EAT LIKE A LOCAL
World's Best Street Food
The ultimate cheap eats in 14 cities around the globe.
Happily for all the travelers who make their base in the Sultanahmet district (home to the Hagia Sophia), the stalls beside the nearby Grand Bazaar can compete with any in this food-rich city. Have your pick of mussel skewers in garlic sauce, grilled corn, roasted chestnuts, and permutations of kebab too plentiful to count. (Feeling adventurous? Try the kokoreç, chopped lamb intestines seasoned with hot pepper and oregano.)
Street Smarts: Bring your own plates and utensils. Illness is often spread through improper washing; this is one way to cut the risk. If you see locals doing the same, consider it a must.
11. Tel Aviv
Mouthwatering falafel abounds throughout the Middle East, but this waterfront city is also home to a unique treasure: the Iraqi Jewish specialty of sabich, a pita sandwich stuffed with fried eggplant, chopped hard-boiled egg, and pickled cabbage and beets. To get right to the source, head to the stands of neighboring Ramat Gan, where the dish was invented.
For centuries, Thai food sellers operated out of boats along the canals that formed the city's main transportation system. In recent years, roadside cafés have all but supplanted the custom, but at Taling Chan floating market on the western edge of the city, vendors still grill fish and steam crabs directly on their boats every weekend from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Street Smarts: Fruits and vegetables with edible skins are only as safe as the water they've been washed in, so stick to the ones that you can peel yourself (like bananas).
The narrow alleyways of the city's Old Quarter yield a treasure trove of breakfast delicacies for the jet-lagged traveler. Street vendors set up as early as 5:30 a.m. to prepare sweet green rice wrapped in banana leaves, sesame- and coconut-filled dumplings in ginger syrup, and rich coffee poured over sweetened condensed milk (but watch the ice).
In its many hawker centres (or food courts), such as Chinatown's Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore delivers a civilized street-food experience—complete with table service. Patrons can usually ditch their belongings at one of the marked tables, browse the offerings (ranging from Chinese fish ball soup to spicy Malaysian pork-rib prawn noodles), and give their table number at the counter.