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Street food longings

Last night I couldn't sleep thinking about various street foods around the world that are not readily available in this gastro-paradise, New York.

Do you have a street food you long for from your homeland or your travels?

Here are some of mine:

1) In Korea there are numerous street vendors who set up shop on the streets, with just a picnic table and a tarp for protection. My favorite thing to get is duk-bok-kee, a dense, sticky, chewy rice cake (comes in thick and thin - I lean towards the thick) in a red-hot sauce . They also serve a brothy fish cake soup, with the fish cake on small skewers. What a combo!

As I recall, these street vendors are around all year. In the summer, you eat the spicy rice cakes sweating from the heat of the sun and the food. In the winter, the warming sensation of the foods contrast so nicely with the chilly air.

2) Bratwurst in Germany. Most meat stores have small openings out into the street. They'll grill a bratwurst, place it on a crusty white roll, and you gobble it up on the street with some good mustard. Some places also serve currywursts - wursts chopped into thick slices, sprinkled with curry powder and ketchup. Something about eating these on the street made them taste so much superior.

3) Warm goffre. A sticky belgian walffle I had off a cart in Paris one cold winter day. I was a poor student and this was the treat of my life!

4) Hot dog stands in Vancouver. They were made with 100% beef or vegetarian, and came with a great variety of condiments.

5) Gelato gelato gelato! Italy and Germany's got them everywhere. Why don't we???

I would love to hear about other street foods you love - perhaps it'll help me plan out my future travels.

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  1. ohhhhhh I was just thinking about all the great korean street foods when I saw the title of your thread..then I read what you put down on number 1

    I too love spicey ddeok bok gee and odeng with the awesome broth that you drink in the small paper cups. I also love that the ddeok bok gee is way better then anything you can get at home or at a restaurant, because the deeok bok gee broth has been simmering all day and you can also continually add the broth from the odeng which has also been simmering all day. oh my god - heaven

    I also love the following from korea:

    1) soondae (korean blood sausage) freshly steamed and cut and served with offal on a plastic bag covered plate, eaten with tooth picks. I never know the offal I'm eating, but it all tastes good especailly the steamed liver.

    2) dried squid or some other kind of dried seafood product that is circular and flat in shape (I have no idea what its called or what its made of).

    3) ho deok - which is a flat pancaked gridled and smashed down on a grill like at a diner. Its sweet and usually stuffed with brown sugar, honey, nuts or pine nuts.

    4) dont' know the name, but its fish shaped pancakes stuffed with sweet red bean filling. This is a popular snack food during the winter months.

    5) roasted korean sweet potatos sold by old korean men in the cold winter months

    6) rotisserie chicken from the back of someone's truck that has been roasted to perfection and served with those yummy pickled radishes that also accompany korean fried chicken. However the first and only time i had this rotisserie chicken I had the worst case of food poisoning - however I would eat it again (:

    7) oi jeong o twi gim - deep fried squid with batter. Its kind of like squid tempura. The last time I was in korea a father and daughter team were making this in the parking lot of my aunt's apartment complex and I just had to try it. They deep fry to order and pack it in newspaper surrounded by a plastic bag. I like it dipped in soy sauce flecked with gochugaru.

    7) seafood pancakes or kimchi pancakes served warm

    thats all I can think of now, but all of these go with yogurt from the yogurt lady dressed in yellow

    11 Replies
    1. re: bitsubeats

      I think #4 is boong-uh-bbahng? I think it means "goldfish bread" when it's translated from Korean. I've burned my tongue a countless number of times because I couldn't wait for the red bean filling to cool before taking a big chomp out of it. (I used to go to a Korean supermarket in Los Angeles that made these fresh everyday, so it's not impossible to find in the states)

      Korea has amazing street food. the blood sausage is great - warm, with a barely chewy exterior and a soft, almost moist interior - so good. Walking down any well-populated street in Seoul is a feast for the senses - there's so many delicious and simple (and often, very portable) treats everywhere!

      bitsubeats pretty much covered it all. my most recent discovery was last summer in Korea - caramelized sweet potatoes in bite-sized squares, served in a paper cone. yum! I think it's called go-goo-mah-tahng? (not sure)

      1. re: bijoux16

        Right! boong-uh-bbahng. My mom calls the pool-bbahng - probably a provincial thing.

