk” is derived from the Spanish word “charqui,” which refers to dried meat, reflecting the historical method of preserving meat with a blend of spices.

The unique flavor of jerk chicken comes from a marinade or dry rub featuring a combination of scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, thyme, garlic, green onions, and various other spices. The meat is traditionally cooked over pimento wood on a grill or in a pit, infusing it with a smoky and aromatic essence.

Where to Find Authentic Jerk Chicken in Jamaica

When in Jamaica, seeking out authentic jerk chicken is an absolute must. There are numerous establishments and street vendors across the island that specialize in this iconic dish:

  1. Scotchies in Montego Bay
  2. Scotchies in Ocho Rios

Both locations are celebrated for their delectable jerk preparations served in laid-back outdoor settings.

For a more upscale dining experience, the Pelican Grill in Kingston offers an exquisite take on this beloved dish.

Whether you’re savoring it at a roadside shack or an upscale restaurant, the rich flavors of Jamaican jerk chicken are sure to leave an indelible impression on your culinary journey.

2. Chili Crab from Singapore

Chili crab is a beloved dish that has become synonymous with Singaporean cuisine. This delectable seafood specialty is a must-try for food lovers visiting the vibrant city-state. Here are some key points about this iconic street food:

Description and Origins

Chili crab is a tantalizing dish that features succulent crab meat cooked in a rich and spicy chili-based sauce. The sauce strikes the perfect balance between sweet, savory, and fiery flavors, making it a true delight for the taste buds. It is typically served with mantou, a type of steamed bun, which is perfect for sopping up every last drop of the delectable sauce.

The Famous Chili-based Sauce

The star of the show, the chili-based sauce used in chili crab is what sets it apart from other crab dishes around the world. The sauce is made with a blend of ingredients such as chili paste, tomato sauce, garlic, ginger, and other secret spices that vary from chef to chef. The result is a harmonious combination of flavors that elevates the natural sweetness of the crab meat.

Best Places to Enjoy Chili Crab

When in Singapore, you’ll find numerous hawker stalls and seafood restaurants specializing in chili crab. Here are three highly recommended places to satisfy your craving for this mouthwatering delicacy:

  1. Jumbo Seafood: With multiple branches across the city, Jumbo Seafood is renowned for serving up some of the best chili crabs in Singapore. Their secret recipe ensures that each bite is bursting with flavor.
  2. No Signboard Seafood: Another popular spot among locals and tourists alike, No Signboard Seafood offers a variety of crab dishes including their signature chili crab. Prepare to get messy as you crack open those juicy crabs.
  3. Long Beach Seafood: Known for its fresh seafood and extensive menu, Long Beach Seafood is a must-visit for chili crab enthusiasts. Their chili crab is a crowd favorite and is sure to leave you craving for more.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try your hand at making this iconic dish at home using this recipe. Chili crab is an iconic street food dish that showcases the exciting flavors and culinary heritage of Singapore. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in this spicy seafood extravaganza when you visit the Lion City.

3. Arepas from Colombia

Arepas are a staple in Colombian cuisine, with a rich cultural significance that goes beyond being just a popular street food item. These delicious corn cakes are versatile and can be found in various forms throughout the country, each offering a unique gastronomic experience.

Description and Cultural Significance of Arepas

Arepas are round, flatbreads made from ground maize dough or cooked flour, prominent in Colombian cuisine. They can vary in size, thickness, and added ingredients, reflecting the diverse culinary traditions across different regions of Colombia. Arepas hold a special place in Colombian culture, often served as a side dish or as a meal on their own.

Different Types of Arepas with Various Fillings

In Colombia, you can find an array of arepas with diverse fillings such as cheese, meat, beans, and sometimes even eggs. The classic “arepa de queso” is filled with melted cheese and boasts a delightful savory flavor. On the other hand, “arepa de choclo” is made from fresh corn and offers a slightly sweet taste. The variations in fillings provide a wide range of flavors to explore within Colombian street food culture.

Recommended Street Food Markets in Colombia for Trying Arepas

When visiting Colombia, be sure to explore the bustling street food markets where you’ll find an abundance of vendors specializing in arepas. In Bogotá, Mercado de Paloquemao is renowned for its diverse selection of traditional Colombian foods, including an impressive assortment of arepas. Similarly, Plaza de Mercado de Bazurto in Cartagena is another vibrant spot where you can savor authentic Colombian arepas while immersing yourself in the local food scene.

