The World's Best Street Food: 12 Top Cities

There's nothing like a fresh crepe with Nutella in Paris. Photo by Frommers.com Community
You don't need to dine in fine restaurants to experience the most authentic local cuisine. Spend small and eat big at street stalls, food carts, and curb-friendly venues in these 12 cities.

How do you know if the food is safe? Just follow the crowds.

Photo Caption: There's nothing like a fresh crepe with Nutella in Paris. Photo by ValerieJ/Frommers.com Community
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Hawker stalls in Bangkok's Chinatown. Photo by Chi (in Japan
It's hard to find a square inch of a sidewalk in Bangkok that doesn't have a street stall of some kind. Street food is a way of life here, especially late at night. Pull up a plastic stool and choose from an array of noodles, meat, and vegetarian dishes. Save space for delicious fruits and sweet desserts.

Where to Eat: Chinatown; Nang Loeng Market (Nakhorn Sawan Road); the side streets around the backpackers' haven of Khao San Road; the Saochingcha neighborhood (near Bangkok City Hall); Soi Rambutri across from the Viengtai Hotel (known as Pad Thai Alley); and Aw Taw Kaw, across the Expressway from Chatuchak (or JJ) weekend market.

How Much: For around $3, you can enjoy two or three courses of Bangkok's finest.

Photo Caption: Hawker stalls in Bangkok's Chinatown. Photo by Chi (in Japan)/Flickr.com
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Food stands in Tel Aviv serve some of the best falafel. Photo by josh.ev9
Street stalls in Tel Aviv are the best places to try authentic vegetarian delights. Falafel is widely considered to be the unofficial national dish of Israel. Sabich (a pita stuffed with fried eggplant, egg, and pickled cabbage) is originally an Iraqi dish but is fast becoming a local favorite. You'll find that in general, the street food is of good quality and is often kosher, too.

Where to Eat: Along Ibn Gvirol Street, you can find dozens of food stands that serve falafel and shawarmas. Head to Frishman Street or the neighboring town of Ramat Gan for the best sabich. Although it's not technically a food stall, the street-side Abulafia Arab bakery in the port area of Jaffa doles out freshly baked savory pastries and pitas late at night.

How Much: Six falafel balls in a pita (with as many dips and salad that can fit) costs about 15 Israeli new sheqel ($3.85). A chicken shawarma is about 30 Israeli new sheqel ($7.70).

Photo Caption: The food stands in Tel Aviv serve some of the best falafel. Photo by josh.ev9/Flickr.com
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A vendor with simits (a bread ring covered with sesame seeds) and the Blue Mosque in the background. Photo by Frommers.com Community
Whether it's the giant bagel-style sesame bread (simit), huge baked potatoes (kumpir) covered in a multitude of toppings, a traditional döner kebap served in pita bread, balik ekmek (fish sandwich), or delicious baklava treats, Istanbul's ubiquitous street stalls are a welcome sight -- and smell -- to hungry visitors.

Where to Eat: Karaköy and Ortakoy, two neighborhoods on the European side of Istanbul, have several lanes and markets lined with food stalls. Istiklal Caddesi in the Taksim neighborhood is a pedestrian-only street with plenty of food vendors.

How Much: A fully laden kumpir will set you back about 6 Turkish Lira ($3.80) and a simit around 1 Turkish lira (63¢).

Photo Caption: A vendor with simits (a bread ring covered with sesame seeds) and the Blue Mosque in the background. Photo by KnottyBill/Frommers.com Community
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Falafel stands line Rue de Rosiers in Paris. Photo by Maarten (Superchango)
As appealing as it is to indulge in a three-course meal at a Paris bistro, you can also savor many French specialties on the street.

Where to Eat: By day, sidewalks in the Left Bank's Latin Quarter around Saint Michel get crowded with sandwich vendors selling baguettes. In the Marais, you'll want to try the falafel stands on Rue de Rosiers. At night, the air is filled with the aroma of freshly prepared crêpes, especially around Montparnasse, in the Latin Quarter, and near the nightclub areas.

How Much: A Nutella or chestnut-puree crêpe will cost about €4; a jambon et fromage baguette is around €6.