        1. re: bijoux16

          bitsubeats did cover most of it, from what i remember. but sometimes, when you were just a little tired of ddukbokki (sounds impossible, i know) i used to love getting simple bags of roasted chestnuts, whole roasted sweet potato, or steamed corn on the cob. and in the summer, you can get whole slabs of melon or pineapple, and let's not forget about pat bing su, sweet red beans over shaved ice.

          i could never work up the courage to eat the bbondegi, or larvae. the smell....god no...

          a friend that just visited seoul told me that the roadside drinking tents, the pojangmacha, are disappearing from the city, which makes me sad if that's true. i have great memories of drinking soju in those orange tents, eating the sauteed chicken gizzards, or odol-bbyo, the spicy pork riddled with cartilage, or...oh i forgot the name of it..the snails in spicy kochujang sauce. my mom would always get upset when i told her what i ate while out drinking with friends the night before, but that is some damn good food.

          1. re: augustiner

            the snails are gol bang gi. well they are sea snails, I don't know if the ones you are talking about are land snails.

            I hate korean corn!! Its steamed and is incredibly starchy and sticks to your teeth when you eat the kernels. I also love how koreans eat corn. They pick off each kernel with their fingers instead of gnawing off the ears like westerners do.

            my mother will pay top dollar for korean corn in the states. I think its the corn that farmers give to their livestock :/

            1. re: bitsubeats

              I love Korean corn! And I love to eat it kernel by kernel, too, even though I've never been to Korea. In Taiwan there's the salted steamed corn as well as the various grilled corn with soy sauce, hot sauce, and from some vendors, special secret spices they add. They also have different techniques in grilling corn: some have special procedures where the corn is rolled over hot stones until the skin is charred and flaking off, then the secret sauce is applied, and then finally sesame seeds sprinkled over all...

              "...my mother will pay top dollar for korean corn in the states. I think its the corn that farmers give to their livestock...
              Ever since I've been in the States, I've also been looking for the special corn that isn't readily available here. Way back when someone had suggested that its' the corn that farmers give to their livestock, but it turned out, much later, that there's actually a different type of corn. The first time I had the Vietnamese white glutinous corn I was SO happy..as it was much closer to the ones I've had in Taiwan! I just didn't know how to grill it, but steamed or boiled was already very good.

              Then there was one encounter with the Peruvian giant corn (also white) that were similar to the ones in Pozoles, except this wasn't dried, but maybe frozen. It was not as sticky as the Vietnamese.

              Then finally I stumbled onto the Korean corn..yellow and appearing to be similar to the American corn, but stickier when warm, and hard when it turned old, but still more flavorful to me than the American corn....I wish I had known of all these cross cultural possibilities from the very start!

        2. re: bitsubeats

          Number 4, I believe, comes from Japan, and is known as Taiyaki. Every time I'm in Tokyo, I make a special trip to the Sugamo section, to get some Taiyaki at a stand that is easy to find due to the long lines. For those living in the NY/Metro area, the Ft. Lee New Jersey Mitsuwa market has a Taiyaki stand, as does the Flushing/Union Street Han-A-Reum market.

          I too pine away for the street food in Korea. Last year, I had my fill of sweet potatoes, silk worms, and thick red bean pancakes that I have dubbed, "machisoyo burgers". In Seoul, although I didn't try them, I noted that a number of vendors sold hot dogs and corn dogs on a stick, some of them actually covered in layers of french fries spread every which way, looking like some kind of surreal porcupine at the end of a stick.

          1. re: Polecat

            I loved the silk worms sold in newspaper cones! Did you know Korean groceries sell them in cans? Long ago, my brother and I bought some one day and tried to microwave them. NOT the brightest idea...

            I love the street corn dogs. Last time I was in Korea, they were selling them in subway vending machines. An atrocity! The french fry version's a new one for me.

            1. re: yumyumyogi

              I got served my worms out of a styrophoam cup, in the Insaedon (excuse the spelling) area. It came with a toothpick, for convenient spearing. One cup-full was very filling. I couldn't finish it all. P.

              1. re: Polecat

                That's too bad. I guess they've "advanced" into styrofoam. No food should ever be served in that material.

            2. re: Polecat

              machisoyo burgers? awesome...cute name (:

              you can get those red bean pancakes in the frozen section at the korean grocery store. I like to pop them in the toaster oven, korean version of pop tarts

              I know what hot dog concoction you are talking about. I saw them all over the place out side of dong dae mun or nam dae mun, I forget. Its basically a hot dog coated in french fries and deep fried. I was too scared to try it

            3. re: bitsubeats

              I've seen your "circular" #2 in Korean supermarkets.

              It's called jui-po, a number of filefish (juichi) fillets assembled, smooshed/flattened/shaped together and dried.

            4. "ho deok - which is a flat pancaked gridled and smashed down on a grill like at a diner. Its sweet and usually stuffed with brown sugar, honey, nuts or pine nuts." YUM! Forgot about those!