Indulging in these iconic arepas is an essential part of experiencing the true essence of Colombian cuisine and the warmth of its people.

4. Halo-Halo from the Philippines

Halo-Halo is a beloved dessert that is synonymous with Filipino cuisine. The name “halo-halo” translates to “mix-mix” in English, which perfectly captures the essence of this delightful treat. It is a refreshing concoction of various ingredients, creating a symphony of flavors and textures in every spoonful.

The highlight of halo-halo is its colorful layers of sweet preserves, jellies, and shaved ice. It typically includes ingredients such as:

These components add a burst of sweetness and chewiness to the dessert.

The star of halo-halo is the finely shaved ice that forms the base. The ice is meticulously crushed to create a fluffy texture, allowing it to absorb the flavors of the other ingredients. As you dig into this icy creation, you’ll be treated to a delightful medley of tastes and temperatures.

Best Halo-Halo Spots in the Philippines

To truly experience the best halo-halo spots in the Philippines, you must visit some iconic establishments:

  1. Razon’s: Known for its simplicity and authenticity, Razon’s offers a classic take on halo-halo with just a few key ingredients that let the flavors shine through.
  2. MilkyWay Cafe: This iconic restaurant has been serving delicious halo-halo for over six decades. Their version boasts generous servings of various sweet preserves and jellies.
  3. Kabigting’s Halo-Halo: Located in Pampanga, this humble eatery takes pride in its homemade ingredients, ensuring each bite is packed with flavor and nostalgia.
  4. Chowking: A popular fast-food chain in the Philippines, Chowking offers a fusion twist on halo-halo with additional toppings like leche flan (caramel custard) and ube (purple yam) ice cream.

No matter where you choose to indulge in halo-halo, this Filipino dessert will transport you to a tropical paradise with its vibrant colors and delightful combination of flavors. So, when you find yourself in the Philippines, don’t miss the opportunity to try this unique and refreshing dessert that truly captures the essence of Filipino street food culture.

For more information on Halo-Halo, including recipes and variations, check out this comprehensive guide.

5. Bunny Chow from South Africa

South African cuisine is a delightful blend of various cultural influences, and one dish that perfectly represents this fusion is the iconic Bunny Chow. Originating in the Indian community of Durban, bunny chow has become a beloved street food delicacy enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Here’s what you need to know about this unique South African street food:

Description and History

Bunny chow consists of a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with spicy and flavorful curry. The bread acts as both a container and an accompaniment to the rich and aromatic curry, creating a satisfying and delicious meal.

Originally, bunny chow was created as an affordable meal option for Indian laborers who worked in Durban’s sugar cane fields. Over time, it gained popularity and became an integral part of South African street food culture.

Traditional Fillings

The traditional fillings for bunny chow include chicken, mutton, or vegetable curry. The curries are often prepared with a generous amount of spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili powder, giving them a distinct flavor profile.

The bread used for bunny chow is typically a white loaf known as a “bunny,” which is soft on the inside and crusty on the outside.

Significance in South African Culinary Scene

Bunny chow holds a special place in South African culinary traditions and is considered a comfort food that brings people together. It transcends cultural boundaries and is enjoyed by people from all backgrounds.

It represents the multiculturalism of South Africa, combining Indian flavors with local ingredients and techniques.

Bunny chow can be found at various street food vendors, takeaway joints, and even some restaurants throughout South Africa. In Durban, you’ll find numerous establishments specializing in this delectable dish, such as Capsicum Restaurant, House of Curries, and Hollywood Bunny Bar. These places offer authentic bunny chow experiences, allowing you to savor the flavors and immerse yourself in the vibrant street food culture of South Africa.

So, if you find yourself in South Africa, don’t miss the opportunity to try this unique and mouthwatering street food delight. Bunny chow is a testament to the country’s diverse culinary heritage, and it’s an experience that will leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.

6. Pierogi from Poland

Pierogi, a staple of Polish cuisine, are beloved dumplings that have gained international recognition for their delicious flavors and versatility. Here are some key points to consider:

Description of Polish Dumplings

Pierogi are semi-circular pockets of dough filled with a variety of ingredients, including traditional fillings like potato and cheese, sauerkraut, and mushroom.

Popular Fillings

These delectable dumplings come with an assortment of fillings, making them suitable for both meat lovers and vegetarians. From savory options like beef or pork to vegetarian-friendly choices like cabbage and cheese, pierogi cater to a wide range of preferences.