Photo Caption: Falafel stands line Rue de Rosiers in Paris. Photo by Maarten (Superchango)/Flickr.com
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Food stands in Mexico City's Centro Histórico Photo by CommandZed
Flautas, tacos, burritos, tamales, blue-corn quesadillas -- so much food, so little time. The streets of Mexico City overflow with food stands. If you're worried about the meat, just go vegetarian. Save some room for Fruteros (fruit vendors) and Jugueros (juice vendors) offering the freshest of Mexico's tropical fruits. In general though, it's still wise to avoid the water.

Where to Eat: Food stalls are found throughout downtown, with several on the south side of Plaza de Insurgentes, on Rio Sena between Reforma and Rio Papaloápan, and near the corner of Ayuntamiento and Aranda in Centro Histórico.

How Much: A burrito from a street stall costs around 25 pesos (about $2); tacos are usually around 10 pesos (80¢) each.

Photo Caption: Street food in Mexico City's Centro Histórico. Photo by CommandZed/Flickr.com
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Poultry hangs from a food stall in Hong Kong. Photo by Frommers.com Community
Street-side food vendors are seemingly everywhere on both Hong Kong island and on the Kowloon side. Noodle dishes, curry fish balls, stinky tofu, and a variety of dim sum are just a few of the things you can taste. The stalls with tables and chairs are usually those that serve noodles; others are more take-out in nature.

Where to Eat: Try the stalls around the various night markets, including Temple Street in Yau Ma Tei and Ladies' Market in Mong Kok on Tung Choi Street. In Tsim Sha Tsui, Hau Fook Street has several food stands. Mei Lun Street in Central and the laneways of Causeway Bay and Wan Chai are also crowded with food stalls.

How Much: 20 Hong Kong dollars (about $2.60) for a bowl of noodles with vegetables and 10 Hong Kong dollars for a serving of four shumai ($1.30) dumplings.

Photo Caption: Ready-to-eat poultry hangs from a food stall in Hong Kong. Photo by David Rosenberg Photo/Frommers.com Community
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In Kuala Lumpur, the Ramly Burger typically includes an egg-wrapped patty. Photo by Sherwin Huang
Kuala Lumpur has more than its share of indoor and outdoor food centers and markets. Choose from Malaysian Indian or Muslim food: roti breads stuffed with kaya (coconut jam), banana leaf rice served with curries, satays, noodle dishes, or a Ramly Burger (the Malaysian variation includes egg and Worcestershire sauce in addition to the usual burger fixings). For dessert, try an ABC or ice kacang (shaved ice topped with nuts, jelly, syrup, and more).

Where to Eat: Jalan Alor; Jalan Petaling in Chinatown; around Puduraya Bus Station; Jalan Masjid India for Indian food; Malay food at the Sunday Night Market (Kampung Bahru LRT Station); and Chow Kit Market for all-night food stalls.

How Much: A Ramly Burger is about 2.50 Malaysian ringgit (78¢); a serving of Kway Teow noodles costs about 4 Malaysian ringgit ($1.25).

Photo Caption: In Kuala Lumpur, the Ramly Burger typically includes an egg-wrapped patty. Photo by Sherwin Huang/Flickr.com
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Food stalls at Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai. Photo by Dey
When in Mumbai, you must stop at one of the thousands of street stalls (vada pavwala). Most dishes are sweet or vegetarian. The most popular treats include chaat (round snacks made of hollow dough embellished with spices and vegetables) and pav dishes (breads served with curries or patties). Try the vegetable pav bhaji or the vada pav, a potato fritter in a garlic bun.

Where to Eat: During the day, you'll have plenty of choices in the Fort area and around major landmarks. In the evenings, sample local delicacies at Chowpatty Beach. You can also try Bade Miya on Tulloch Roadbehind Colaba Causeway in downtown Churchgate.

How Much: You can find a good vada pav for around 7 Indian rupees (about 15¢) and various chaat snacks for around 14 Indian rupees (30¢).

Photo Caption: The street food at Chowpatty Beach in Mumbai has many vegetarian options. Photo by Dey/Flickr.com
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Yakitori Alley in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by adactio
Eating in Tokyo doesn't have to be an expensive adventure. Though you'll want to have some sushi, the locals are more likely to tuck into a large bowl of ramen or udon noodles served from street carts. Food stalls along busy neon-lit lanes also serve up takoyaki (little dough balls stuffed with octopus) or yakitori BBQ skewers.

