As we all know, Europe is packed with streets upon streets of art galleries, boutiques, bars, nightclubs, gardens, museums, and parks that all demand a visitor’s attention and make for busy itineraries. After building up a voracious appetite seeing all these sights, it’s all too easy to just grab the nearest sandwich going, but most European city’s excel in at least one traditional street food snack that you’d be a fool to miss out on.
Trying street food is not just about penny pinching. These quick, portable snacks also give the visitor an interesting snapshot into a city’s culinary culture. It is, after all, what many of the locals will be snacking on day and night. With very little in the way of kitchen appliances and gadgets, street food hawkers will often magic up a fantastic mini-meal from humble ingredients, and best of all, it will all be cooked in front of you.
Another bonus is that, providing you choose the right vendor — that’s generally the one with the long line — the food has a very high turnover so it’s nearly always freshly made. As a rule, many street vendors hawking local delicacies can be found at farmer’s markets, Christmas markets, general food markets, around railway stations, and at trucks and stands around business districts.
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Worth a visit for the name alone, Tubby Isaacs, located in Spitalfields, is a London institution. A family-run business, for the past 90 years they’ve been offering up all manner of seafood to hungry Londoners, but are best known for their jellied eels. Located in a part of London where seafood used to make up a big part of local’s diets, buying a little jar of jellied eels doused in vinegar, and preferably dusted with black pepper, from their stand helps to keep this living history alive. Why not shun traditional fatty, fast-food and have a healthy treat from the sea instead? (Photo courtesy of Flickr/habeebee)