10 Best Street Foods From Around the World

Vada Pav, India
A detailed view of the popular food snack vada pav from a Jumbo King fast-food outlet in Mumbai. SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images

If you have to pick one city that epitomizes Indian street food culture, go with Mumbai (formerly Bombay). This Western coastal city is perched on the Arabian Sea, and Chowpatty Beach is the sunset destination for locals and tourists craving spicy, soul-satisfying street food [source: Dodson].

Just about everything here is going to be mind-blowing. Panipuri, bite-size balls of stuffed fried dough, are legendary in Mumbai, as is pav bhaji, a rich vegetable curry served with a crispy buttered roll. But our winner is vada pav, an iconic Mumbai sandwich.

An authentic vada pav starts with balls of spiced mashed potato dipped in a chickpea flour batter and deep-fried until golden. Next, thinly sliced green chili peppers are battered and tossed into the roiling oil. Meanwhile, soft chewy rolls are smeared with various chutneys like tamarind, mint-coriander or peanut-garlic. The roll is stuffed with one or two potato fritters, a clutch of golden chili strips and the whole beautiful mess is squished together. The result is spicy, savory and sweet and an excellent precursor to a nap.