              "dont' know the name, but its fish shaped pancakes stuffed with sweet red bean filling. This is a popular snack food during the winter months." I believe those are called "pool-bbahng," which translates into "glue bread." Again, YUM!

              Unfortunately, I've never tried #7 on your list. I'd love to try them. I know the Han Ah Rheum in Flushing, on N. Blvd. has something like a street cart outside the grocery. Wonder if they would have them?

              I don't know where you reside, but I think it's the cold weather here in NY that's triggering these cravings.

              1 Reply
              1. re: yumyumyogi

                "ho deok". thanks, yumyum.
                these are the "machisoyo burgers" I referred to above.
                Up until last year, I had only gotten the Han-A-Reum frozen version. The ones sold on the streets of Seoul were a revelation to me. So delicious, I can't believe it's legal.

              2. I live in boston, so I feel your cold weather pains...I think you are even getting more snow then me

                yeah, go gu mah means sweet potato in korean.

                when I was little I used to bite off the head and squeeze out the red bean filling out of the fishes. my mother would get so pissed, but i hated the filling when I was little. I think I was 10-12 years old. Now of course there is nothing korean that I dont like, I will happily devour all red bean filling

                is your username yum yum yogi korean? yum yum "here" ?

                1 Reply
                1. re: bitsubeats

                  No, it's the Sanskrit yogi, thus upside-down.

                2. Not as exotic as the above, since I haven't travelled that much: the 99 Flake ice cream sold in trucks all over the UK.


                  4 Replies
                  1. re: piccola

                    Fun! So they make it fresh off of the trucks, not the prepackaged kind? Which would you get, the strawberry or the raspberry?

                    1. re: yumyumyogi

                      Actually, those are two separate products. There's the packaged kind sold by Cadbury's, and the truck kind - basically a soft-serve cone with a Flake bar shoved in it. But the combo of creamy ice cream and crisp chocolate is sooooooo good.

                      1. re: piccola

                        Sounds tasty. It might be fun to buy a Flake bar from one of the UK stores here and try creating my own version of it. Are the soft serves off trucks in the UK of better quality than in the States?

                        1. re: yumyumyogi

                          I think the two soft-serves are pretty equal. IMO, the only thing that could make this combo better is a quality cone instead of the usual cardboardy one. With a decent waffle cone...

                  2. oh, man...

                    in Korea: hodduk...'cos it's THAT much better than hoihoi (of the prepackaged, microwavable variety found in the freezer case of markets)
                    goon gogeuma
                    coffee milk from those yellow-uniform-wearing, yellow-cart-hauling ladies. They rock my world.

                    in Italy and Germany (and kinda in parts of Paris, I guess): gelati (especially the fruit and yogurt flavors)

                    in Germany: Currywurst and other Wuerste
                    I guess ueberbackene Doener wouldn't count, right? Schade :/

                    Would it count as street food if all I did was walk around and consume it? Or does it have to be from a street vendor? If walking counts, I'd say palmiers and almond croissants from La Duree. I wouldn't bother staying indoors.

                    in LA? Really cinnamony churros. I have yet to try the spiced wares from the fruit vendors-- maybe this summer?

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: PseudoNerd

                      I think it does count as street food if you think it tastes better eaten on the street rather than inside. Where is La Duree?

                      Spiced street fruit? That's new. Is it anything like the mangoes on a stick?

                      Also, what's ueberbackene Doener? Is that the raw meat & onion dish?

                      1. re: yumyumyogi

                        you should read the LA & NYC boards -- the street cart discussions always make me so envious!

                        p.s. I suspect La Duree is Laduree -- the bakery in Paris.

                        1. re: orangewasabi

                          Correct! I was thinking of another name, but that is the bakery I meant. Sorry, but I did post really late...! >_<

                          As for ueberbackene Doener (sometimes listed in a menu in the singular as Doenber ueberbacken), it's just the same meat with a sauce, onions, and cheese-- only, the entire thing is put in the microwave/oven for about 10 min.

                          If you're in LA, there are fruit vendors in Latino-populated areas. You get a mixed (quite literally) bag with various fruit, some spices (generally paprika and cayenne?), and salt.

                          1. re: PseudoNerd

                            That spicy mixed fruit sounds like such a treat!

                            And thanks, orangewasabi, for directing me to the LA street eats boards. Now I have even more reason to want to move to the West Coast.

                            1. re: yumyumyogi

                              you can get spicy mixed fruit at the Red Hook soccer fields spring through fall-- search NY outer borough boards if you don't know what I'm talking about.