Celebration of Pierogi

In Poland, the love for pierogi is celebrated through various festivals dedicated to this iconic dish. These events not only showcase the diversity of pierogi but also highlight the cultural significance of this beloved comfort food.

The rich history and cultural significance of pierogi make them a must-try for anyone exploring the culinary landscape of Poland.

7. Pastel de Nata from Portugal

The pastel de nata is a beloved pastry that holds a special place in Portuguese cuisine. This iconic egg tart pastry has a rich history and a delightful taste that has captivated food enthusiasts worldwide.

  • The pastel de nata boasts a lusciously creamy custard filling nestled within a flaky, buttery pastry shell. The contrast between the smooth custard and the crisp pastry creates a truly indulgent experience for anyone savoring this delectable treat.
  • Originating from the Belém district of Lisbon, pastel de nata has become synonymous with Portuguese culinary tradition. The most revered pastelarias (pastry shops) in Portugal, such as the renowned Pastéis de Belém, offer an authentic and unparalleled experience when it comes to enjoying these delicate pastries.
  • When visiting Portugal, make sure to explore the local pastelarias to savor these delightful treats at their freshest. The distinct aroma of freshly baked pastry and the first heavenly bite into the warm custard filling are experiences not to be missed.

The pastel de nata represents the epitome of Portuguese pastry craftsmanship and serves as a testament to the country’s rich culinary heritage.

8. Guotie from China

Guotie, a popular street food in China, is a type of pan-fried dumpling known for its crispy bottoms and flavorful fillings. This delectable dish is a staple in Chinese cuisine and can be found in various regions across the country.

Description of Guotie

Guotie, also known as potstickers, are dumplings that are pan-fried to perfection. The name “guotie” translates to “pot stick,” referring to the crispy and golden bottoms that stick to the pan during cooking. The dumplings are made with a thin dough wrapper that encases a savory filling.

Various Fillings

Guotie comes in a variety of fillings, offering something for everyone’s taste buds. One of the most common fillings is a mixture of ground pork and cabbage, seasoned with ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and other aromatic spices. If you want to experience the best of guotie, you can try the ones filled with authentic Chinese pork, which are highly regarded for their rich flavors and succulent texture. Other popular fillings include shrimp and chive, chicken and mushroom, and vegetarian options like tofu and vegetable medleys.

To enhance the flavor of guotie, it is often served with a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, vinegar, chili oil, or a combination of these ingredients. This tangy and savory sauce complements the crispy exterior and juicy filling of the dumplings perfectly.

Where to Find Guotie in China

When it comes to enjoying guotie in China, there are countless street food stalls and restaurants that specialize in this delectable dish. In cities like Beijing and Shanghai, you can find bustling food markets where vendors expertly cook guotie on large griddles, creating a mouthwatering aroma that draws in hungry locals and tourists alike.

Cultural Significance

Guotie is not only delicious but also holds cultural significance in Chinese cuisine. It is often enjoyed during festivals and family gatherings as a symbol of good luck and prosperity. In fact, making guotie together has become a cherished tradition for many Chinese families, as it brings loved ones together to create and savor this beloved street food delicacy.

So, if you find yourself in China, make sure to seek out a local street food stall or restaurant and indulge in the irresistible flavors of guotie. Whether you prefer the classic pork and cabbage filling or want to explore other tantalizing options, guotie is a must-try dish that will leave you craving for more.

9. Pempek from Indonesia

In the diverse world of Indonesian cuisine, pempek stands out as a beloved street food. It originated from Palembang and has won the hearts of both locals and tourists with its unique flavors and textures.

Pempek is made from a mixture of ground fish and tapioca starch, giving it a chewy yet tender texture that is truly delightful. This tasty creation is then seasoned with a combination of spices, resulting in a delicious blend of savory flavors.

Due to its irresistible taste and easy availability at street food stalls, pempek has become an essential part of Indonesian culinary culture.

What Makes Pempek Special?

Pempek offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures that make it stand out among other dishes:

  1. Chewy yet tender fishcake: The use of tapioca starch in the recipe gives pempek its unique texture – chewy on the outside but tender on the inside.
  2. A symphony of savory spices: The blend of spices used in pempek adds depth and complexity to its taste, making every bite a flavorful experience.
  3. Sweet and sour sauce: Pempek is typically served with a sweet and sour vinegar-based sauce, which provides a tangy kick that complements the richness of the fishcake.
  4. Springy noodles on the side: Many people enjoy having a side of springy noodles with their pempek, creating a delicious contrast in both flavor and texture.

