Travel Picks: Top 10 street-food cities

Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:00am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Quick, cheap and chock full of flavor, street food gives hungry passers-by a lot to love in locales around the world. Trying the local open-air fare is also a key ingredient to sampling any city's culture.

That's why online travel adviser ( has put together its Top 10 street-food cities. Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. Hong Kong, China

With a bustling international food scene, Hong Kong offers up everything from sweet tofu soup to dumplings all from street-side stalls. Long under British rule but now part of China, the city is famous for everything from snake soup to egg tarts, and serves up an interesting mix of Cantonese delicacies and Western favorites. Markets like those on Temple Street in Yau Ma Tei, the Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street and Kowloon City are popular places to peruse Hong Kong's street food scene and taste test items like hot pots, curried fish balls and skewers of stinky tofu (your nose will guide you to that one). The city's dai pai dongs - open-air street food vendors - have been dwindling since the 1980s when regulations tightened, but places like noodle shops and markets still thrive. Some of Hong Kong's food stalls like dim sum canteen Tim Ho Wan on Sham Shui Po even made the most recent Michelin Guide - a significant honor from a guide that's notoriously stingy with its stars, reserving them mainly for high-end brick-and-mortar restaurants.

2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Food stands are a staple in Rio de Janeiro. Vendors offer everything from cod fritters to feijoada (rice, beans and pork) and salgadinhos (salty aperitifs). The scene has stretched to the city's waterfront and its suburbs. Beverages are popular street-side buys here, especially drinks like fruit smoothies and suco de acai (acai juice). Sweet treats like tapiocas (crepes) and churros filled with chocolate or caramel are also popular. Stroll the boardwalk of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches to find 24-hour food stands. Street meat called churrasquinhos, hot dogs known as cachorro quente and cheese bread (pao de queijo) are all common street food fare in Old Rio.

3. Paris, France

Paris may be famous for decadent sit-down mid-day meals, but its street food offerings are extensive. After all, who can resist that wall of Nutella jars practically calling your name from every Parisian crêperie? The city's iconic street food specialty is the heavenly crêpe. The thin pancakes are typically made to order and filled with your choice of ingredients, which could be anything from a savory combination like ham and cheese, or a sweet specialty like that heavenly chocolate-hazelnut spread paired with slices of banana. But the French city's street food scene goes beyond its network of street-corner crêperies. Sandwiches from bakeries, falafel in the Marais district and Indian specialties like samosas are all served street side. A surprising amount of food trucks - many of them dishing out traditional American favorites like burgers - are also popping up around Paris. Just be a little discerning with your selections in popular tourist locales, such as the areas around the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre.

4. Boston, Mass., United States   Continued...

Snake meat is seen in a bowl of snake soup served at a snake soup shop in Hong Kong January 30, 2013. REUTERS/Bobby Yip