The Daily Telegraph - Travel
Street food holidays
Experiencing the aromas and tastes of street food in the company of local people is one of the greatest joys of travel. Street food culture thrives in warm countries, where eating outside is a pleasure, so it’s no surprise that most tours head for the pavement cafes and street stalls of Vietnam and India, the souks and bazaars of Istanbul and Marrakech, and the colonial plazas and roadhouses of Ecuador, Mexico and Cuba. Others are to less obvious destinations such as the market squares of Crete or the Irrawaddy Delta in Burma. Here are 10 great street food adventures. Many Mexican dishes are based on corn tortillas, below, dipped into zingy salsas. Cover image: a fruit vendor in Hoi An, Vietnam hard to find, so being escorted by a home-grown foodie is ideal.
Esencia Experiences (07793 451652; esenciaexperiences.com) has a 10-day food tour from £2,650 including all meals.
The temple towns of TamilNadu
Dishes such as masala dosa and idli are originally from Tamil Nadu, where pilgrims feast on fabulous fast-food vegetarian thalis of multiple dishes served on banana leaves at hundreds of street-stall cafes. The cuisine turns non-vegetarian in Chettinad, where trade and travel have given the local villagers a taste for spicy meatballs and fried chicken, and in Pondicherry a French fusion influence lives on.
Chris is leading a 10-day Discover Tamil Nadu’s Culture and Cuisine tour from Cazenove+Loyd (020 3813 5082; cazloyd. com) which costs £3,895 and combines street food experiences with luxury travel.
The bazaars of Istanbul
The bazaars of the old city host stalls and hole-in-the-wall joints offering mezes of small hot and cold dishes with tantalising flavours served with oven-warm bread, and chargrilled kebabs, slow-cooked stews or fresh fish grilled with a brush of oil and a squeeze of lemon. It’s a heady mix of Ottoman and Mediterranean flavours spiced up with pul biber (dried red pepper flakes), lemony ground sumac and dried thyme.
Culinary Back Streets (0090 5366203844; culinarybackstreets.com) offers Istanbul culinary walks from £85, including all meals and snacks.
From Quito to cloud forests in the Andes
Ecuador is emerging as a Latin American culinary destination to rival Peru. In the capital, Metropolitan Touring runs “Live Quito Like a Local” culinary tours of the San Roque market neighbourhood, combined with lunch in the restored Casa Gangotena. Breakfast on green plantain scrambled with achiote (a The Djemaa el-Fna in Marrakech, right, is street-food heaven; vegetable stalls in Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh City, below
Chris Caldicott, food and travel writer Culinary colour and custom abound on these appetising tours of market stalls, bustling souks and pavement cafes
spicy paste) and snack on shrimp empanadas before returning to the hotel for llama spring rolls, shrimp and coconut milk ceviche and cloud forest yams with ají (a spicy sauce). Metropolitan Touring (020 3371 7096; metropolitantouring.com) offers a Live Quito Like a Local tour which costs $221.
Off the beaten track in Central India
A cup of milky cardamom and ginger-infused tea is one of the great pleasures of a journey through Central India. Spicy snacks of vegetable samosas, potato bondas and crispy cauliflower pakoras improve things further. Curries of aloo ghobi and channa masala and sweets dripping with rose water have to be consumed on the spot.
The Ultimate Travel Company (020 3131 5588; theultimatetravelcompany. co.uk) has a 17-day Colours, Forts and
The café culture of Crete
The weekly markets in the fishing ports and mountain villages of Crete are piled high with fresh produce: figs, lemons, olives, honey, artisan cheeses, wine and olive oil, and clouds of blue smoke rise from dozens of makeshift barbecues roasting skewers of succulent pork souvlaki. Bakeries supply kuuri bread sprinkled with sesame seeds and irresistible flaky, savoury pastry spanakopita pies.
MasterChef Travel by Cox & Kings (020 3811 0642; coxandkings.co.uk) runs a seven-day Hidden Gems of Crete tour from £1,395, departing on May 6 and October 7.
The Irrawaddy Delta, Burma
Locals have their morning mohinga (lemon grass and rice noodle soup) squatting on plastic stools in Rangoon. At ferry stops along the Irrawaddy Delta, split pea fritters are served with chopped onion, a squeeze of lemon and garlic, ginger and chilli dipping sauce. In the spice markets, zesty dhouo pomelo salads, Chinese-style wok-fried tofu and watercress and aubergine, pumpkin and shiitake curries laced with turmeric all compete for attention.
From the souks of Fez to theMarrakech medina
The nightly market held in the Djemaa el-Fna of Marrakech is street-food heaven, packed with locals tucking into harira soup, couscous and kebabs. The labyrinthine lanes winding through the medina of Fez are lined with food stalls offering local delicacies. Sample fresh seafood sharmoolas in Essaouira and share a ras el hanout spiced tajeen with Berbers in the High Atlas.