                              1. re: bess

                                Thanks for the tip, bess! I had never heard of the Red Hook soccer field food vendors. A big incentive to head over and explore. Too bad they don't remain open in the winter. Here's a link I found on one of the boards with a map:


                          2. re: orangewasabi

                            Actually, it's Laduree, but I spelled it incorrectly at 2AM.

                            As for ueberbackene Doener, it's just a dish with the same meat, but served fresh from the oven (or microwave) with onions, tomato, and cheese-- seriously bad for you but AMAZING.

                            Fruit with spices: in Latino-populated areas in LA, there are fruit vendors who sell a mixed bag (quite literally) of fruit chunks with spices (cayenne and paprika, I believe) and salt.

                      2. For me, the most glorious sign of summer is an ice cream truck. I can't get enough of that from-the-truck soft-serve (vanilla and chocolate twist).

                        I know that it's an edible oil product and a crass bastardization of ice cream, but I simply cannot help myself.

                        PS - just read that this is actually about exotique kind of street food... I just read favourite "street food" and started to dream...

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: Rabbit

                          I'd say the American ice cream truck is rather exotic for anyone not having grown up with it.

                          When we first came to the States I thought it was one of the craziest things - running after trucks playing loud music, ordering an ice cream cone that they dipped in chocolate or "cherry" sauce that slowly hardens into a shell, ice cream in the shape of a face, ones that required a little exercise like the "push-up..."

                          1. re: yumyumyogi

                            I felt the exact same way when I saw my first Ramen cart in Tokyo. Some old guy, pulling along a wooden cart with steam coming out, blowing on some ancient, rusty horn. Listening from inside my in-law's house, that horn sounded almost like a call to prayer.

                            1. re: Polecat

                              Much more common are the "yaki-imo" or grilled sweet potato guys, who these days drive around in little pick-up trucks, with wood burners on the back, playing a looped yaki-imo "come and get it" tape on a mega-phone attached to the roof. Also, in January I saw tofu vendor who looked to be a hundred years old, pulling a cart honking an odd horn.

                              1. re: Silverjay

                                The sound of the yakiimo man coming down the street would cause us to leap up from our gathering spot around the space heater, gather up our change, and run outside in the cold snowy night for a wonderful treat. I'll be back in Japan this winter and am looking forward to hearing it again.

                                1. re: bkhuna

                                  You guys kill me. I've had a good life of street food; but our tribe's leaving Japan does have costs!

                                2. re: Silverjay

                                  The sweet potato vendors are hard to come by in my in-law's neighborhood, which is Kitakoiwa/Edogawa. I've seen the Ramen guys there more often.

                                  I had a memorable sweet potato in Harajuku. Grabbed a hot one, walked off into the hills, sat on some steps in a deserted alley and bit into a slice of heaven.

                                  I'm coming for a visit in April; where else do you recommend that I can get them?

                                  1. re: Polecat

                                    You won't find the yaki-imo guy in April. It's a winter thing usually. But I have no idea about any particular areas where they might be. I used to have one in my neighborhood in southern Tokyo. Maybe they should have a GPS unit so you can track them on your keitai?.?.?....All things considered, as much as I love Tokyo as the center of my eating universe, having traveled to many different cities around the word, Tokyo wouldn't even rank in my top ten for street food.

                                    1. re: Silverjay

                                      I think Osaka is really a better place to eat. Different people, different attitudes.

                                      Go Tigers!

                                      1. re: Silverjay

                                        Don't hold out on us. Which cities rank in your top 10?

                                        1. re: Polecat

                                          Osaka and Fukuoka blow Tokyo away for street food in Japan. NYC. Singapore. Penang and Khota Bahru in Malaysia. Hanoi. Taipei. Hong Kong. Bangkok would be my number one. I've never been, but all the South/Central American cities, plus Mexico, are probably better than Tokyo for street food... People will talk sentimental about ramen from carts in Tokyo, but it's never been good the dozen or so places I've tried it. Ameyoko near Ueno is the best concentrated place for street food. Mostly though, throughout the city you just see random yaki soba, okonomiyaki, tako yaki, and tai yaki stands/trucks out and about. Sort of the typical street offerings you'll find at a matsuri- same as a NYC festival with same requisite stalls every time. In the last few years, I have started to see more kebab trucks around Tokyo. I've also seen a few taco trucks. And there used to be a good rotisserie chicken guy in Roppongi. There's plenty of exceptions around I suppose, but speaking from an overall perspective, Tokyo's not a street food haven.

                                          1. re: Silverjay

                                            On a Travel Channel show dedicated to the Bizarre Foods of Asia, the host visited a huge outdoor market in Penang. It looked amazing.

