Worlds best street food cites in 2024

Cendol Durian

As my name suggests not only do I obsess over, but I consider myself a street food expert. Where then does an expert think the worlds best street food cities are?

Well I will say that this was no easy list to make, but it was certainly an interesting one, particularly after I had picked my criteria.

13 best street food cities in the world criteria

Firstly I have to have been to the city. Now this might seem obvious, but you can tell from Fromers, Rough Guide and all the others that they clearly have not. Thankfully I have been to 175+ countries and territories. Alas Brazil will not currently make the list.

I have though picked 13 for this very reason. This way as I visited more street food cities I will thus be bale to add to my list.

And the last part of my criteria? Quite simply be brutally honest and do not in any way play favorites.

Best Street Food Cities in the world (in order)

Price rating;

$ – Cheap




$$$$$ – Expensive

13) Rason – DPR Korea

I had to include at least one curve ball on this list and this is one of them. Rason is the special economic zone of North Korea and therefore where its nascent street food scene has started. What gives this its place is the amazing private market where you can buy the best and cheapest fish in the world.

Price – $

12) Shenzhen – China

Perhaps a surprise inclusion in the list, but actually very deserved. Shenzhen actually alongside Guangzhou has managed to develop and preserve their street food scenes, particularly when it comes to Kou Rou, or BBQ. Here you pick your meat on a stick and then let them cook it. It is then eaten with cheap Chinese beer.

But there is so much more to eat than this with the back streets acting like a labyrinth waiting to be explored.

Price $$$

11) Chetumal – Mexico

Chetumal is probably not as street food diverse as Mexico City, but in comparison it is not at all touristy, it os safe and its waterfront is set alight with street food salsa and party every night.

Has all the favorites you’d expect like tacos and burritos, but also so much more. I was particularly swung by chicken and chips, as well as drink that had salt, sugar, mango, strawberry, hot sauce and creme. Only in Mexico….

Price $$

10) Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia

Perhaps KL should rank higher as a best street food city, but this is no easy list to make. Another example of how a city can develop, while also preserving its street food culture.

Highlights include the markets of ….. and ….., BUT also street durian shops, which are quite literally everywhere.

Price $$$

9) Phnom Penh – Cambodia

This might shock sone, but street food Kampot and street food Battambang could have both also made this list. Now Cambodian food might not be the envy of the world, but they do great squid, fried noodles and a whole heap of other stuff.

The kicker though here is all the weird food Cambodia has. Yes I mean bugs and spiders, two things I now eat for fun rather than just a freak show.

Price $$$$

8) Rome – Italy

What can you say about the street food of Rome, other than just how amazing it is? And it manages to stay amazing and raw despite being in the EU. Obvious choices here are pasta, pizza, ice cream and the cornetti – the “Italian croissant”.

Less obvious are the dishes that arose from the Jewish ghetto, or the old mammas in the backstreets frying up offal. Rome is still one of the most exciting street food cities.

Cost $$$$$

7) Hong Kong/Macao – Hong Kong/Macao

Another two that could have come higher on the list. Principal dishes include dim sum noodles and BBQ, but it is all about the spicy balls and the curry sauce.

This stuff is so good that these two places are the only ones to have street food with Michelin Stars! Go check out Wan Chai for top street food and Chunking Mansions for curry.

Price $$$$

6) New York, USA

While many publications will spout places like Miami in reality there is only one true street food place in America and that is New York. So, where to start? Well they have the best pizza, sorry Chicago, but there is so much more than that.

Chief among the “more” I would say is that they actually have Tre street food in carts, kiosks and trucks. I reminisce about many a drunken night get all manor of street food from quite literally everywhere in world on the streets of Manhattan. And this is without even getting into hot dogs, pickles and vodka on Coney Island……

Price $$$$ (not the most expensive on the list).

5) Bangkok – Thailand

When it comes to the best street food city sin the world there is not a single list that does not include Bangkok. So, where to start? Pad Thai, Thai curry and of course squid, few places BBQ squid quite like they do in Bangkok.

And then there is the eclectic nature of Chinatown and of course how could we forget the Khao San Road which has everything rom ice spinning ice frozen Fanta to crocodile on a stick!

Price – $$

4) Haikou/Sanya – Hainan China

OK, so Hainan is an island, but I could not separate Sanya, or Haikou by much, therefore one entry. AS you might have guessed it is all about the seafood here, which starts high end and finishes on the street.

And this is where it rocks, classic Chinese BBQ, but with huge pieces of fish and seafood for them to BBQ for you. Cooked as spicy as you like and frankly out of this world.

Price – $$$$

3) Hue – Vietnam

Hue is both unlucky and lucky to come third. In fact I could have filled most of the list with Vietnamese cities with Hue just beating Hanoi.

What tips Hue above the line is that it was and is the culinary capital of Vietnam, which means many more things to try, as well as being the home of Bun Bo Hue. And of a nighttime there are quite literally street food markets everywhere, which range from very touristy to down, dirty and local. One of my favorites was actually at the Rong Kluea Market (a second hand clothes market) which also did us a cracking job at feeding us.

Cost – $$

2) Pacific Islands – Pacific Islands

Again not a city, but I can throw a few in if you need, Koror, Nauru, Tarawa. And what makes these places so great? One word and that is tuna.

This is where the best tuna in the world comes from, but before it is sold on the world stage. That makes this the epicentre for the best value raw tuna in the wold. Served in a while heap of ways and quite literally worth the trip itself.

If you have not already check out MY Least Visited Countries Tour.

Price – $$$

1) Saigon – Vietnam

    Number one, the king of the castle is none other than Saigon, or as the cool kids say Ho Chi Minh City. When we say Saigon though we very much mean District 1 and where the party is.

    So, why does Saigon win? Quite simply because the best street food in the world is in Vietnam and the best street food in Vietnam is in District 1. And not just that, but because of the international feel here, it is also perhaps the most diverse.

    What to have and where to go? This would be a LONG question to answer, so I will throw up some obvious ones like “pho” and banh mi. As to where? There are streets literally devoted to street food, such as Ben Nghe Street Food Market among numerous other gems.

    Cost – $$

    And that is The Street Food Guys advice on the best street food cities in the world, a subject we intent to exp-and upon, one city at a time…..

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