Monday, 8 December 2014

Street food: the best, the worst, and the just-don't-go-there

One of the best parts of adjusting to an expat life is getting to try the local cuisine. Depending where you are, it’s likely you’ll find a whole array of brand new foodie adventures when you arrive, some of which are celebrated with lavish festivals.

If you’re just looking for a taster, street food is a delicious, fun and inexpensive way to get a feel for the variety of foods on offer. It’s also a great opportunity to get to know some local people and (if you’re feeling brave!) trying your hand at the local lingo.  Here is our pick of the best, as well as a few dishes that might make you hesitate before tucking in…

Thailand’s Pad Thai
Image source: Creative Commons/ Pedro Alonso

Thailand is widely renowned for its diverse and delicious street food, with Pad Thai being one of the most popular and well-known dishes.  For around 20-30 Baht (about 50p), customers can tuck into a delicious plate of noodles in a chilli and peanut sauce, with a choice of chicken, prawns or beef, which is freshly cooked for you in minutes. 

Brazil’s Açaí na tigela (Açaí bowl)
A healthy and refreshing Brazilian dish, Açaí na tigela consists of blended and sweetened açaí pulp (the juice from the fruit of palm trees), topped with fruits, granola and Guarana syrup.  The anti-oxidant properties of the açaí fruit are making the dish a popular choice for health conscious consumers in other parts of the world. 

Gili Trawangan’s night market 
As well as its beauty, Gili Trawangan (just off Lombok), is renowned for its nightly food market.  For the equivalent of £1, diners can fill up plates with a delicious combination of Balinese and Indonesian classics, including freshly made spring rolls, gado gado and a selection of curries.  With a seating area in the centre of the island, the market is also a fantastic social hub. 

Cambodia’s Edible Spiders
Image Source: Creative Commons/ Kseye

One of Cambodia’s most infamous delicacies is the deep fried spider.  The species of tarantula eaten is called the ‘a-ping’, and is served deep fried in a mixture of crushed garlic, sugar and salt.  Each spider is sold for around 5p, and is a popular attraction for daring tourists visiting Cambodia. 

China’s Deep Fried Pig Intestines

Image Source: Creative Commons/ Wikipedia

Also very popular in Hong Kong, deep fried pig intestines are one of the most commonly consumed street food dishes in China.  Deep fried and served with a choice of hoisin or chilli sauce, the intestines are eaten as a quick snack or a staple part of a meal.  Those who have tried the delicacy liken their texture to liver, and state they are definitely an acquired taste. 

Which country boasts the best street food you’ve tasted? Tweet us at @expatexplorer or leave a comment. 

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