                                            The last time I was in Ueno, I actually saw a shawarma stand, manned by a Senegalese man. Didn't get around to trying it. Perhaps this spring. I was also thinking about swinging over to Osaka for a concentrated eating binge.

                                            1. re: Polecat

                                              Hey you two: Vientiane, Hanoi, Chiang Mai, Mexico, Calcutta, Lahore, Mandalay, Osaka, Beijing, NYC.

                            2. Streetfood, sigh. We have a bylaw in Toronto that bans all cart street food, with the exception of hot dogs.

                              Here's my list of street food I wish we had here off the top of my head:
                              1) fruit carts throughout South East Asia: cut up guava, pinapple, mango etc. in a little bag you eat with a skewer; and the dipping salt on the side
                              2) pad thai in Bangkok
                              3) NYC soft pretzels
                              4) curry fish balls in Hong Kong
                              5) Thai roti, filled with bannana and chocolate sauce

                              1. 1. Laab and sticky rice in Laos and NE Thailand
                                2. Breakfast tamales in Mexico and Guatemala
                                3. Soft flatbreads and halal mutton or lamb on the highways in Pakistan
                                4. Tripe soup in the markets of Mexico and Central America
                                5. Balut and BBQ chicken feet in the Philippines
                                6. Breakfast pho in Vietnam
                                7. Hotdogs from carts in Ottawa
                                8. BBQ chicken and mango salad in NE Thailand
                                9. Plate of hash (saice) in southern Bolivia
                                10. Deep fried sparrow and BBQ rat in Burma
                                11. Tacos al pastor in Mexico
                                12. Carabao elbow/joint soup in the Philippines
                                13. Tandoor style in south Asia
                                14. Neon colored dessert combos at night in Thailand
                                14. Quick wok food on Hainan, China
                                15. Vietnamese sandwiches on the ferry crossings in the Mekong delta
                                16. Fish soups in tukupi (cassava) juice in Belem, Brasil
                                17. Fresh coconut water, all over the tropics
                                18. Capybara in the Peruvian Amazon

                                12 Replies
                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                    What a list! And what a life of travel!

                                    Would you mind elaborating on some of the dishes you mentioned? I've never heard of some of these and would love to hear more about them:


                                    And did I read that right in #10, deep fried sparro & BBQ rat??? Don't think I'll be adding that to my list anytime soon...

                                    1. re: yumyumyogi

                                      Balut (in the Philippines, but also eaten in Vietnam) is a fertilzed duck egg. The older the better--18 days gets you a lot of proto-parts as you eat your way through a sort of folded up duckling. Saice is a hash with meat, potatoes, carrot, and unknown stuff. Part of the charm might be the sights and smells of the southern Bolivian Andes. Capybara is the semi-aquatic world's largest rodent. Lots in the wild, but can't be domesticated because they fight with one another when in captivity. The sparrow is deep fried, crunchy--eaten whole rather than in parts. Good. The rats are NOT house rats, but rats caught far from people and fattened on the same people's rice crop. That is, field rats are a big problem for rice farmers; and rat consumption is a part of a solution. I've been lucky about the life of travel--always wanted to as a kid, later got into the right line of work (agricultural research in developing countries).

                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                        oh Sam, those fertilized duck eggs and fried sparrows are the nightmares of my vegan childhood in Hong Kong.

                                        Lemme ask you though, does Capybara or Rat actually taste THAT different from other more traditional rodents like Rabbit? What flavour am I missing, not having the courage to try it.

                                        1. re: orangewasabi

                                          Do you mean you were raised vegan and thus nighmarishly thwarted from eating those tantalizing balut and sparrows, or that you became a vegan to escape the horror of such delicacies?

                                          Capybara flavor is between rabbit and pork. Rice-fed rats have a rich grain-fed flavor. Both very nice.

                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                            Sorry, I was raised vegan by my parents, but when we moved to HK our relatives fed us balut and sparrows among other 'new' things, which gave me nightmares.

                                            I am now a red meat lover, with hangups. My big goal this year is to try horse. Caybara and rice-fed rats actually sound pretty tasty.

                                            1. re: orangewasabi

                                              orangewasabi, kemosabi, you are invited to our place anytime.

                                        2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                          If anyone saw the indie thriller "Cavite", the lead character - who has returned to the Phillipines from California - is instructed to eat one of those fertilized eggs by terrorists, as a means of acquainting him with his culture.

                                      2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                        There's a few more from Vietnam that I like- all in Hanoi: the pork buns, the fish ball soup, and bia hoi (cheap draft beer), siphoned from big plastic vats at 30 cents a cup.

