Street Food Around the World

Play episode
Image by Haynie C. from Pixabay

Liz Waid and Joshua Leo take a trip around the world to eat street food – food that costs little money and is sold beside the street.

Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Joshua Leo. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

While in Mexico City, Mexico, you might stop and buy a sweet, fried, churro. On Cheju Island in Korea, you might order some freshly caught fish, called hwae. In Bangkok, Thailand, you might need a drink. So you might buy a coconut fruit. You can use a thin straw to drink the liquid from inside it. In Chicago, in the United States, you might want to have a steamed hot dog.

Voice 2 

Warning! This program may make you hungry! Today’s Spotlight is on street food. Today we travel around the world. We look at the different kinds of foods people can eat on the street.

Click here to follow along with this program on YouTube.
Voice 1 

People everywhere in the world love eating street food. But what is it? Street food can be food or drink. It can be fruits or vegetables. Or it could be something cooked like rice or meat, and more! It can be a person’s whole meal, or just a small snack. A vendor sells the food from a cart that can move, or from a stall – a small sheltered area. Vendors usually only sell one kind of food. And prices of street food are usually low.

phuket street food stall
Image by Michelle Raponi from Pixabay
Voice 2 

There are a few reasons why street food is so great. First, street food is easy to get. People who are hurrying somewhere can buy street food quickly. Vendors often have the food fully prepared.

Voice 1 

Second, street food does not cost a lot of money. Very poor people can still buy street food. And a street food meal can include many healthy substances.

Voice 2 

Finally, there is one more reason street food is so great – and you may already know it. Street food is delicious! It tastes very good! And many of our listeners would agree! We asked Spotlight listeners to share some of their favorite street foods. People from all over the world answered.

Voice 1 

Erioni from Albania wrote that she liked pies, burgers and hotdogs. Hot dogs were also Joel’s favorite food in the United States. In Uganda, Muhwezi and Bamutengire liked fruits and apples. And Sky and Tinah both liked Rolex. This is a thin bread surrounding egg and vegetables. Trinh from Vietnam simply answered “rice”. In Indonesia, Agustinus likes to order sego kucing. This is made with rice with things on top – like dried fish. Then it is wrapped in banana fruit leaves. And Ying-ying from the Philippines could not name just one favorite street food! She named fish balls, quail eggs, squid balls and barbeque.

Voice 2 

Travel writers have also written lists of the best street food around the world. Travel with us as we taste the different street foods of the world!

Voice 1 

Mexico City, Mexico. Churros are one favorite food here. These are tubes of fried bread dough. The vendor fries the dough, or uncooked bread. Then he shakes cinnamon spice and sugar over it. It is a sweet snack!  Another famous Mexican street food is Elote. This food uses corn on the cob. That is, the corn is freshly picked from the plant. Then, the vendor takes the rough covering off the corn. He pushes a wooden stick through the corn cob. He cooks the corn over a fire. Then, he covers the corn with a good tasting mayonnaise sauce. He puts spicy chilli flakes and cheese on the corn. Finally, he squeezes a sour lime fruit over it.

Elote; Ines Suarez R., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Voice 2 

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Here, the most famous street food sandwich is called Banh mi. This sandwich is on long bread with a thick crust. Inside is meat and pickled vegetables. JJ Goode writes for the travel website concierge.com. He describes biting into this delicious sandwich:

Voice 3 

“Your teeth crash through the bread and into still-warm pieces of grilled pork. Then you taste crunchy cucumber, sweet-tangy pieces of pickled carrot and daikon and cilantro. It has just a bit of Vietnamese mayo. You should add a small amount of hot sauce. This may be the best sandwich you have ever had.”

Voice 1 

Berlin, Germany. You may be surprised to learn that Berlin has a very big Turkish population. So the street food here has a Turkish influence. One of these foods is called currywurst. Currywurst is a long thin piece of meat. The vendor cuts the meat into smaller pieces. Then she puts a special curry sauce on top of it. The sauce is made of curry spice and tomato sauces. People eat currywurst from paper plates with very small forks.

Voice 2 

Marrakech, Morocco. Marrakech’s main square contains hundreds of different food stalls. But everyone here knows one street food: harira soup. This liquid soup is a traditional food. A vendor makes it from good-tasting liquid broth, beans, onions, turmeric spice, and the cilantro plant. People eat the soup with a small wood spoon.