How to Enjoy Pempek?

To fully appreciate the flavors of pempek, here’s how you can enjoy it like a true Indonesian:

  1. Find a trusted street food vendor or visit a local food market where pempek is freshly made.
  2. Order your preferred type of pempek – there are various shapes and sizes to choose from, such as kapal selam (literally “submarine” due to its shape) or lenjer (long and cylindrical).
  3. Have it served with the classic sweet and sour sauce, or explore other condiments like chili sauce if you prefer a spicy kick.
  4. Don’t forget to add a side of springy noodles to complete your pempek experience.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to enjoy pempek in the most authentic way possible and understand why it holds a special place in Indonesian cuisine.

So, whether you’re planning a trip to Indonesia or simply looking for new culinary adventures, make sure to include pempek in your food itinerary for a taste of this beloved Indonesian street food.

10. Tacos from Mexico

Tacos are an iconic Mexican street food that has gained popularity worldwide for its delicious flavors and endless variety of fillings. This beloved dish showcases the vibrant and diverse cuisine of Mexico, offering a mouthwatering experience that is hard to resist.

Description of iconic Mexican street food

Tacos consist of a tortilla, traditionally made from corn or flour, that is filled with a range of ingredients. From succulent grilled meats like carne asada (grilled beef) and al pastor (marinated pork), to flavorful vegetarian options like grilled vegetables and seasoned beans, there is a taco filling to suit every palate. The tortilla acts as a vessel to hold the fillings together, creating a perfect handheld meal bursting with flavor.

Best taco stands and taquerias in Mexico

To truly experience the authentic flavors of tacos, you must visit the vibrant streets of Mexico. Here are some of the best taco stands and taquerias that will take your taste buds on an unforgettable journey:

  1. El Fogon – Located in Playa del Carmen, El Fogon is renowned for its mouthwatering al pastor tacos cooked on a sizzling spit. The tender marinated pork is thinly sliced and served with pineapple, onions, and cilantro for a burst of flavor.
  2. Taqueria El Califa – In Mexico City, Taqueria El Califa is a must-visit spot for taco lovers. Their wide selection of fillings includes tender grilled steak, crispy chicharron (pork cracklings), and spicy chorizo.
  3. Tacos de Canasta Los Especiales – Found in Mexico City’s street markets, Tacos de Canasta Los Especiales specializes in “basket tacos.” These soft tortillas are filled with steamed meats such as tinga (shredded chicken in tomato sauce) or cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork).
  4. Tacos Gus – Located in Tijuana, Tacos Gus is famous for its mouthwatering fish tacos. The crispy beer-battered fish is topped with fresh cabbage, creamy sauce, and a squeeze of lime for the perfect balance of flavors.

Tacos are not just a food but a cultural experience in Mexico. Whether you prefer the traditional flavors or want to explore innovative combinations, there is a taco out there for everyone. From bustling street stands to hidden gems in local neighborhoods, the quest for the best taco is an adventure worth embarking on during your visit to Mexico. So grab a tortilla, savor the flavorful fillings, and immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Mexican cuisine.


As we wrap up our food journey, it’s clear that street food abroad offers a wide range of flavors and cultural experiences. From the spicy jerk chicken in Jamaica to the sweet custard pastries in Portugal, these unique dishes showcase the diversity of global cuisine.

But why just read about them? We encourage you to go out and explore these amazing dishes while traveling internationally. Here’s why:

  1. Cultural Immersion: Street food is more than just food; it’s a glimpse into the local culture. By trying these dishes, you’ll immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and tastes of a foreign place.
  2. Authenticity: Street food is often made by talented local vendors who have perfected their recipes over time. When you eat street food, you’re getting an authentic taste of the country’s culinary heritage.
  3. Affordability: Street food is usually cheaper than dining at fancy restaurants, but that doesn’t mean it lacks quality or flavor. You can enjoy delicious meals without spending a fortune.
  4. Socializing: Street food markets and stalls are lively spaces where both locals and travelers come together to eat. It’s a chance to meet new people and create memorable experiences.

So get ready to embark on your own street food adventure! Whether you’re savoring jerk chicken in Jamaica or feasting on chili crab in Singapore, these incredible street food finds are waiting for you.

Bon appétit!

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