The World’s BEST Cheap Street Foods (& Where to Find Them!)

Sampling street foods is not only a rite of passage to travel, but one of the most exciting parts of it. The quest for the perfect snack and the joyous moment of finally sinking your teeth into it is quite simply, epic.

As chronic wanderers, we've enjoyed a shameless amount of street eats around the globe (Psst! Check our expert tips on how to not get sick while travelling here). Thousands Bajillions of calories later, we've compiled a list of our fave goodies. Here's 31 of the BEST street foods from around the world – bon appétit!

1. Empanadas

empanada cheap street food

What: A crispy dough encasing a plethora of fillings – tomato and cheese, minced pork seasoned with cumin, salty cheese, or spiced beef and potatoes. Can be deep-fried or baked and often served with homemade salsa.
Where: Found in Latin America, parts of Europe, the United States, and some of Southeast Asia
Price: $1-$3 USD

2. Crêpes

crepe cheap street food

What: A thin flour-based pancake that is cooked till lightly crisp. Can be served with sweet fillings like custard, strawberries, and/or sugar and lemon, or savoury such as ham and cheese or tuna and mayo.
Where: Originates from France, but popular worldwide, especially in French regions (e.g. Québec, North Africa, and parts of Europe). Common as street food in non-French regions (particularly Asia).
Price: $1-$5 USD (varies by country)

3. Mango Sticky Rice

Photo Credit: YWLang

What: Squishy, warm sticky rice cooked with coconut milk, palm sugar, topped with mango so soft, it melts in your mouth! Often drizzled with coconut milk and sprinkled with crispy fried mung beans or sesame seeds. An absolute treat for the taste buds!
Where: Thailand and regions that serve Thai food
Price: ~$2-$5 USD (varies by region)

4. Döner kebab

What: Possibly the most under-praised 4AM snack on earth. Seasoned meat such as chicken, lamb, or beef, is cooked slowly on a vertical spit. It is then shaved onto a plate of rice, French fries, or into a warm pita with toppings like tziztki, lettuce, pickled beet root, and more.
Where: Originally from Turkey but found worldwide. Prominent in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North America, and Australia (but findable in just about every country on earth – seriously).
Price: $1-$5 USD (varies by country)

5. Chimney Cake (kürtőskalács)

What: A spiral-shaped donut wrapped around a large spit, cooked, then rolled in sweet coatings while hot. Toppings include sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate, or sprinkles. Just as fun to pull apart as it is to dissolve in your mouth!
Where: Originates from Hungarian-speaking parts of Romania. Found in Hungary and various Eastern European countries.
Price: $1-$4 USD

6. Gyoza/Jiaozi (dumplings)

What: Chewy, pan-fried Chinese dumplings filled with ground meat and/or veggies. Often served with soy sauce, chilli, and vinegar combination or a seasoned vinegar dressing.
Where: Originally from China but popular all over Asia and found wherever Asian food is served.
Price: ~$1-$5 USD (varies by country, cheapest at street food stalls)

7. Roti

Photo credit: Alpha

What: A chewy, crepe-like pancake fried till slightly crispy. Can be eaten sweet (e.g. banana and Nutella), or savoury with curry, chopped veggies, and/or meat.
Where: Originates from the Indian sub-continent but found worldwide. Often sold at street food stalls. Found in South and Southeast Asia, the Carribbean, North America, and Australia.
Price: $1-$4 USD (varies by country)

8. Tacos

What: A corn or wheat-based tortilla wrapped around fillings like fish, meat, or veggies, with toppings like avocado or guacamole, salsa, cilantro, and onions.
Where: Originates from Mexico. Found where Mexican food is served (note: authentic Mexican tacos taste much different than Westernized ones!)
Price: ~$1-$3 USD (cheapest at food stalls)

9. Takoyaki (octopus balls)

Takoyaki cheap street food

What: A flour-based batter filled with diced octopus, tempura bits, pickled ginger, and green onion. Cooked until crispy then topped with tangy takoyaki sauce (like Worcestershire), mayonnaise, dried bonito, and shredded seaweed. Basically, sweet & savoury perfection!
Where: Originates from Japan – found at Japanese street food stalls or restaurants (e.g. Japan, Asia, and Westernized countries). We learnt how to make these with some local friends in Japan – you can actually purchase takoyaki makers (similar to a waffle maker) – and prepare these yourself at home!
Price: $3-$5 USD

