Travel & Street Food: The Soul of a Country

Darnell Lamont Walker
4 min readApr 13, 2021


Norman, a great friend, unquenchable foodie, and hundred-proof photographer from the Philippines, says, “you know the soul of a country by eating its street food.” Because I’ve eaten the street foods in every country I’ve visited — even Japan, who seemed to pride themselves on not having as much street food as china — I have to admit he’s right.

Stationary carts in Tai O, push carts in Miraflores, small trailers in Mexico City, and literal hole-in-the-walls in Durban teach me more about the world and its people than Ms. Smith’s Social Studies class ever did. These classrooms don’t care if I drop rice on the floor or slurp too loud. Those in charge don’t mind that I talk too much, even as others are learning. And if it’s not raining, I’ll always find a stoop, a bench, a curb, or large flower pot nearby to park myself and think about nothing but the bites.

Woman Selling Grilled Root Crops

This list is for those with adventurous tongues; those who carry passports in their cheeks and get them stamped on every random corner with “something sweet.” This list is for those who, like me, only carry cash while traveling for the food trucks and the stories that come with them. This list is for those to live & love to eat.

1. Bangkok, Thailand.
Foods To Try: Boat Noodles + Kluay Tod + Som Tam + Khao Kha Moo + Moo Ping + Guay Teow + Massaman Gai + Mango Sticky Rice (My absolute favorite)

Thai Street Food | by Todor Kamenov

2. Istanbul, Turkey.
Foods To Try: Kokorec + Islak Burger + Gozleme + Boza (a drink)

Grilled Kebabs of Turkey | TRAVEL INN TURKEY CO. LTD

3. Durban, South Africa.
Foods To Try: Bunny Chow + Grilled Prawns + Roti + Boerewors + Biltong

Durban Bunny Chow | Trover

4. Marrakech, Morocco.
Food To Try: Sheep Head + Harira + B’Stilla + Snails + Ma’qooda + Sheep Heart + Chebakia + Orange Juice (the best in all the world!) + Tangine

Marrakech Street Food | WORLD WANDERING KIWI

5. Hong Kong.
Food To Try: Stinky Tofu + Curry Fish Balls + Grilled Squid Tentacles + Roasted Chestnuts + Egg Waffles + Sui Mai + Stewed Organs In A Pot

Egg Waffles. South China Morning Post

6. Mumbai, India.
Food To Try: Vada Pav + Bhelpuri + Sev Puri + Pav Bhaji + Chai (Of Course) + Pani Puri + Mumbai Sandwich

Mumbai Street Food | HungryForever.Com

7. Lima, Peru.
Food To Try: Guinea Pig + Papa Rellena + Picarones + Arroz Con Leche (mmmm!) + Cow Heart + Baby Goat Mollejas + Ceviche

Lima Street Food | Pariwana Hostel

8. Manila, Philippines.
Food To Try: Kwek Kwek + Helmets & Adidas + Fish Balls + Palabok + Sotanghon + Taho + Halo-Halo + Balut (MUST!) + One Day Old Fried Chicken + Papanga Frogs

Pampanga Frogs | Mike Rivera

9. Any City, Mexico.
Food To Try: Tamales + Grilled Corn + Tortas + Horchata (best drink ever) + Tacos!!!
Warning: You won’t be able to eat tacos in your non-mexico hometown every again. Unless you’re in Cali.

Mexican Street Food | Mark Wiens (Youtube)

10. Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.
Food To Try: Picanha + Pastel De Queijo + Kibe + Bacalhau + Feijoada + Acaraje With Vatapa + Cassava Chips + Ceviche

Bahia Street Food | Owen Franken

Happy Eating. Happy Travels!



Darnell Lamont Walker

Children’s Media Writer: Nick, Jr. — Netflix — PBS — AppleTV+ — NPR & More | Death Doula | Doc Filmmaker | Explorer | @Hello.Darnell | Darnell.Walker@Me.Com