Lonely Planet Writer

Street food: the best and the worst

tacotruckThere's rarely any middle ground with street food: you love it or you hate it; it's sublime or it's something you quickly regret. For some travellers, street food is the ultimate in authentic local cuisine and is often a particularly vibrant part of a region's food culture; others worry that they might ingest a particularly vibrant food culture (of bacteria, that is) and avoid street food all together.

Not all cities are known for their street food scene. A poster on the Thorn Tree travel forum gave this review of London's street food in a recent discussion: "Nasty greasy dog food burgers and hotdogs served from unhealthy diseased rotten filthy roach coach ex-airline trolleys...served by psychopathic toxic lowlife convicts on day release." While this is perhaps a bit harsh, and there are some notable exceptions (e.g., the popular outdoor lunch destination Whitecross Street Market), London is one city that doesn't have much of a street food scene to speak of.

khanom_krokIf you go to other parts of the world, however, the street food terrain changes: currywurst in Berlin (so popular that it recently got its own museum), anything from grilled bananas to bugs on a stick in Bangkok, sizzling carne asada from the taco trucks of Los Angeles (or the trendy Korean taco trucks as an alternative), crêpes and poisson cru from the roulottes on the waterfront in Pape'ete, or the sport-like obsession with finding the best of the best at hawker centres in Singapore.

What is the street food like where you're from, and what is your pick for the best street food in the world?

[Photos: Korean taco truck, by Julian Bleecker; Khanom krok, by Thai Food Blog]