From jerk chicken to currywurst, these are the best street foods from around the world.
Jerk Chicken – Jamaica
If you go to Boston Bay, home of the original jerk chicken, you will find huge, open BBQ pits with meat smoking over their native pimento wood, the tree that produces allspice. The tradition of jerking comes from street vendors developing their technique of building pit fires in oil barrels. The wood adds a sweet kick to the flavorful marinade made of Scotch bonnet peppers, allspice berries, green onions and ginger. For a truly Jamaican experience, lay your jerk chicken over some peas and rice and crack open a Red Stripe.
Poutine – Canada
The unofficial national dish of Canada, poutine is nicknamed by fans as a “heart attack on a plate.” French fries are covered in a special brown gravy and topped with white cheese curds. The name is credited to Fernand Lachance, who responded to the patron’s strange French fry request with, “ca va faire une maudite poutine”—“it will make a mess.” For the best poutine, head to Montreal where almost every diner in town will have it.
Currywurst – Germany
This comfort food is a favorite among German clubbers looking for a late-night snack. Chopped pork sausage is doused in a thick, spicy tomato sauce and further topped with curry powder. The snack was born out of post-WWII Germany, when Herta Heuwer traded liquor for ketchup and curry powder from the British soldiers stationed in Berlin. She began selling her concoction in her street stand, and currywurst became a hit among the construction workers in the area, at one point selling 10,000 servings a week.
Borek – Bosnia
The borek is a culinary tradition across the Middle East, tracing its roots to Turkey. Varieties include spinach and feta zeljanica, egg and cheese sirnica and a potato and onion krompirusa. Sweet versions also exist, like the apple and cinnamon jabukara. The best boreks are said to come from Sarajevo, where the dough is hand-rolled to be extremely thin. When placed in the oven, the crust becomes crisp and flaky while the center remains hot and chewy.
Vada Pav – India
This is the classic Indian street food, originating from Mumbai as a cheap, fast food meal. The delicacy is a mash of potatoes and spices deep-fried and sandwiched between chutney and bread. A common meal among the impoverished, vada pavs are so popular, many high-end restaurants serve their own versions of the snack, though it is recommended you find a roadside vendor for the classic experience. While its roots remain a mystery, rumor has it a Mr. Babban sold the first vada pavs back in the ‘70s from his stall in Thane. Curious foodies can go back and learn the truth if they like; his daughter now operates that same stall.
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