Sampling the local street food when traveling can be a tasty (and memorable) experience. What's not to love? It's almost always yummy, portable and cheap. When times are tough, something picked up from a street vendor can fill in for an entire meal. At other times, it can just keep you happy between meals.
As I've traveled around Europe during the past 10 years writing about budget travel, I've bit into, licked and burned my tongue on a delicious range of snacks purchased from outdoor vendors. So, which city offers the tastiest treats on the streets? Read on...
I thought I was ordering a freshly fried sugar donut when I pointed to my first pirozhki last year in St. Petersburg. Imagine my surprise, then, to find a savory meat treat tucked within that pastry pocket! Mine was filled with minced meat, but they can also be filled with chicken, potatoes, mushrooms or sweeter fare, such as cherries.
A krokette is the rather magical combination of mashed potatoes, meat, spices, breadcrumbs and a deep fryer. Although they’re popular enough to appear on McDonald's menus in the Netherlands, the kroketten at <a href="http://www.febodelekkerste.nl" target="_hplink">Febo</a>, Amsterdam's automat-style fast-food chain, get my vote.
This sausage boasts one special sauce! The roasted pork sausage is cut into bite-sized wheels and covered in a bright-red currywurst sauce, a tangy mix of ketchup and curry powder. (Wash it down with a beer.) My favorite wurst in Berlin can be found at Prenzlauer Berg’s <a href="http://konnopke-imbiss.de/" target="_hplink">Konnopke’s Imbiss </a>(Schönhauser Allee 44a, next to the Eberswalder Strasse U-bahn station).
Belgium's fry power is no secret. Fry chefs start with local Bintje potatoes, cook them twice and then scoop them up in paper cones. In Bruges' Markt Square, two fry shacks compete side by side for your fry-dollar. Don’t miss the variety of dipping sauces (including a delicious garlic mayonnaise).
Okay, you probably can’t make a meal out of gelato, but I couldn’t leave it off a list of delicious outdoor treats. Walking the medieval streets of Florence with a fruity cone is one molto buono experience. Tip: For the real deal, stick to gelaterias, and avoid buying gelato at snack bars and pizza stands. Also, look for signs that say “produzione propria,” meaning “made on premises.”
With daily outdoor markets, world-class bakeries and budget baguette sandwiches—where do you start with cheap eats in Paris? For real street food, I don’t think anything beats the crêpe. Crêpes are large, thin pancakes filled with savory or sweet fixin’s, folded up, and enjoyed. Crêpe stands can be found in most neighborhoods, especially those most popular with tourists, such as the Latin Quarter and Montmartre.
Unlike American-style pizza baked in a circular tray, Rome's pizza al taglio (“pizza by the slice”) takes a rectangular form. The pizza can be topped with any number of fresh ingredients, including diced tomatoes, basil, prosciutto and eggplant. Just tell them how large a piece you’d like cut off, as you pay by weight. Rome is filled with these pizza shops—look for where the locals line up.
Even a city as expensive as Stockholm has a cheap street food—the delicious knäckis, a sandwich of fried herring, topped with cucumbers and red onions, and served on hard bread. Try the knackis at Nystekt Strömming, a small stand located outside the Slussen metro station. Relax, take a seat and enjoy the waterside view.
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