Here at the Veggie Vagabonds HQ we believe one of the best ways to experience a country is to sample its street food. Whenever and wherever we travel we love to explore with our taste buds, finding never before tasted delights that can sometimes prove a bit odd but none the less exciting! That’s why we have compiled this list of The Best Vegan Street Food in the World Pt. 1 in homage to street food around the world. Being vegan it can sometimes feel like we miss out on such an essential part of a country’s culture by not being able to indulge in everything. We hope that this list will help all you vegan wanderers out there who want to make a beeline for some scrumptious road-side eats! Here is just a taster of some of the best vegan street food in the world, we’ll be bringing you more food based worldly wonders in the future but for now here is The Best Vegan Street Food in the World Pt. 1 tried and tested from across the globe. Let us know what you think of the list in the comments below!

çiğ köfte, Turkey

The Best Vegan Street Food Pt. 1

What: çiğ köfte
Where: Turkey
By: Amanda Burger, Burger Abroad
The tastiest street food I’ve had the pleasure to eat on my travels is definitely çiğ köfte (pronounced chi-kuf-tay), a popular Turkish food. This tasty vegan meatball snack can be found freshly made in small food stands in all cities both large and small all over Turkey. It’s not only tasty, it’s also quick to grab and really easy on the wallet
Historically, çiğ köfte was actually a raw meat dish, the word çiğ means raw and the word köfte means meatball, so it was essentially a raw meat snack. However, since it’s now a widely served fast food around the country, and raw meat proved to be unsafe, it is now all made completely vegan, which makes it both safe and cruelty-free.
The mock meat is a mixture made from ground bulgar wheat, tomato paste, and various spices.The spiciness of the meat can vary, but most street stands make it fairly mild. It’s hand-rolled into tiny, somewhat oddly-shaped, meatballs and then served on fresh crunchy lettuce leaves, accompanied by fresh lemons and sweet and savory dipping sauces with interesting flavors such as nar ekşi sos, a sour pomegranate sauce.
The fun begins as you assemble your meatballs, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and sauce into the lettuce and fold into a little lettuce wrap and eat it! No utensils or plates required. It’s nutritious, filling, and most deliciously addictive!

Sweet & sour tempeh, Bali

The Best Vegan Street Food Pt. 1
What: Sweet and sour tempeh
Where: Bali, Indonesia 
By: Julianna Barnaby
Of all the street food in Bali, one of my favourites has to be sweet and sour tempeh – a richly flavoured, hearty dish using traditional Indonesian ingredients. It’s served in a lot of warungs across the island: I had it from a small shop come street food stall on my way to Luhur Batukaru Temple – having forgotten breakfast, I was starving by the time lunch came around and just stopped at the first place that was open. So glad I did.
I hadn’t come across tempeh before travelling to Bali – like tofu, it’s made from soybeans, but in tempe the fermented beans are left whole, giving it a lot more bite and texture. It’s a traditional Balinese food and can be a little difficult to find outside of Indonesia, but if you get a chance to try it, you definitely should.
Simple, flavourful and totally moreish.
Sweet and sour tempeh is exactly how it sounds: an irresistible combination of sweetness from palm sugar and sour lime juice, blended with a number of other yummy ingredients like lemongrass, chillies (it’s a little bit spicy) and garlic. They deep fry the tempeh (look, I never claimed it was healthy, just delicious), toss in the sweet and sour dressing and serve.

Churros, Spain

The Best Vegan Street Food Pt. 1
What: Churros
Where: Madrid, Spain
Cost: €1-2
By: Sam & Veren, Alternative Travelers
While Spain doesn’t have much in terms of street food, luckily for us vegans, what does exist is quite vegan-friendly! Spanish churros (a bit different from the Mexican kind) are naturally vegan and a delicious, filling treat. Churros are a popular breakfast treat and snack, loved by everyone both young and old. Churros are basically fried dough, containing only flour, water, and salt. In Spain, churros are thin and twisted into a thin oval shape. Many stands will also offer porras, which are like churros except fatter and less crunchy. Both versions are quite greasy of course, since they are deep fried!
Both churros and porras are served hot and usually with a cup of dipping chocolate (be careful though – the chocolate may not always be vegan as some places add milk to the chocolate). Churros are quite cheap, around 1-2 euros for an order.
Churro stands can be found on the streets throughout major cities and at local carnivals and festivals (of which there are many in Spain). There are also many churrerías, or stationary churro establishments, if you prefer to eat your churros seated rather than on the go.
In Madrid, you can find churros with dark dipping chocolate at the Churrería Los Artesanos 1902.

