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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Join the discussion

  • I’m from Saudi Arabia . Honestly there are several street foods I like it but maybe the best for me from it the potato with some kinds of sauce . It is very tasty I want it now‍

  • “PHO”, it taste is very delicious. If you travel in Viet Nam, you can eat “PHO” in Ha Noi, Viet Nam.

  • In my city i like “ balilah” it’s made from boiled chickpeas and put on Vinegar, pieces of cucumber, carrots and a little cumin, it’s very delicious and eating hot.

  • I like to eat Viet Nam street food. For me, Viet Nam street food is very diverse in terms of food and taste. I usally eat Banh Mi in the morning, it is a popular dish of Vietnamese people.

  • Our street food his buying some sandwiches for lunch and brakefast but it seems not clean and healthy so may not eating from it because I don’t wanna be sick of it

  • What an intresting toipc!
    I live in saudi arabia and the most popular street food is mash potato with a lot of sauces such as mayo,katchap, chili sauce and french sauce it mixed well then serv in plastic bag. Also there is J-juice it contiens suger, milk, mango, strawberry and berries. They are extremely delicious.

  • At my live, we have a walking street and street food is sold beside the street. There are different kinds of food: fried, milk tea, ice cream, rice, meat and more. We can buy and take a way or stay at there. Almost teenagers like street food.

  • Why didn’t you mention Shawarma?☹
    Shawarma is a famous Syrian street food. It’s so tasty and delicious. You should try it, and you will agree with me.

  • Hi, my name is Omar and I am from Syria.
    There are a lot of kinds I like, I.e., Shawrma with mayonnaise and spicy, I also like pizza with chicken and fried potato.

  • I do not like street food because of hygiene concerns.However, I sometimes buy street food, such as french fries or boiled corn.

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