Voice 1 

Mumbai, India. Bhel puri is a low-fat and good-tasting food that contains many vegetables. It is made with a plate full of puffed rice. This is a bigger form of rice. It crunches in your mouth. A vendor adds many different things on top. He may add potato, red onion, and cilantro. Then he adds a spicy tamarind sauce on top. The sauce is also tangy – it makes a person’s mouth water. The sauce makes some of the rice more soft. Bhel puri is spicy, tangy, crunchy and soft – a wonderful and interesting food!

Bhel puri
Bhel puri; Rakesh Krishna Kumar, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Voice 2 

These are just a few kinds of street food. But there are many more kinds all around the world. It is easy to see why so many people around the world eat it!

Voice 1 

But there are some concerns about street food. People can get sick from street food. Vendors may work in unclean conditions. This means that people who eat street food may suffer from sicknesses like diarrhea or vomiting. People can even die from these sicknesses. But governments and health organizations also work with street vendors to improve the quality of street food.

Voice 2 

If you love street food, you do not have to be afraid of eating it. Streetfood.org just suggests making wise decisions when you want to eat. Look for a vendor in a clean area. Are his hands clean? Is he wearing clean clothes? Is there a place for the vendor to wash dishes, and a separate area to wash hands? Finally, look at the food. Does it look fully cooked? Does it smell good or bad? If it smells bad, it is probably not safe.

Enjoying street food in Hanoi, Vietnam
Enjoying street food in Hanoi, Vietnam; Image by Thomas G. from Pixabay
Voice 1 

Tell us about street food where you live! You can leave a comment on the script page for this program.

Voice 2 

The writer and producer of this program was Liz Waid. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called “Street Food Around the World”.

Voice 1 

You can also find us on Facebook. Just search for Spotlight Radio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.


What is your favorite kind of street food? How often do you eat it?

Join our conversation about this program with us on YouTube
Join the discussion

  • Dear Spotlight,
    The topic this week has so many new words with me, i think i have to listen full week to understand and learn about all of them.
    I really like street food in my country although it is not real safe.
    For Mr. Joshua Leo only, your voice is so beautiful and natural like a native when you say: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

    • I really like street food. I especially like banh trang tron of Viet Nam. It’s very good. I ate it when i was a student. Now i still eat it.

  • I live in Pakistan and there is a lot of street foods over here I will mention some of them. We have Fritter ( we call it pakora ) and samosa ( its a triangular savory pastry ) and it’s fried in Oil or ghee containing gram flour , baking Soda, meats and vegetables it’s really delicious and spicy one .

    • Hi
      My name is Maged and I live in Saudi Arabia.
      My favorite kind of street food is Shawarma with a lot sause of Katshab, I really loves the Shawarma.
      The second favorite street food is the potato

  • Hi everyone
    I am from HCM City, VietNam. My favorite street food is ” Xoi Man”. This is a kind of food which made by sticky rice, with eggs, chicken or pork and a special sauce with torch.

  • My choice is definitely and without hesitation on the Mexican Elote. Just reading the recipe, with all the details, is an incentive to consume. The author of the program is solely responsible for abandoning us to temptation.

  • Thanks about the exciting topic, now I living in Ho Chi Minh city- VietNam, so I’m very happy and proud of with Banh Mi, which street food you describe. Inside Ho Chi Minh has many street food very delicious like Oc, Banh Trang Tron, Ca Vien Chien,… I hope you will come and try it.
    Although the topic has a lot of new words I don’t know, i will improve this. Thank you your review about street food over the world. Finally, I hope you can come to Viet Nam to experience our country’s cuisine. Surely will not disappoint you.

  • Hi, I live in Brasil, we have any kinds of street food like tapioca, hot, dog, popcorn. On the beach I drink ever a coconut water. Its so refreshing!

  • I live in Saudi Arabia but I never eat street food I am used to eating at the restaurant or at home sometimes I afraid of clean the food despite the government care about it

  • Thank you so much Spotlight team. Actually, I’m from Kuwait and we don’t have many different kinds of street food in Kuwait, but my favorite one is shawarma. it’s a sandwich with meat or chicken, tahini, and salad. This is the most popular street food in Kuwait from Lebanon and one of my favorite Arabic food. If you taste it you can’t forget how delicious tastes. And everyone can buy it. IT’s healthy and cheap.

