PRESENTING: The Best Cities For Street Food

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Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

This post originally appeared at Food & Wine.

With traffic jams of trendy food trucks piling up in American cities, it’s easy to overlook the rich global history of street food. Dating back to the food hawkers of ancient Rome (with some centuries-old outdoor markets, like the Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech, still standing today), street food has long played an exciting role in cuisines throughout the world.

This story was originally published by Food & Wine.

1. Austin, Texas

While South by Southwest put Austin on the map for its indie music scene, the city is gaining just as much recognition for its street food. Innovations include Lucky J's fried-chicken-and-waffle tacos (wrapped in a waffle shell) and kimchi fries from Korean-Mexican fusion truck Chi'Lantro. As is the custom, vendors broadcast their whereabouts on Twitter.

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2. Bangkok, Thailand

The ultimate tourist destination for any street-food obsessive, Bangkok boasts thriving markets throughout the city, with some of the most robustly flavored street snacks coming from neon-lit Yaowarat Road in the city's Chinatown. Here, makeshift stands offer pork skewered on sugar canes; fragrant fish curries; sweet bananas deep-fried in rice-flour batter; and durian, the notoriously stinky fruit.

3. Berlin, Germany

Beer flows quickly in Berlin, so there's almost always a street-food vendor (known as imbisse) within stumbling distance. The best offerings take influence from outsiders, like Turkish doner kebabs and Currywurst--fried sausage covered in a gloppy sauce of ketchup and curry powder (ingredients sourced from British soldiers in the 1940s). The boho Kreuzberg neighbourhood is home to one of city's best-known vendors, Curry 36.

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4. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago's street food is only semi-legal, since cooking isn't allowed on carts and trucks, but that hasn't deterred operations like Gaztro-Wagon (naan-wich), The Meatyballs Mobile (meatballs) and The Southern Mac (mac and cheese) from launching trucks that assemble cooked ingredients. Although some 30 trucks have entered the race, operators still foster a positive competitive spirit withweekly meet-up events, like Food Truck Tuesdays at North and Halsted Avenues in Lincoln Park, and Food Truck Thursdays at Ethyl's Beer and Wine Dive in the West Loop. The Chicago Food Trux Twitter feed lists all the key players.

5. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam

Saigon's street foods range from the savory soup known as pho and the French colonial--influenced banh mi (pâté sandwiches on French bread) to regional southern specialties like banh xeo (stuffed pancakes) and canh chi (fish soup). A trip to the megasize Ben Thanh Market could yield spring rolls, spices and a knockoff handbag.

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6. Hong Kong, People's Republic of China

Visitors flock to the jam-packed night market on Temple Street in the Kowloon neighbourhood to feast on cheap hot pots, curried fish balls and fried seafood like squid, prawns and oysters. This is also the city for adventurous finds such as skewers of stinky tofu and organ meats.

7. Istanbul, Turkey

Turkish doner kebabs can be found in nearly every city in Europe. But Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, offers many more quick foods, with specialty kiosks scattered throughout the city hawking börek (flaky pastry), simit (ring-shaped sesame bread that recalls a pretzel) and kumpir (baked potatoes stuffed with anything from ketchup and pickles to olives and sausage).

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8. Los Angeles, California

Credit Los Angeles for kickstarting the US food-truck craze, which followed the success of F&W Best New Chef 2010, Roy Choi's Kogi Truck and its Korean tacos. You can now find almost any kind of casual food on wheels: dim sum, grilled cheese and even Top Chef Masters alum Ludo Lefebvre's fried chicken and honey-lavender biscuits from his truck Ludo Bites. Diners locate vendors on sites like Mobi Munch and TruxMap.

9. Marrakech, Morocco

Filled with tapestries, hookahs and ceramic tagines, the centuries-old markets of Marrakech have long been the global destination for chefs seeking specialty spices, grains and flavorful meats. The main square, Djemaa el Fna, is packed with food stalls selling ladles of escargots, skewers of seasoned meats and harira (lentil and chickpea soup), plus bulk bags of dried fruits and nuts.

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10. Mexico City, Mexico

There's no denying the appeal of a good taco, but the Mexican capital has plenty of other great antojitos (street snacks), such as roasted elotes (corn on the cob), fried corn masa huaraches and cornmeal cakes known as tlacoyos. Food stalls can be found throughout the city, or centrally located in the bustling markets of Mercado San Juan, in the Cuauhtémoc borough, and La Merced, in the La Merced neighbourhood.

Check Out All The Entire List At Food & Wine

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