Urban Street Food in Europe

Posted on April 8, 2014

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After a long pause, we are back to reveal our selection of street foods in Europe. Read below to experience the best crêpes in Paris, the tastiest souvlaki in Athens, the greatest currywurst in Berlin and an unforgettable panino in Florence… Street food has become a hot travel topic for a reason! It impacts on all of the traveler’s senses, by surprise: you first smell it, then you see it… quickly after that you will most likely touch and taste it. Sometimes you even hear it simmer. Street food is one of the most important aspects of urban travel mainly because it allows people to experience the place they are visiting in a local and authentic way. It is also one of the rare cases when it is ok to eat publicly with your hands… and generally make a fool of yourself because you don’t know how to hold, bite or more generally manage this new experience!

You will find below a short explanation, videos and our personal suggestions about where exactly to experience some of the street foods of Europe. We are sorry for reducing some the “surprise” effect of the street food adventure which is very rewarding: nothing can replace the UNEXPECTED smell of sweet or spicy street treats! You can always just look for more during your urban adventure and if you get lucky, please share your findings in the comments… or on Facebook, Twitter, etc… or our urban travel group or community. Your posts and suggestions are more than welcome… we are thousands of street food fanatics!

 

Paris – LES CREPES!

Street food can’t get any better!  You probably all know about crêpes by now but I remember asking for them all around the world when I was little (back in the 80s) and getting funny looks… Flour, eggs and milk are the basic ingredients for making these thin pancakes which can be filled with either salty or sweet syrups or spreads. You first need to decide whether you prefer it really thin and crispy or a bit thicker and soft (will never get as thick as a traditional pancake but can still be pretty different from one place to another). Then, you need to let the cook know how you want it (thick or thin – soft or crispy) and what you want inside. Our personal favorites are ham, cheese and mushrooms for the salty pick (well, that was before we became vegetarian… now it’s just cheese and mushrooms) and Nutella spread for the sweet pick (we like it better than the chocolate sauce which is often too watery)…

Below is a YouTube Video by Eduardo Torres to show you or remind to you what this experience is like… Bon apétit!

… and here is where we traditionally get our first crêpe when we visit Paris:

Café REY-Bastille (when you get there, you should order your crêpe ON THE STREET, through the little stand… don’t sit in the café… that’s NOT street food!)
1 rue Fbg St Antoine
75011 Paris
 
 

Athens: SOUVALKI!

Here is another street food I remember eating since I was a kid… Meat skewers!!… and other “pita” alternatives. Pita is the bread which you can use to roll your souvlaki into. You can also add “tzatziki” (yogurt and garlic sauce), onions or fries or you can just say “apola” and they will roll your souvlaki together with all of the above! Souvlaki can be a chicken souvlaki (kotopoulo) or a pork souvlaki (hirino). Like for anything else, chicken is healthier, porc is tastier. Instead of souvlaki you can ask for “giros” in your “pita” roll. “Giros” are stripes of meat roasted on a vertical spit. Again, you have the choice between chicken or porc and you can choose what else to add in your “pita”. “Giros apola” works too!

But in order to enjoy and experience the authentic souvlaki you must know about and have seen the basic meat skewer version (souvlaki). The video below shows a couple having souvlaki in a Taverna (small local restaurant). This footage by Athens LuxuryRentals will give you a good understanding of what a basic souvlaki looks like and why children love it so much!

… and here is where we traditionally get our first souvlaki when we go to Athens:

Thanasis
Mhtropoleos 69, Monastiraki
Athens 10555
 
(In Greek: Θανάσης
Μητροπόλεως 69, Μοναστηράκι)
 
 

Florence: FOCACCIA SANDWICH – The best panino you ever had.

Friends do not visit us to stay in our beautiful apartment in Florence, nor do they come to see us to explore Tuscany, attend wine tastings and jazz concerts, or to discover renaissance and baroque art… no, the sad reality is that they come to taste that one and unique sandwich, from that one and unique place: All’Antico Vinaio. The line is long and the place has become pretty touristic, but it’s worth it. If you have been following our blog or if you are part of the urban travel community you probably know about our aversion for tourists. This is the exception to the rule. We do line up together with tourists (and other locals) for 30 long minutes to have that sandwich and that glass of wine, sitting on the sidewalk. Here is the concluding sentence of my cousin’s last email, thanking us for our hospitality last fall: “I enjoyed so much your company, Florence and the sandwich!”

Check out and meet the heroes of this family run spot thanks to this well made short video by cric crac films.

Here is the address to get to THE BEST SANDWICH EVER:

All’Antico Vinaio
Via dei Neri, 74
50122 Firenze

 

Berlin: CURRYWURST

Berlin or Hamburg? Still unsure about the origins of this hot dog with an oriental twist but you certainly have to be in the fast food mood when you decide to taste it. Sausage, ketchup and curry powder are the main ingredients and you’ll either love or hate it! We have not had this in a while since we are now vegetarians but we remember it as one of the most efficient ways to satisfy this Mac Donald desire that can sometimes unexplainably rise up even amongst the healthiest foodies! Great after a long night out, for example…

Here is how they make it… thanks Clarsonimus for the video and explanations!

And this is where we tasted our first Currywurst:

Curry36
Mehringdamm 36
10961 Berlin Kreuzberg
 
 

We know you’ll probably won’t plan your holiday in Europe according to street food but let these images, potential tastes and promising smells influence you… and if you already feel attracted to some of these treats, go get them! Tasting street foods will magically make you feel like a local.

 

 

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Posted in: Europe Travel