  • Welcome Liz Waid and Joshua Leo to Vietnam to taste interesting street food in our country like bread, Pho and drink street-icetea.

  • It is a really interesting topic you choose I really like it because i like food very much
    To me . The favourite street food is a shawarma. It is a sandwich with chicken or meet salad and sauce. It tastes very good I advise you to try it.

  • This program so interesting! After listened it, i feel a little hungry. And i want to eat ‘bún riêu’ right now. This is one of my favourite street food from VietNam. You can even eat it like main meal. And I’m sure that is a wonderful dish. If you smell and taste the broth just one time, you’ll never forget this.
    Thanks For Your Program, I love your voice-Liz Waid.

  • I’m from Saudi Arabia and my favorite street food is a fried potato with a lot of sauces and spices. In the hole month of Ramadan the venders increase so in Ramadan I almost eat potato day by day.

  • Before I go to your questions, i would like to share a little bit about street food in Viet Nam. Street food in Vietnam is not only simply food but also culture. There are a lot of thing such as Banh mi, Balut, Cruller, Spring roll, Mango shake, Rolled cakes, Snailed noodle soup, etc. If you have a trip to Vietnam, you must try it. It’s really yummy.

    About your question: My favorite street food is Banh Mi. I usually eat it in the morning as a brakfast. It’s so convenient and tasty. There are a lot of kind of Banh mi but I like the most Banh mi with egg. If you feel interest about Banh mi, you can find more.

    Thank you and keep safe with Corona!

  • My favourite kind of street food is waffle sweet and Mutabak consists of dough and filling, mostly ground meat, eggs and leeks
    Also there is a kind of drink like Moheto and Arabic coffee also we don’t forget the tea♥️♥️♥️

  • Hello Spotlight team. By the accident when i listened the podcast i was eating.I like the topic of street food.Actually, i rarely eats from street food.When I want from outside i always eats from restaurant.My favorite food from restaurant it is the Pasta.I like all kind of the Pasta. Also, sometimes i cook it.

  • Hi spotlight i hope your good and safety, i am from saudi arabia my favorite food street is “sambosa” it’s bread in the bread meet or chicken very perfect and yamiiiiii

  • i am from oman, we have some street food and it is delicious , so safe and clean to eat this street food.the best streets food is shawarma , it is so testy and i feel cheerful when i eat this type of food.

  • Yeah ,I am really happy for this spotlight.I like to eat street food. My favourite food shingara, pori and somossa. I’m from Bangladesh

  • In my country egypt itis amany different street food like akoshary and grliied liver beef and green burger and beans etc., And all of them is very tasty

  • I am come from Ha Noi. My favorite food is “Bun Cha”. It includes rice noodle, barbecue (meat is wrapped in balls or marinated pieces of meat then grilled with charcoal), herbs and special fish sauce. I eat it about 2-3 times a month.

  • I’m from Viet Nam. As you know, my country’s famous street food is Banh mi. It is VietNamese sandwitch . Banh mi is also my favorite food. Every morning , I usually eat banh mi for my breakfast. It’s full of nutrients to keep me going all day long. I can mix bread with things I like. I like break with eggs. I like combining bread with fried wormwood egg. It’s delicious. If you can’t eat wormwood , you are missing out on this tasting dish.

  • Hello, in Cambodian, (Asia), people love eating different sort of fried bugs and especially tarentula. This sort of Big black furry arachnid is fried and seasoned with palm sugar and Spices or cooked like a dough.

  • um… I’m hungry now, in my city, there is a street food called seraih , it’s a small pieces of meat with onion, it’s so delicious.

  • I don’t prefer street food because I think it not clean and unsafe. By the way there are lots of street food in my country like A
    SAMBOSA , Hares, Thared, corn and popcorn

  • I really like street food because it is delicious and do not costs a lot of money. I come from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Here, my favorite street food is Banh mi – a popular street food in Vietnam. There are many choices for the stuffing and I think all of them are tasty. Before i going to school, eating a loaf of bread is great choice. Because it does not take a long to eat them, but the taste is still great. If you eat them with a little milk, you have a healthy breakfast.

  • This post helps me gain deeper insight into street food around the world. If you have a chance to travel to Viet Nam, you can try a local cuisine called “Pho” which includes good-taste liquid broth, beef, scallion, and herbs. It’s absolutely to die for ^^. It’s all over the street corners of Viet Nam. I believe that it won’t let you down.