                                        1. re: Silverjay

                                          Absolutely right: sio mai or ham bao--steamed pork buns anywhere are great, from China to Hanoi to the Chinese barrios in Panama City, Lima, Montreal! Yes, and that beer!

                                          Polecat: tap narrow end, suck out the tsp fluid, open out and eat the diffrerent bits with a small spoon--including the veiny yellow part, the feathery part, and the various other bits, finally eat the tough/rubbery white piece at the bottom end, kind of like an after dinner piece of gum.

                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                            There was actually a market, not sure they're still there, on 14th Street in Manhattan, that sold those eggs. Maybe I'll swing by, give it a whirl.

                                        2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                          Re: #8
                                          (i've never been to thailand so I don't know how acurate this is)we have a thai place in my town who's food is supposed to copy Northern Thai street named Pok Pok. I love the food:)


                                          1. re: limster

                                            limester, more details please? Are those food cart centers?

                                            1. re: yumyumyogi

                                              These are centres filled with many stalls selling a wide variety of street food.

                                          2. wow, i can't believe someone here mentioned "odol-ppyo"!! i love that stuff!! but can't find any here. and even if i can, it wouldnt taste the same, with the right amount of spice etc..

                                            i also miss the bratwurst from germany. that stuff is addicting!! and surprisingly not too greasy!

                                            and those glass noodle soups from streets of thailand! where can i find that here in the u.s.? i've tried thai restaurants here but nothing even remotely similar can be found. i didnt even know i liked thai noodle soups until i ate those noodle soups from street vendors.

                                            1. Maybe it is a hokey cliche, but just thinking about a Paris street-cart crepe makes me want to cry.

                                              Lucky Dogs in New Orleans.

                                              The chicken-on-a-stick and mung bean pancakes in the Strip in Pittsburgh.

                                              1. In my current locale of Prague after a long night of drinking some of the worlds best pivo (beer) a freshly fried smažený sýr (fried cheese) sandwich loaded with mayo is quite delicous. I once too was skeptical but now I see the light.

                                                In Los Angeles tijuana dogs (hot dogs wrapped in bacon) are pretty spot on.

                                                Damn, I need to eat healthier.

                                                1. Crepes with nutella in Paris.
                                                  Carnita tacos at Carnitas Carmelo in Quiroga, Michoacan or Carnitas Americas in Patzcuaro, Michoacan.

                                                  1. I miss LA street tacos, sold out of trucks. Rambo's Tacos in Eagle Rock was a favorite. You just can't get good California style Mexican food in Toronto.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. Oh man...I'd have to go with the Empanada ladies in brazil. I can't remember the name, but the little fried round ones...
                                                      And pretty much anything that the ladies bring onto the bus in peru and ecuador--the plantain chips, the cheese and potatos, fried pork skins....
                                                      Best street food I ever had though was the mango lady that set up a cart between my house and my work in Ecuador!

                                                      1. Fish tacos freshly made from roadside stands in Ensenada, Mexico- moist little corn tortilla, crispy battered fish chunks, shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, and salsa made from roasted dried chili, plus that liquidy white sauce. Of course that was 17 years ago!

                                                        Also just south of Ensenada, small tamales from giant steamers set up along the road to La Bufadora. The stands sold local honey, olive oil, and olives. The tamales were just 2 bites of corny goodness with a green pit-in olive inside.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: torty

                                                          Mmm. I could go for that right about now.

                                                          1. re: torty

                                                            I'm gonna have to slap you if you keep talking about Baja like that. I lived in San Diego for years and so miss those road trips.

                                                            Did you ever eat the sea turtle tacos at La Bufadora. I don't think you can find them anymore, but they were yummy last time I had them (1977).

                                                            1. re: bkhuna

                                                              Not that I know of! I'm a turtle lover (torty = tortoise). Where they from the roadside stands or in a resto?

                                                              1. re: torty

                                                                There was a place, I wouldn't call it a restaurant because it was mostly sheet metal on frame, within sight of the blow hole where we ate turtle tacos and burritos.

                                                          2. Japanese Okonomiyaki. I've never been to Japan but there's a place in NYC (Otafuku on 9th street) that serves it. Now that I live in L.A. I'm reduced to making it at home.

                                                            And in Juan les Pins, on the French Riviera, there used to be a crepe stand run as a promotion by Grand Marnier. They made excellent crepes (I have never had a crepe in America that comes anywhere near the runofthemill crepe stands in France) and if you ordered a Grand Marnier crepe, they would sprinkle it with sugar, hand you the crepe and a huge bottle of Grand Marnier and tell you to help yourself.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: Amuse Bouches

                                                              If you ever make it to Japan, Osaka is the ruling street food city, Okonomiyaki - meaning "make it yourself" - being one of its' specialties.