Lugaimat, United Arab Emirates

The Best Vegan Street Food Pt. 1
What: Luqaimat/lugaimat
United Arab Emirates
Aneesha Rai, Om Nom Nirvanna
Luqaimat/lugaimat is an Emirati sweet found in multiple places around Dubai & the UAE; depending on where you are. You will find them in the older parts of the city, such as in the Al Bastakiya area in Bur Dubai, which is the historical hub. You will also find them prepared on the food street in Global Village; which is a fair on the outskirts of the city. Because street food is found far and few between (due to strict municipality regulations), finding these have become increasingly rare; but if you’re a vegan willing to travel far and wide, you will find this tasty street food eat.
If you don’t, a variety of Emirati restaurants do serve them. I’d recommend Seven Sands in Jumeirah Beach Residence(also known as JBR), especially if you’re located in the newer part of the city.
However, I must say nothing compares to watching traditionally veiled Emirati women fry these little doughballs in a huge vessel filled with oil until they are golden and crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.
Think – doughnut holes, but completely vegan without butter, eggs or milk. They then sprinkle date syrup atop it and may add sesame seeds. This recipe is completely vegan and a really traditional sweet you can indulge in! Eat them piping hot to truly enjoy them!

Dango, Japan

The Best Vegan Street Food Pt. 1
What: Dango
WhereKamakura, Japan
Cost: 500 yen ($4.50)
By: Laura, Vegan vs Travel
The most incredible vegan street food I’ve ever found on my travels was in Kamakura (a seaside city just outside of Tokyo). It’s called ‘dango’ and they are chewy balls made of rice flour. It cost about 500 yen (roughly $4.50), which is kind of pricey for street food but when it comes to Japan this is cheap! Plus it was so dense it filled me up for hours. The perfect snack to try before exploring Kamakura’s famous sites like the giant Buddha and the bamboo forest.
What I especially liked about dango was that it is ‘accidentally vegan’ aka a food that hasn’t been made and marketed specifically for vegans, it’s just a tasty food that happens to have no animal products in it.
I love this because you get to experience real authentic Japanese food without any alterations.
Be careful though, dango comes in all different flavours and sometimes there will be a honey flavoured one, so watch out for that. Personally, I went for rose because a) it was pink and pretty and b) I wanted to try something different. It really was different! The combination of an extremely dense food that tasted like a flower was strange – but in a good way. Welcome to Japan!

Som Tam, Thailand

The Best Vegan Street Food Pt. 1
What: Som Tam (green papaya salad)
Where: Thailand
Cost: 30 bhat, £0.70
By: Allan, Live Less Ordinary
Thai food can be tricky for vegans, which is often to do with the prominent use of fish sauce, which it’s pretty much a substitute for salt. So it is never easy knowing if a soup or a curry has been seasoned with fish sauce. Therefore a couple of handy phrases to get by include “Mai Sai Nam Pla” (without fish sauce) and “Kin Jay” (I eat vegan). At the same time, Thailand offers some unbelievable salads, and Som Tam Green Papaya is one of those must-eat staples in the Kingdom.
This rather extreme salad smashes and fuses together strips of unripe green Papaya, with fiery birds-eye chillies, and a sour mix of tamarind water and fresh lime juice. Then it is often sweetened with a taste of palm sugar, which I personally skip on for a hot and sour version, and a small handful of peanuts for crunch.
So to order the vegan-friendly Papaya Salad ask for either “Som Tam Jay” or ask for “Mai Sai Nam Pla” and “Mai Sai Koong Haeng”, which means without fish sauce and dried shrimp. This is one of my favourite and most common Thai dishes found at Bangkok Street Food (around 30 Baht) and is typically served alongside sticky rice (around 10 Baht). 

This is only a taster of some of the best vegan street food in the world. We had so many entries we couldn’t include them all so we’re going to hit you with part 2 in the not too distant future. What do you think of the list? Have you tried any of these tasty treats? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and get in touch if you wanna be featured in part 2 of the the best vegan street food in the world!

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