2016 was the year of “staycations,” but 2017 is all about getting off the beaten track. Be adventurous, get out of your comfort zone and experience the real, local culture of a country. One great way to experience local culture is to indulge in some of the street foods.
When trying street food, all your sense will be immersed in the culture. You will be engulfed by the smells of the spices cooking on street cart, the sounds of the locals talking in their native language, the sights of people going about their daily chores and the new tastes of the delicious local delights.
Here are 2017’s top destinations for travel and the “must-try” street food in each country.
Georgia (the country not the State)
Street food: Khachapuri
Georgia is a beautiful country full of great hospitality, stunning mountain ranges and scrumptious food. Khachapuri is a very traditional street food found throughout Georgia. This cheese filled bread is absolutely deliciously, and a cheese-lovers dream meal! The bread is leavened and shaped, usually into the shape of a boat. Three cheeses are then stuffed in the middle of the bread and a runny egg is cracked on top. The bread is baked so the cheese has melted. You can then rip the crust off and dip it into the cheese and egg. If you’re like me, and you’re not a fan of runny eggs, then just grab a spoon and mix it in with the cheese – it will turn into a scrambled, cheesy egg, perfect for bread dipping.
Street Food: Gahn Niehn Tok (also called Kauknyintok)
Myanmar is quickly changing due to the influx of tourists. To get a sense of the traditional Myanmar culture, now is the time to visit. While in Myanmar, make sure you check out the many food markets and sample some of the local cuisine. Gahn Niehn Tok is a yummy Burmese snack or desert found at most street vendors throughout Myanmar. This sweet delight is made by steaming a banana leaf stuffed with banana pieces, glutinous rice (it tastes better than it sounds), coconut cream, sugar and salt. The flavors are usually quite subtle, but the banana always melts in your mouth.
Street Food: Injera Bread with Mesir Wat
Ethiopia is definitely off the beaten track. However, this luscious country has a lot to offer the adventurous traveler – from hiking, to wildlife watching, to cultural immersion and of course the food. Injera bread is a soft flatbread prepared with teff and sourdough. The texture is similar to a pancake and can be eaten hot or cold. Injera bread goes great with the local dish, Mesir Wat. This wat is a type of curry made from spiced lentils. It’s simple, yet delicious and very filling.
Street food: Khuushuur
Mongolia is another beautiful country, with jaw-dropping scenery, great horse riding, yurt stays and amazing hospitality. Khuushuur is a delicious and filling, handheld meat pastry. The pastry is made from wheat flour dough, which is stuffed with minced or ground mutton or beef. The meat is seasoned with onion, salt, garlic and pepper. The pastry is then either pan or deep-fried. For the vegetarians, it’s also possible to get a veggie khuushuur, stuffed with a mixture of potatoes, carrots and cabbage.
Street food: Mishkak
Visiting one of the souqs (bazaars) in Oman is definitely a highlight of visiting the country. While there, make sure you try the traditional, mishkak – an all time favorite for most meat-lovers! Mishkaks are skewers of spiced, grilled meat, cooked on an open fire. Mishkak meat is usually beef, which is cut into cubes, stuck on a skewer, and then seasoned with pepper, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom while they char. Once cooked the skewers are dunked in a spicy, sour tamarind sauce.
Street food: Poutine
Okay, so Canada isn’t too much off the beaten path, but it’s definitely a country for adventure and culture. Plus, 2017 is Canada’s 150th birthday, which means lots of festivals, parties and free access to all the national parks. Poutine is Canada’s most renowned street food. This simple, yet delicious meal consists of thick cut fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. Some poutine food trucks are getting extra adventurous with their dishes by creating fusion-poutine dishes of Mexican and even curry themes.
Want to Know More?
Check out the Lonely Planet’s guide: The World’s Best Street Food: Where to Find it & How to Make it, available on Amazon.
Have you experienced some delicious, local street food on your travels? Share your scrumptious food experiences in the comment section below.