                                                              Otafuku also serves Takoyaki, literally fried Octopus balls, also, supposedly, an Osaka treat, along with Yakitori.

                                                              1. re: Polecat

                                                                Out of curiosity, I looked up okonomiyaki for more details. Which ingredient combos would you recommend? I think I might give it a whirl at 9th st.


                                                                1. re: yumyumyogi

                                                                  The times that I've had it there, I just ask for it and they make it - no questions asked. I have never specified any ingredients. But, hey, give it a whirl. Let me know what you get.

                                                                  1. re: yumyumyogi

                                                                    I think they offer pork, shrimp, or squid, but they're all good. Make sure to get all of the toppings though -- the okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, seaweed, and most importantly dried bonito flakes all make the dish. When I make it at home, I use shredded cabbage, scallions, eggs, flour, water, and usually some ham or bacon.

                                                                    1. re: Amuse Bouches

                                                                      Try adding some shredded pickled ginger, and if you can find it the tempura crunchies called ebi-ten.

                                                              2. Noodle carts and yakitori stands on the streets of Japan. Also, the smell of the chestnut roasting cart when you step off the train platform at midnight on a cold winters night is a wonderful sensation.

                                                                Hot cans of Georgia canned coffee on aforementioned wintery night.

                                                                1. I love street food in New York, but if you've ever been to night markets in Asia, especially Taiwan, street food in New York is nothing. That's an entire industry an part of the culture there. And it's always freshly cooked, and it's impossible to walk down any street without getting real hungry.

                                                                  When I visited Taiwan as a kid, I had a thing for sweet milk popsicles. Sort of miss that. Nobody else really makes those.


                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: GurglingStomach

                                                                    Are those sweet milk popsicles anything like the "ice-kehkie" popsicles they sell at Korean bakeries? I could eat 5 of those in one sitting.

                                                                    1. re: GurglingStomach

                                                                      please explain these Sweet Milk Popsicles... they sound divine.

                                                                      1. re: GurglingStomach

                                                                        They're just basically what they sound like. It's milk, but sweetened with sugar, and then frozen into a popsicle. It's either condensed milk or milk sweetened with sugar, and then basically frozen into a popsicle.


                                                                      2. My favorite street cart food was when I lived in the Czech Republic. I remember being with my dad on cold nights and we would get Grog and Spiced Wine. Too bad America has alcohol in the streets laws... in Czech is a necessity of survival in the bitter cold.

                                                                        And now I live in Yemen and there is nothing better than Yemeni schwarma (regular schwarma meat with spiced cabbage, tomato, pickle, on arabic bread and toasted) or their egg bread... basically raw flat bread put on a flat skillet... cooks for a few seconds.... break an egg on top of it.... throw in some chives... scramble it with your fingers.... take a sword type knife and flip it... Mmmmm.... Yumm....

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Whitmirts

                                                                            ah...Yemeni Jian Bing!!! sorry, currently in NYC, quite a few hounds are looking for the Chinese street breakfast food that works on a similar principles as these...they look delicious!

                                                                        1. The hello berlin cart (5th ave. @ 54th street) in nyc satisfies the bratwurst craving. But the longing for arancini (breaded and fried rice balls) like I had in Italy off the street carts? Nowhere in NYC. Manganaro's carries them but they are dry and too big and not warm enough and not filled with mozzarella.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: stiltonfritter

                                                                            Do you know if the Hallo Berlin cart operates in the winter months as well?

                                                                          2. I've got nothing on the posters on this thread.. but when I was in Croatia with a friend from there, one night we were waiting to take the bus home from a beautiful day at the beach near Rijeka, and he ducked into a downstairs counter place and brought out 2 plain yogurts for us to drink. Barely thicker than whole milk, but intensely tart and fresh.

                                                                            I second-third-fourth everyone who mentions the sad lack of gelato carts in the US like those that are everywhere in Europe in the summer.

                                                                            1. I like the mexican food vender here in california, like the menudo, and the big burrito`s.
                                                                              and the carnitas, very tasty.

                                                                                1. re: yumyumyogi

                                                                                  Oh yeah, about 20 for a buck. I don't know if the Grand Street seller is the famed "Egg Cake Lady", having been written up in an excellent book about NYC characters. There is another egg cake seller on Bowery, just north of Canal (or is it south?).

                                                                                  1. re: Polecat

                                                                                    Are they chewy or fluffy? And should they be crispy on the outside?