  • I have lived in Viet Nam for many years where famous with street food, such as, Ho Thi Ky, An Duong Vuong, turtle Lake, street food.
    The food there is very delicious and variety, especially quite cheap. So, I offen go there on the weekend with my friends to relax and enjoy the weekend.

    • I’m from Vietnam. My favourite street food is noodles and I proud of it. With 164 noodles dishes, Vietnam is the country that holds the record for having the most dishes in the world. Each different place in Vietnam will have its own signature noodle dishes, usually cooked by local specialties. Let’s come to Vietnam and experience. <3

  • Street food is really delicious and It’s easy to buy and eat, I’m come from VietNam and I’m glad to hear Vietnamese bread, we call it “Banh Mi” . Banh Mi is not simply a dish, it is a feature, a typical image that makes tourists remember Vietnam.

  • This topic gives me a lot of informations about street food in the world. I really love street food in my country. I eat street food a lot but I usually eat ut when I hang out with friend on the weekend. And my favorite streer food is rice paper mix. It has thin rice paper, dried beef, shrimp salt, kumquat, satay, quail egg. It’s full of flavor. Eating rice paper mix and drink milk tea with friend on the weekend is perfect.

  • I come from Vung Tau, a tourist city of Vietnam where tourists often visit. Of course, this place is indispensable for roadside food to serve tourists. Tourists come here they can go to watch the sunset, sunrise, walk on the beach, or swim in the sea, … they can conveniently buy some street food to enjoy together. I also absolutely like curbside food, although it’s not necessarily healthy, but it’s delicious and convenient.

  • I’m a student so I usually eat street food. Maybe this is a kind of food which i like it. There are many street foods like Che, baked rice paper, baked eggs… i’m a student in Nation University village. There are famous street foods in here. After school, i and my friends usually go to here and eat street foods. Sometimes, we have a short party. We also buy street foods to eat with the price quite cheap and the quality is so delicious. The street foods are diversity make us don’t boring. Besides, street foods in Vietnam are famous. I know that the foreigners are very like eat them.

  • I’m come from Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, there are many street food in my country, favorite kind of street food is ” Banh trang tron” , “bap xao”, ” oc xao dua ” ” goi cuon”… i often eat it when i go out on holiday with my friends.

  • Baked rice paper is my favorite kind of street food; it is regarded a popular dish in my nation and is, in my view, very tasty. It is very crunchy, has a variety of flavors, and the special is quite spicy. However, I eat in the proper areas to protect my health, and I eat quite often when I have the opportunity.

  • Hello spotlight your subject is good now l m finisching this topic and i lave alot of information about street food im fro egypt and tha famuse traditional food is kosharie

  • The most popular street in Saudi Arabia is (patats) that mean ( fries potatoes) they put some fries on the plate and put some ketchup and hot sauce

  • i’m from VIET NAM. I really like street food in my country. My favourite street food is
    “PHO BO”. it includes rice noodle and soup with beef, and spices such as salt, pepper,….It’s really delicious

  • I’m from Viet Nam. I really like street food in my country. My favorite street food is ” Pho Bo” It includes rice noodle and soup with beef and spices such as salt, pepper and more. It’s really delicious

  • Hello all
    i do not like street food because not safe , maybe just twice i eated in the street food
    i am a gladed for siting Restaurant or coffee

  • I can’t possibly list all of my favorite street foods because there are so many of them. However, if you happen to be in Ho Chi Minh City, you should try the rice paper mix at least once; we promise you will enjoy it. this is a type of street food that is enjoyed by people of all ages, but especially by youngsters. The vendors cut the rice paper into small picies and then placed the sliced mango, dried beef, quail eggs, cilantro and other ingredients in a large mixing bowl. I really enjoy it, and i often substitute ruce paper mix of dinner.

  • When you visit VietNam, you should taste street foods. One of the famous is Banh Mi, this often is my breakfast. And we have another. Wellcome to VietNam!

  • I really like street food .I like pizza , burger , Shawerma , potato with cheese sauce ,also dessert and drinks like iced mocca or iced chocolate .
    But I can’t eat alot because my stomach hurts me

  • My favorite street food is a hotdog sandwich with cheese and spicy thing , it taste is great
    I ate it one time only , I get hungry after this program

More from this show

Episode 7