Delicious Southern European Street Food

Delicious Southern European Street Food

Made quickly using fresh, simple ingredients, Mediterranean street food is delicious, affordable and regionally diverse.

Mediterranean street foods are often traditional dishes that have been handed down over many generations, featuring local ingredients and influenced by factors including immigration and cultural background – in fact, there’s no better way to learn about a country than by sampling its street food and understanding its origins.

Historically street food was the preserve of the working classes, who didn’t have cooking facilities at home and certainly couldn’t afford to eat in restaurants. Sold by vendors on the streets, dishes were simple, tasty and designed to be filling, like the famous pizza Margherita from Naples, made with few ingredients (tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil and olive oil) and ready in minutes.

Today, the role of street food in southern Europe is changing: it has become fashionable. In a world where we all care about what we eat, dishes are freshly made from quality ingredients and inexpensive; street food has become a firm feature on the menus at markets, festivals and fairs across the region.

Southern French street food

The most famous street food speciality in the south of France is the Provençal socca, a thin chickpea pancake sold at street-food stalls across Nice as well as markets and fairs in surrounding villages. Traditionally cooked in a wood-fired oven, it’s a cross between a flatbread and a pancake, made from chickpea flour, water and olive oil.

In Marseille, with its African and Arabic heritage, street-food specials include spicy Merguez sausages, falafels in pitta bread and garlic-infused leblebi chickpea soup. Along with panisse chickpea fritters, they are sold from food trucks throughout the city, accompanied by boat-shaped, orange-flavoured Navette biscuits.

Street food Italian-style

Italian street food is robust, colourful and strictly regional. Various takes on bread, pancakes and pizza feature on street stalls throughout the land. From the north comes piadina, a flatbread filled with mozzarella and cured meats. In Genoa, focaccia is flavoured with olive oil, tomatoes and rosemary, while in Palermo it becomes a fluffy sfincione, topped by onions, anchovies, oregano and tangy Caciocavallo cheese.

Pizzas in Rome have a crisp, thin base, while in Naples the dough is softer and deeper. And of course, sweet street-food treats in Italy include the ubiquitous gelato ice cream, sold in flavours from mint to pistachio on street corners everywhere.

Street food in Spain

The most famous snacks in Spain are tapas, eaten in a bar with a drink, but there are many delicious foods sold on the street. Originating from Galicia in the northwest, the empanada is a hot pasty filled with cheese, mince or potatoes – or seasonal fruits for anyone with a sweet tooth.

The Basque answer to flatbread is talo, made with cornflower and sometimes filled with a txistorra pork sausage, while another popular Spanish street food is churros, a thin strip of fried dough coated with sugar and dipped in chocolate sauce. Almost as commonplace is the baguette-style bocadillo sandwich generously filled with pork loin or ham and cheese.

(*) Average meal price calculated on the basis of starter and main course or main course and dessert, excluding drinks, menu and promotional offers. The average price is an estimate only, calculated according to the prices provided by the restaurant. Depending on the country, the average price may or may not include all taxes.