10. Samosa

samosa cheap street food

What: A triangular fried pastry stuffed with savoury fillings such as seasoned potatoes, peas, lentils, meat, or noodles. Often served with a chutney (sauce) such as mint, tamarind, coriander, or yogurt.
Where: Popular in Southeast and Central Asia, Middle East, Africa, India, and Portugal. Commonly found where Asian or Indian food is served.
Price: 50 cents to $3 USD (varies by country)

11. Pretzel (brezel)

pretzel cheap street food

What: A baked bread that's pulled and twisted into a loop shape, then sprinkled with salt. Other toppings include cheese, garlic, herbs, chocolate, nuts, and more.
Where: Originates from Europe (popular in Germany), also found in North America and Westernized food chains.
Price: ~$1-$4 USD (cheapest at bakeries and street stalls)

12. Pad Thai

What: Stringy rice noodles are stir-fried in a tangy tamarind-based sauce with shrimps (or chicken/other meat), tofu, spring onion, and egg. Topped with toasted peanuts, bean sprouts, and chilli flakes.
Where: Originates from Thailand, can be found anywhere in the world serving Thai food. Thai cooking classes are common in the major cities and is a great way learn to make your favourite Thai dishes once you're back home!
Price: $1-$4 USD as a street food (cheapest at Thai street markets)

13. Taiyaki (fish-shaped cake)

taiyaki cheap street food
taiyaki cheap street food

What: A fish-shaped cake made with waffle or pancake batter. Typically stuffed with sweet red bean paste. Other fillings include vanilla custard, chocolate, sweet potato, cheese, or meat.
Where: Originates from Japan but can be found throughout Asia often at street markets.
Price: ~$1-$2 USD

14. Sliced Fruit
chopped fruit cheap street food

What: Simple and sweet – sliced fruit in a bag is a common snack throughout the globe. Some fruits are even served as a savoury treat, such as firm green mangoes with salt and/or chilli sauce.
Where: Worldwide but common in South America, Asia, and Southeast Asia.
Price: 25 cents to $2 USD a bag

15. Churros (“Spanish donut”)

churro cheap street food

What: A fried dough pastry that is crispy and sweet. Can be eaten on its own, sprinkled with powdered sugar, piped full with sweet fillings (e.g. chocolate, custard, caramel), or drizzled with sauces like chocolate.
Where: Popular in Europe and Spanish/Portugese influenced regions (e.g. parts of Africa and South America), and Westernized countries (fairly common street food).
Price: ~$1-$3 USD

16. Fried plantain

plantain cheap street food

What: This lesser-sugary relative of the banana is fried into small slices, or smashed and then fried until crispy. Can be eaten on its own or served with various dips like sour cream, mayo, ketchup, or a garlic sauce.
Where: Wherever plantains are grown including Central & South America, Africa, the Carribbean, and more.
Price: ~$1-$3 USD

17. Baozi (Asian steamed buns)

steam buns cheap street food

What: Basically an edible pillow that is just as comforting to admire in your hands as it is to eat! A warm, steamed bread bun is stuffed with various savoury fillings such as meat or veggies.
Where: Popular throughout Asia (originates from China). Commonly found in Chinatowns worldwide or where Asian food is served.
Price: 50 cents to $2USD

18. Gulab Jamun

indian sweet cheap street food

What: A sticky, sweet dessert made of a deep-fried milk dough. Once fried, the balls are soaked in a sugary syrup and sometimes then topped with chopped nuts, pistachios, or almonds.
Where: Found in South Asia (especially India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan and, Pakistan), and parts of the Caribbean, Suriname, and Guyana. Can be found where Indian food is served (i.e. worldwide).
Price: ~$1-$4 USD (varies by country)

19. Gimbap (Korean sushi)

Photo credit: Manda Wong

What: Korean-style sushi. Rice is lightly seasoned with salt and sesame oil, then wrapped with seaweed and topped toasted sesame seeds. Fillings vary including grated carrot, cucumber, danmuji (pickled radish), seaweed, tofu, egg, and/or meat.
Where: Originates from Korea but can be found where Korean food is served. If you love Korean food (who doesn't?!), we can highly recommend taking a cooking class – we did this exact cooking class in Seoul which included a tour through the city market to explain the ingredients.
Price: $1-$5 USD

20. Stroopwafel (Dutch cookie)

What: Sweet waffles are baked until crispy, then sandwiched around a chewy caramel filling. Often made fresh at markets. The Dutch often place a stroopwafel over a hot drink (with the cookie acting like a lid) – the heat of the beverage makes the stroopwafel filling perfectly warm and gooey.
Where: Originates from the Netherlands, can be found throughout Europe (most popular in the Netherlands though). We first tried it in Amsterdam's Sunday Markets – the smell of freshly made waffles will pull you from miles away!
Price: ~$1.50-$4 USD

