With traffic jams of trendy food trucks piling up in American cities, it’s easy to overlook the rich global history of street food. Dating back to the food hawkers of ancient Rome (with some centuries-old outdoor markets,like the Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech, still standing today), street food has long played an exciting role in cuisines throughout the world.
1. Chicago, Illinois
2. Istanbul, Turkey
3. Mexico City, Mexico
There’s no denying the appeal of a good taco, but the Mexican capital has plenty of other great antojitos (street snacks), such as roasted elotes (corn on the cob), fried corn masa huaraches and cornmeal cakes known as tlacoyos. Food stalls can be found throughout the city, or centrally located in the bustling markets of Mercado San Juan, in the Cuauhtémoc borough, and La Merced, in the La Merced neighborhood.
4. Marrakech, Morocco
Filled with tapestries, hookahs and ceramic tagines, the centuries-old markets of Marrakech have long been the global destination for chefs seeking specialtyspices, grains and flavorful meats. The main square, Djemaa el Fna, is packed with food stalls selling ladles of escargots, skewers of seasoned meats and harira (lentil and chickpea soup), plus bulk bags of dried fruits and nuts.
5. New York City, New York
The thousands of hot dog, pretzel and kebab stands in New York City have always been a local tradition. But the recent wave of fancy food trucks, from Wafels & Dinges to Schnitzel & Things, has solidified street food as a tourist attraction. There are now tours like the New York Street Food Walking Tour, countless websites, Twitter feeds and apps to help you track down vendors.
6. Austin, Texas
While South by Southwest put Austin on the map for its indie music scene, the city is gaining just as much recognition for its street food. Innovations include Lucky J’s fried-chicken-and-waffle tacos (wrapped in a waffle shell) and kimchi fries from Korean-Mexican fusion truck Chi’Lantro. As is the custom, vendors broadcast their whereabouts on Twitter.
7. Bangkok, Thailand
The ultimate tourist destination for any street-food obsessive, Bangkok boasts thriving markets throughout the city, with some of the most robustly flavored street snacks coming from neon-lit Yaowarat Road in the city’s Chinatown. Here, makeshift stands offer pork skewered on sugar canes; fragrant fish curries; sweet bananas deep-fried in rice-flour batter; and durian, the notoriously stinky fruit.
By Carly Fisher, Food & Wine