Street Food Around the World

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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.

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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?

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  • 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 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 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

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