Europe's Best Street Food

Fine dining is great, but five European cities have truly delicious street food with heart

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.

Here are some of the best re-fuelling treats to eat on the move...

London

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)

 

Paris

When in Paris, the crepe has to be the quintessential street food. There are hundreds of cafes, restaurants, stalls and take-away windows throughout the city all offering variations of this simple snack. Whether sucré (sweet, usually with fruit, chocolate, or jam) or salé (savory, with meats, cheese, and vegetables), it’s best to head for the boulevard Montparnasse which has a proliferation of cheap and tasty options. One of the best things about street crêpes is that they’re often still being served way into the wee hours, and let’s face it, after a late and pricey Paris night out a three Euro crepe may be just what you need. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/wallyg)

Berlin

Berliners love their currywurst (curried sausage) so much that there is even an interactive Currywurst Museum in the city — with the motto, ‘don’t worry, be curry’. Eaten by young, old, rich, and poor, the humble currywurst is so popular, it is considered to be the culinary emblem of Germany's capital city. Gloriously tasty, it is served with skin on or off, doused in curry tomato sauce, curry powder, and served with a pile of chunky chips, normally with some mayo on the side. It’s pretty simple, but hard to get ‘just’ right. You will find currywurst stands all over the city and while they’re popular post-beer, they are quite the hangover cure too, making them theultimate meaty, street treat in Berlin.

Budapest

Langos is considered by most to be the traditional street food of Budapest. Pronounced "langosh," it’s made of leavened dough that has been quickly fried in vegetable oil, brushed with fresh garlic, and then sprinkled with sea salt. Variations on toppings include cheese, sour cream, ham, and ketchup. Some of the best langos in the city can be found at the ‘Fény utca’ market, a large, central food market. These tasty bread puffs are easy to hold while wandering around and are great value too, making them the winner of the best street food snack in Budapest. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Sybren)

Vienna

If it’s a cheap, quick, and savory street snack that you’re after in Vienna, then the ‘würstelstand’ is the obvious choice; and there’s only one place to go for this traditional treat — the Würstelstand am Hohen Markt. Here, crispy skin wieners grilled to perfection with cheese are the order of the day along with spicy, smoky grillwurst. Possibly the Würstelstand of note in Vienna, this place attracts people from all backgrounds who come here for a guaranteed quality, late-night Würst — it’s open from 7 a.m. - 4 a.m. daily. Hot-dogs may never taste good again after you’ve eaten the best of the würst here. One tip, have it on a plate, rather than in a bun, and chase it with a cold beer.

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