Where to Eat:
There's a row of street stalls at the Tsukiji Fish Market (skip the touristy sushi stands); in Shinjuku, Yakitori Alley is a lane with stalls on both sides; and in Kabukicho, you'll find several takoyaki stalls.

How Much: A bowl of ramen or udon is about ¥800 ($9). Six pieces of takoyaki is ¥400 ($4.50).

Photo Caption: Yakitori Alley in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by adactio/Flickr.com
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Food stalls at Newton Circus Hawker Centre in Singapore. Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kabl1992/3340225387/" target="_blank">kabl1992/Flickr.com</a> Photo by kabl1992
Like pretty much everything else in Singapore, the street food is clean and served in an orderly fashion. The main difference is that you won't necessarily find it on the street. Instead, you're more likely to eat delicious morsels of Malay, Indian, and Chinese cuisine in government-regulated food malls and markets, which are often inside apartment buildings, office towers, and shopping centers. Despite the geographic technicality, the food is definitely "street" in style. Bonus: You won't have to worry as much about an upset stomach ruining the rest of your trip.

Where to Eat: The hundred or so stalls at the Chinatown Food Centre; satays and seafood at Newton Circus Hawker Centre; the Hill Street Food Centre for great fried rice noodles; the Muslim market at Geylang Serai; Ellenborough Market for Teochew Chinese food; the old hawker center in Maxwell Road; the Chomp Chomp Food Centre; the Lau Pa Sat Food Centre; and the People's Park Market. Visit the Makansutra blog for updates on the latest eateries.

How Much: You can eat well, including generous portions of noodles and satays, for less than $10 Singapore dollars ($7) per person.

Photo Caption: Food stands at Newton Circus Hawker Centre in Singapore. Photo by kabl1992/Flickr.com
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Escargot stands in the bustling Jemaa el Fna night market in Marrakech. Photo by Frommers.com Community
In the medina of Marrakech, you'll find plenty of souks (markets). What is a main city square by day is transformed at night into an open-air feast of food stalls, snake charmers, tarot card readers, and performers. If you're feeling adventurous, you can sample the traditional sheep's head. For the more conservative palate, tuck into brochettes or assorted fish, tagines, fried aubergine, and couscous dishes.

Where to Eat: The night market at Jemaa el Fna offers hundreds of stalls serving all kinds of Moroccan dishes at communal tables.

How Much: A bowl of harira soup may cost around 10 Moroccan dirhams ($1.10) and a vegetarian tagine around 30 Moroccan dirhams ($3.30).

Photo Caption: Escargot stands in the bustling Jemaa el Fna night market in Marrakech. Photo by Gruezi/Frommers.com Community
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Making tapiocas (crepes) in Copacabana Beach, Rio. Photo by jonathaj
Throughout Rio -- downtown, in the suburbs, and beachside -- you'll come across vendors selling all kinds of tasty morsels and beverages. The suco de açai (açai juice) and various fruit smoothies can become a little addictive, and you'll no doubt have late-night cravings for tapiocas (crêpes), assorted pastries, and caramel- or chocolate-filled churros. Cariocas (Rio natives) always know where to grab the best bites and delicious fruit drinks, so follow the locals and try traditional Brazilian street fare at rock-bottom prices.

Where to Eat: Food-and-drink kiosks along the boardwalk of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches generally stay open all night (especially in summer).The Sunday market at Praça General Osório Square has some decent eats. In Old Rio, downtown, and in the suburbs, try the street version of churrasquinhos (BBQ meat on skewers), cachorro quente (hot dogs), and the delicious pão de queijo (cheese bread).

How Much: Pão de queijo is R$2 ($1.20), and juices are R$2-R$4 ($1.20-$2.40). Churros cost R$1 (60¢), and tapiocas range from R$2-R$5 ($1.20-$3), depending if they are sweet or savory. The prices of churrasquinhos vary but usually start at R$2 ($1.20).

Photo Caption: Making tapiocas (crêpes) in Copacabana Beach, Rio. Photo by jonathaj/Flickr.com
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