21. Croissants

What: A buttery, flakey pastry that can be eaten on its own or spread with sweet or savoury fillings like cheese and ham, and/or Nutella or fruit jam.
Where: Originates from Europe, can be found worldwide and easily found in bakeries around the globe.
Price: 50 cents to $3 USD

22. Pide (Turkish “pizza”)

pide cheap street food

What: A doughy flatbread baked with various toppings such as ground meat, cured meat, cheese, and/or veggies.
Where: Can be found wherever Turkish food is served (basically worldwide!)
Price: $2-$5 USD (varies by country)

23. Poutine

poutine cheap street food

What: Fresh cut potato fries are topped with a rich gravy and cheese curds. The best poutines have squeaky cheese curds that squeal with each bite!
Where: Originates from Québec, Canada. Can be found in Westernized countries and places serving Canadian fare (note: cheese curds often replaced with mozzarella outside Canada, which Canucks declare a fraudulent poutine!). In Québec, some of the best places to get poutine are La Banquise, La Belle Province (a province-wide chain), or just about any place serving smoked meat.
Price: ~$3-$8 USD

24. Schnitzel

schnitzel cheap street food

What: A meat (e.g. chicken, beef, veal, pork, etc.) is pounded thin, breaded, then deep fried. Can be eaten on its own or as a sandwich with toppings like ketchup, mustard, or a squeeze of lemon.
Where: Originates from Austria, can be mostly found worldwide. Many countries have their own take on schnitzel and it is common globally.
Price: ~$4-$10 USD (varies greatly by country)

25. Spanish Tapas

What: A variety of miniature snacks, often served on sliced bread or a cracker. Combinations are endless – stuffed olives, battered squid, tiny meat-filled pastries, fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce, etc.
Where: Originates from Spain, can be found where Spanish food is served. Fairly cheap in Spain at local food markets (often more of a novelty/pricier item outside Europe).
Price: $1-$3 USD per piece

26. Candied or Spiced Nuts

candied nuts cheap street food

What: Nuts seasoned to be savoury or made sweet. Candied nuts are created by stirring nuts in a hot vat of syrup. Once cooled, the nuts have a hard, sweet candied shell.
Where: Found and created differently around the world, from Asia, North and South America, to Europe. Common as a street food stall scooped into a paper bag.
Price: $1-$3 USD per serve/bag (varies by country)

27. Pizza

pizza cheap street food

What: An oven or wood-fire stove baked flatbread topped with tomato sauce and cheese. Toppings are endless: salami, pepperoni, olives, feta, and more. The perfect 4AM snack!
Where: Originates from Italy, can be found virtually worldwide. Learn to make authentic pizza yourself – possibly one of the funnest food tours to take!
Price: $1-$5 USD (cheapest as street food e.g. by the slice)

28. Waffle

What: In Westernized countries this is a sweet, cooked batter topped with syrup and/or fruits. In Asian countries it can be found sweet or savoury with garnishes like tuna and mayo, or corn, ham, and cheese.
Where: Originates from Europe, found worldwide.
Price: ~$1-$5 USD

29. Gelato

gelato cheap street food

What: A dense Italian-style ice cream made with milk, cream, sugar, and flavoured with purées of fruit, nuts, and/or other ingredients. Typically has less fat but is more sugary than regular ice cream.
Where: Originates from Italy but can be found nearly anywhere in the world. Learn to make it yourself – after all, Italy is arguably one of the world's food capitals!
Price: ~$50 cents-$3 USD per scoop (varies greatly by country)

30. Bagel

bagel cheap street food

What: A chewy, dense bread that is stretched into a circle, boiled in water, then baked. Comes in various flavours/toppings including plain, garlic, cheese, olive, fruit, sesame seed, poppy seeds, and more. Can be served plain or with cream cheese, meats, smoked salmon, jam, or butter.
Where: Originates from Jewish communities of Poland. Common in Jewish communities worldwide, as well as bakeries around the globe (e.g. Asia, Europe, and North America).
Price: $1-$5 USD (varies greatly by country)

31. Hot dogs/Sausages

hot dog cheap street food

What: A cooked sausage filled with meat trimmings, fat and spices like paprika, garlic and salt. Typically grilled or steamed and garnished with ketchup, mustard, mayo, onions, lettuce, pickled peppers, and more.
Where: Originates from Germany but can be found virtually anywhere worldwide.
Price: 50 cents to $3 USD (varies greatly by country)

And there you have it, some of the best street food in the world! Have you tried them all? Did we miss any of your favourites?