Sampling the local street food is one of the best ways to experience a country’s culture. The nature of traveling means you’re always on the move, so the quick, portable bites you can get from the street stalls make a big impression. Mediterranean street food encapsulates the culinary cultures of several different countries, from Italy to Morocco. Here are 10 Must-Eat Mediterranean street foods to try the next time you travel.
When it comes to street food, fried food is king. When it comes to Italian food, the olive leads the way. So it only makes sense that the people of Italy would combine the two for Olive all’Ascolana: deep-fried olives stuffed with minced meat. Golden and crunchy on the outside, and tangy and savory on the inside, these fried, stuffed olives are the perfect walkable snack to pop in your mouth as you take in the sights. Check out this Food52.com Olive all’Ascolana recipe.
Another popular Italian street food is panelle. These Sicilian chickpea fritters are a common sight on the island, and they are extremely easy to make. Sicilian panelle is just fried chickpea flour that has been seasoned simply, with salt and fresh parsley. It is typical to find these golden, rectangular bites both on their own or served inside sandwich bread. MangiaBedda.com offers an easy panelle recipe for you to try at home. Discover the best Sicilian food to eat in Sicily.
Cuoppo Napoletano is the iconic Italian street food of coastal towns, like those along southern Naples or the Amalfi Coast. The land version of this Naples street food consists of fried vegetables and potato croquettes. The other version of this Naples street food, also commonly called Pesce Fritto al Cono (literally, “fried fish in a cone”), consists of a mix of fried, freshly-caught seafood such as fish, squid, and shrimp. Explore traditional Italian seafood.
The Greek souvlaki and the Greek gyro are very similar types of Greek street food, with a couple of notable differences. The first is the way the meat is cooked: souvlaki consists of chunks of skewer-roasted meat, while the meat in a gyro is sliced. The other main difference is that a souvlaki pita typically comes stuffed with french fries. That’s a dream come true in our book!
The Greeks are known (and loved) for their incredibly thin, flaky phyllo dough. One Greek street food that takes advantage of this star ingredient is bougatsa, a custard-filled pastry typically eaten at breakfast time. On the local roads of Greece, the heavenly scent of fresh, hot bougatsa can lure anyone in for a sweet, rich snack. For the perfect finishing touch, this semolina custard pastry is topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Try making this Greek pastry at home with this bougatsa recipe from OliveandMango.com.
Patatas Bravas is one of the most popular tapas in Spain. These fried potato cubes can be found on virtually any street and in any bar—especially in Madrid, where they first appeared. A simple snack, patatas bravas are drizzled with bravas sauce, a spicy red sauce also known as pimentón sauce. Some recipes peg this as a tomato-based sauce, but traditionally, the only ingredients are olive oil, smoked paprika, hot paprika, and a couple of other seasonings. This Spanish food is also sometimes topped with garlic aioli. Find an easy recipe for patatas bravas at BonAppetit.com.
Pinchitos (Pinchos Morunos)
Kebabs are an ideal street food because they’re simple and easy to walk around with. Spain’s version of shish kebabs, pinchitos, consist of skewered meat (usually pork or chicken) that has been marinated in sometimes more than a dozen spices and seasonings. Paprika, oregano, coriander, garlic, caraway, turmeric, ginger, anise, cayenne, black pepper, cardamom and Spanish saffron are just some examples of spices that can be used for this meat marinade. This Spanish food originally comes from the Moors of Northern Africa.
Delicately sliced Iberico ham is one of the jewels of Spanish cuisine in general, not just street eats. When eaten on the go, though, slices of this specialty Spanish ham are typically eaten as is, or sandwiched between Spanish bread called bocadillo. Get high quality Jamon Iberico from our online gourmet grocery store.
Maakouda are fried potato cakes that line the streets of Morocco, a North African country just south of Spain. Seasoned with onion, garlic, cumin, and herbs, these potato fritters are a golden, savory delight. Maakouda can also be eaten as a side to a main meal, or stuffed inside a sandwich. Regardless of the way it is consumed, it is a must when traveling across this fascinating country. Get the recipe from MoroccoWorldNews.com.
The most ubiquitous Moroccan street food is khobz, or Morrocan bread. It is round, flat, thick and coarse, and it is the center of Moroccan cuisine. So why is this bread so important? Travelers can grab khobz bread at any number of food stalls and enjoy it as a road snack by slathering it with honey or goat cheese. Khobz bread can also be hollowed out and turned into a pita-like pouch, stuffed with meat filling. But the reason this bread is so significant in Moroccan culture is because it is basically edible silverware. Every day, with almost every meal, Moroccans use pieces of khobz bread to soak up sauces, tagines, and bessara. Eating with one’s hands like this is more common than using actual utensils.