ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul places seventh on virtualtourist.com’s ‘Top Ten Best Street Food Cities’ list on the strength of its street food. Editors of the website particularly note the tastiness of Istanbul’s simit and kebabs
İstikal Avenue and the nearby Eminönü area have some of the most delicious street food in Istanbul, the site says.
Istanbul came in seventh place in the “Top Ten Best Street Food Cities” list, voted for by the members and editors of travel website VirtualTourist.com.
Referring to Istanbul, the website said: “It’s not hard to imagine why a city that straddles two continents is a must-see stop for street food. From the visually-striking stalls selling döner (lamb, chicken, or beef on a vertical skewer) to the balık ekmek (fish sandwiches) sold off of boats, one of the greatest attributes of Istanbul’s street food is the variety of options. Mornings can start with simit, a ring-shaped bread topped with toasted sesame seeds and akin to a crisper bagel, afternoons begin with a kebab, and a snack of midye dolma (stuffed mussels) is a great break from site-seeing. Two locations noted for their street food are the beginning of İstikal Caddesi in Taksim, and near the Galata Bridge in the Eminönü area if you’re hankering for a fresh fish sandwich.”
The first place in the list went to Thai capital Bangkok. “Few places in the world, if any, are as synonymous with street food as Thailand. For the variety of locations and abundance of options, we selected Bangkok, Thailand, as our number one spot for street food. Bangkok is notable for both its variety of offerings and the city’s abundance of street hawkers,” said the website.
Marrakech and Singapore
The second place went to Singapore with food, with the website saying: “Singapore’s cuisine is reflective of its interesting position in Southeast Asia and the multi-cultured mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Peranakan (Straits-born Chinese that intermarried with Malays) citizens who call the island home. The city’s specialties include Hainanese Chicken Rice, comprised of steamed chicken with a jelly-like layer with rice, cucumbers, chilies, and pounded ginger; chili crabs, which come slathered in a garlicky and fiery paste; laksa, a spicy Peranakan (Chinese & Malaysian) noodle soup; and satay, skewers of marinated and grilled meats served with a peanut sauce.”
Penang, Malaysia is one of the surprising inclusions in the list. Penang is a small state and island on the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and is considered one of the top gastronomic spots in Asia.
Marrakech placed fourth in the list, and is particularly famous for fresh squeezed orange juice, followed by eggplant, kebabs, and brochettes in the afternoon.
Perhaps surprisingly, Palermo in Sicily is world-renowned for its cuisine, but the country’s culture appreciates sitting and relaxing over a meal, so although Sicilian pizza and gelato have a serious corner on the “To Go” food market. However, one VirtualTourist member was extremely passionate that her best street food experience was in Palermo, Sicily. Of the city’s fried delicacies, the member recommended arancini (fried rice balls stuffed with meat sauce and cheese), crocche (Fried potato balls), panelle (friend chick peas pancake), and cardoni (fried cardoon), with panelle and cardoni as her favorites for their sour aftertaste. A typical Palermitano snack is “panino con la milza,” or spleen sandwiches, available plain. In addition to these specialties, it’s still a great spot to get classic quick Italian foods like coffee granita. Sixth place in the list was taken by Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
Vietnamese cuisine has experienced a significant boost in reputation recently. Similar to the other Southeast Asian destinations, the street food in Saigon embraces a mixture of cultures, primarily the city’s French
colonial background with Vietnamese spices and ingredients. In addition to Vietnamese standards of pho and bánh mì, some other notable dishes include com tam (cooked broken rice) with a fried egg on the top, Bo La Lot (seasoned beef in a leaf), and spring rolls. A member noted that no matter what com tam dish you get, it will always be served with nuoc mam (fish sauce), and since each street food stall usually makes their own, people will often choose which stall to return to based on their nuoc mam. Eighth place went to Mexico City. “While Mexican cuisine in other countries has sadly been oversimplified to the taco and quesadilla, a quick stroll around the Mercado San Juan, the La Merced, or Centro Histórico in Mexico City will open your eyes to a variety of antojitos (street snacks) available,” VirtualTourist.com said. Brussels, Belgium took ninth place and Beachside Ceviche in Ambergris Caye, Belize took tenth place in the list.