                                                                                    1. re: yumyumyogi

                                                                                      More fluffy, kind of like mini-pancakes. The ones that I have had are not crispy.
                                                                                      Having just read the write-up, this is definitely not the famed "Egg Cake Lady". Wrong gender. Don't know whatever became of her. But this guy on Grand has been serving them up for some years now.

                                                                                      I'm glad to see that my personal favorite vendor, dubbed the "King of Kebab" has been written up as well: http://www.kapshow.com/pushcartnyc/ar...

                                                                                2. It's not nearly on par with what you've all brought up, but I lived in Queens as a kid and moved to Philly at 10. I still dream about knishes off a cart- crispy on the outside, mushy on the inside, split in the center with spicy mustard. Mmmmmm.....

                                                                                  1. I grew up in deep South Texas, with Corn Carts...hot, roasted cobs of corn, smeared with butter, chili, lime and mayonnaise (Mexican mayo with lime instead of lemon) and carts with giant jars of aguas ...oh the watermelon! My small hometown still has "street" food, with people taking over small portable buildings and old service stations and selling nachos (not stacks, but individually smeared with beans and cheese) and my favorite, gorditas. These are like corn pitas, dropped in the fryer just to crisp a bit, popped open then filled with tiny cubes of grilled skirt steak, avocado, and chili. Just delicous and so good after a few too many cervezas!

                                                                                    1. My father grew up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He tells me stories of being able to buy delicious, piping hot sweet potatoes in the street in those days (we're talking early '30's here), wrapped in tin foil. I had to go to Japan and Korea (see above posts) in order to come full circle.

                                                                                      1. Fresh herring in Holland and Belgian waffles-in Belgium.
                                                                                        A hot Philly pretzel from a vendor fresh from the pretzel bakery, A spritz of yellow mustard...
                                                                                        Gelato-especially Italy and Germany. And Germany has those great candied nuts hot in a cone to carry around and keep your hand warm in winter.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: fryrose

                                                                                          WERD TO THE WAFFLE. I am now trying to locate pearl sugar to make belgian waffles in the comfort of my own home. I have a couple of recipes translatd, but need to find the C&H sugar cube irregulars outlet now ;)

                                                                                        2. What about "boat food"?

                                                                                          This qualifies as street food, but it used to be boat food. ("River food"? Straits, in this case...)
                                                                                          Absolutely gorgeous grilled fish sandwiches at Galata Bridge in Istanbul - balik ekmek. (literally "fish bread", pronounced more like balook ekmek)


                                                                                          1. I can't believe nobody has yet mentioned Belgian frites, dipped in mayo. We have nothing like them in Los Angeles.

                                                                                            I third or fourth the longing for fish tacos from Baja -- I dream of this one stand outside of Rosarito Beach where we always make a point to stop for tacos before continuing down the coast.

                                                                                            I also dream fondly of late-night snaking on souvlakis throughout the Greek islands. Why is it that every corner stand in even the smallest town in Greece can make a delicious souvlaki, and not ONE place in the entirety of Los Angeles can make an even half-way decent one. The only decent souvlaki I've had in the past 5 years was in Austin, TX of all places!

                                                                                            I also loved eating crepes in Paris -- ouef, jambon et fromage pour moi!

                                                                                            The best sandwich I ever ate was in France -- there was this place in Paris in the late 80s/early 90s that made the BEST chicken sandwiches -- simply roasted chicken, shredded and served on baguettes with mayo, dijon mustard and capers -- it was one of the few places open late at night at the time, and man, that sandwich was soooooo goood! I think it was the combo of really flavorful chicken, good mayo and Parisian bread.

                                                                                            Concur on the gelato in Italy comments, too. I think the best "iced coffee" I ever had was one hot summer morning in Naples -- it was so hot that having an actual hot coffee was unappealing, so instead we had coffee granitas with cream. Yum!!

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: DanaB

                                                                                              Just a few that I ran into in a beach side town in Northern Italy: freshly fried calamari served in little french fry containers with the wooden fork; freshly made crepes usually filled with nutella and sprinkled with icing sugar...this is delicious and comforting on a chilly autumn day. And finally, carts that sell chilled pieces of coconut, which are so refreshing in the summer.

                                                                                              1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                re: Belgian frites -- I love them with gravy!

                                                                                              2. I hate to be a stickler. but it's 'gaufre'. The street side stuff in Brussels is better than in Paris, too. However, if you're in NYC and desperate, the waffles sold at Whole Food toasted or nuked aren't half bad. Not the same, but a way of soldiering through the lack.