Studying and traveling abroad takes some adjustment. New city, new culture, new cuisine…it can be a little overwhelming. Mom’s not around to cook your favorite meals and your go-to pizza place is thousands of miles away. You may be thinking, what am I going to eat? After my time abroad, I’m a big believer that street food is the best food, so here are just a few of the countless reasons why that’s what you should eat. Prepare to start a food love affair that will last a lifetime.
1. It’s delicious
Cheap and filling are great, but not at the cost of feeling nauseous and full of regret when you’re finished. As long as you haven’t wandered to a deserted, dirty part of town and the place you’ve decided to eat doesn’t seem so sketchy (though sometimes the deserted places are best! Use your judgement), your street food is probably going to be one of the greatest meals you’ve ever had in your life. And there’s just something extra tasty about a crepe that’s prepared artfully just for you on the streets of Paris.
2. It’s authentic
When you choose street food, you’re usually eating authentically. Street food is the perfect way to try the local cuisine of the place you’re visiting. Street food typically comes from locals, and they know how to do it best. You won’t want a Belgian waffle from anywhere but Belgium ever again, and don’t even think about ordering gelato anywhere but Italy. For the bigger cities that are rich with cultures from all around the world, you can try authentic and traditional food from all different countries right in one place, like at the diverse markets in London, where I’ve had the best pad thai of my life!
3. It’s cheap
Street food is cheap. Much cheaper than a sit-down restaurant. Not to mention there is no confusion over whether or not to tip your waiter (wait, what’s the deal with tipping in this country?), because there is no waiter! Just a straightforward exchange of cold-hard cash for heavenly food. Most street cuisine will cost less than 10 USD, which anyone studying abroad throughout most of Europe will tell you is a steal (like Langos for two dollars in Budapest!)
4. You get good value for your money
Okay, so it’s cheap. What makes street food such a deal is the value for your money. Your portions are generous and fulfilling. You’ll get a full meal out of this for way less than the price of dining out. An authentic Doner Kebab from the Turkish neighborhood in Berlin will keep you fueled all day long for only six Euro, so you have more money to spend at the biergarten!
5. It supports local small businesses
Sure there’s a McDonald’s in almost every country in the world, but do you really need to cough up your precious coins to the big guys? Street food promotes entrepreneurship and spending locally. By choosing a street food vendor you are helping small business owners grow. You can eat a burger when you get home, so go ahead and try the Trdlnik from that Czech family-run stall in Prague (shown above!)
What street food are you looking forward to trying when you go traveling? Do you have any favorites that you recommend? Let us know in the comments.
Great photos to go with great advice! I agree completely–street food is a great way to go while traveling. And you often get to meet interesting people in a way you don’t when you’re tucked away in a restaurant. Good things all around!
Awesome point Katie. Are you hungry thinking about this now? I am!