Travelling across the world has never been so easy as it is today. And in addition to discovering new horizons and cultures, travelling also means exploring fresh culinary flavours. Here is a list of 13 must-try international snacks.
You will find samosas virtually anywhere in Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, and even in parts of Africa. In Pakistan, these yummy fried, savoury-filled triangles include a filling of minced meat, vegetables or lentils and are more or less spicy depending on the region in which you find yourself. Samosas, paired with chutney or yoghurt dips, are a delicious snack you should try.
As large as South America is, it is not surprising that one will encounter different variations of certain food items, with several ingredients serving as the base for all the varieties. For example, maize flour is not only used in tortillas in Mexico but also arepas in Venezuela and Colombia. Somewhat similar to pita bread, arepas are corn flatbreads filled with eggs, cheese, grilled meat, veggies, chicken or fish. They’re great as a filling breakfast or an afternoon snack.
Koeksisters, South Africa
Koeksisters are probably one of the most iconic South African treats. These Afrikaner confectioneries are made of fried dough soaked in a cold sugar syrup. With a golden crispy crust, these snacks will finish you off with their gooey centre and sweet taste – you will be coming back for seconds.
Present in Greece, Cyprus, Turkey (where they are named lokma), and other places in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, loukoumades are delicious balls of fried dough drizzled with honey or syrup. A tasty treat, loukoumades are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea and are the ultimate sweet snacks to try while in Greece. One of the top places to sample them is Lukumades, located in downtown Athens, where you will find these scrumptious “doughnut holes” available with innovative fillings.
The rich diversity of Brazilian cuisine makes it a haven for food lovers. Its unique mix of indigenous ingredients with Portuguese and African influences is undeniably one of its strong points, and coxinhas are probably one of the best reflections of this fact. Readily available just about anywhere, they are tasty teardrop-shaped croquettes filled with shredded chicken meat, though you can also find cheese coxinhas for those of you who are vegetarian. Served in bars, coffee shops, bakeries and street fairs, they perfectly complement a tall glass of beer.
Vada Pav, India
India is such a huge country – complete with a plethora of regions, each of which has its distinct cuisine – that it is somewhat of a Herculean task to choose just one snack to try. However, since it boasts a fantastic street food culture, the best bite perfectly suitable for vegetarians is vada pav. Of Maharashtrian origin, this humble street food, also called an Indian burger, consists of a spicy, deep-fried potato patty sandwiched in a bread bun. Usually served with chutneys, it is a delicious and simple snack on the go.
Stroopwafels, The Netherlands
A native of the Dutch town of Gouda, famous for its cheese, stroopwafels (or syrup waffles) are simply one of the most underrated sweet snacks in the world. Consisting of two thin layers of wafers filled with a caramel-like syrup in the middle, they are usually enjoyed with tea or coffee. You will find them in bakeries or at street stands.
Among the many fascinating things that you will discover and explore in Japan, food is definitely one of them, especially when it comes to street food. As such, taiyaki is a classic among street food snacks that you will encounter. These warm, filled cakes, shaped like a fish and made with a pancake-like dough, are stuffed with azuki, a sweetened red bean paste present in many Japanese treats. Don’t roll your eyes though. If you are not sure about bean paste, there are other filling options, such as custard, chocolate or even matcha.
Plantain chips, almost everywhere in Africa
Plantains, a starchier banana, are a staple in many African countries. As such, these lip-smacking treats are ideal for long journeys and are simply delicious. These crispy chips, made from unripe plantains fried in hot oil, can be eaten hot or cold and are sold in the streets.
Popular in the South American continent and Spain, empanadas are mouthwatering snacks ideal for any occasion. In Argentina, you will find baked and fried variations, though the standard form is a wheat dough pastry stuffed with beef. Vegetarians will enjoy empanadas stuffed with onions, spinach, cheese or boiled eggs, and those who like sweet treats will go mad for the dessert varieties, filled with fruits.
Meat pies, Australia
An iconic snack in Australia and New Zealand, meat pies are hand-sized pies stuffed with minced meat, gravy, mashed potatoes or onions and mushrooms. Often consumed while watching a sports game, these snacks from Down Under have a strong connection to Australian sports culture. However, don’t limit yourself, and enjoy it anytime you need a hearty and filling snack while visiting the land of ‘roos.
A refreshing and delicious snack to eat on the go in the busy streets of Kuala Lumpur or even on the beach is rojak, a delightful, sometimes spicy, fruit salad. There are many variants that can include vegetables, tofu and sometimes cuttlefish or shrimp. Providing a delicious snack that is sweet, spicy, soft and crunchy, rojak is definitely a must-try when visiting Malaysia.
Spelled ghoraibi, ghraybeh, gorayba, ghrybe or sometimes grhybe, (though all pronounced ghri-bee), these butter almond cookies are a favourite not only in Lebanon but also across the Middle East. Perfect with a warm beverage, these little treats have just the right amount of sweetness thanks to the blanched almonds. Often served as wedding treats, they are readily available in bakeries and are ideal after a sightseeing session.