Four Cheap Street Food Desserts

Ice Lengend, Marrakech
Ice Lengend, Marrakech

One of my favorite travel experiences is to sample an area’s best street food. Some countries are more adept at this culinary treat than others; Southeast Asia for example has elevated street food to a science. I love street food because it provides an honest, unfiltered look into the soul of a region and it doesn’t hurt that the food is usually delicious as well. Street food is a perfect budget alternative because, depending on where you are, it is the cheapest way to eat. Here are some of my favorite street food desserts that you can get for around a dollar.

Marrakech – Morocco in general is a great budget friendly destination, particularly at meal times. My best find in Marrakech was a small ice cream stand located right on the Djemma el Fna, Ice Legend. The constant line at this walkup parlor was what first drew me in. If the people who live there are eating it, then it must be good. For a modest establishment, they had an excellent range of flavors from which to chose; I first went with the orange. The choice was a good one and I found myself returning to the shop several times over the course of our trip. Cost of cone with 1 scoop – 10 dirhams/$1.16 US

Bangkok Pineapple
Bangkok Pineapple

Bangkok – Bangkok is a modern city that still manages to enjoy influences from the more far flung areas of the Kingdom. No where is this more evident than in its street food offerings. Whether it be a group of stands near the Thewet pier or one of Bangkok’s famous night markets, it is hard to go wrong with the cornucopia of options available to the hungry visitor. My favorite street food in Bangkok is probably the most simple: pineapple. For a few baht, the vendor will chop part of a fresh pineapple in front of you and deposit the pieces into a plastic bag complete with skewer to facilitate eating. I love fresh pineapple in general, but for some reason the Thai variety is the best in the world. A natural candy, the pineapple found here is so sweet that you wonder if it wasn’t coated in sugar. This refreshing snack is perfect on a hot and humid Bangkok afternoon.  Cost of one bag – 10 baht/ $.30-.$40 cents US

Alfajor
Alfajor Photo courtesy of paolita_iris

Ecuador/Bolivia and other South American countries – While it may not always be easy to find desserts at food stalls in South America, there is one notable exception – the alfajor. This carmel/dulce-de-leche filled cookie is a nice treat after a spicy meal and you can usually find them very reasonably priced. The alfajor is a great choice to pack for a day of adventure and sightseeing.  Cost –  2 bolivianos/$.30 cents US

Istanbul simit
Istanbul simit

Istanbul – Istanbul is a city of constant surprise, at least it was for me. If any place has a split personality, it would be this one, which I also found to be true in its food offerings. Walking around Istanbul you can find everything from a classic French-style bistro to some delicious street food. (Doner kebab being my absolute favorite) When I was there last year I noticed a strange item, a bread ring that looked like a bagel on crack. Turns out this snack/dessert is called a simit and is a doughnut shaped bread roll covered with sesame seeds. Common throughout Turkey, it isn’t what I would necessarily define as dessert food, but is great with tea or coffee as you take a mid-afternoon break.  Cost – 1-2 Turkish Lira/ $.75-$1.32 US

What are some of your favorite street food finds?

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

14 Responses

  1. The Jetpacker

    During Christmas in Prague, you can get an awesome dessert called a Trdlo, which is a thin piece of sweet rolled around a hot iron and placed over a fire until the dough firms up; then it’s sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Totally addicting.

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      that sounds great. Never visited Europe during the holidays – would love to visit the Christmas markets and winter festivals.

      Reply
    • Jessalyn Pinneo

      I love those things! I’m pretty sure they’re there all year round, since I had one (or six…) on a visit in mid-March. Deceptively simple, absolutely delicious and fun to watch being made.

      Reply
  2. Michael

    mmmm alfajor… I miss those so much

    Reply
  3. Adam

    Great post, Matt. Street food may be my favorite part of traveling. SE Asia just absolutely spoiled me forever on it, and it’s no wonder that the next region we are looking at for a big trip is Turkey/Mid East region, not coincidentally areas that offer yummy, tasty treats sold right from street carts. Describing street food as “providing an honest, unfiltered look into the soul of a region” is a great way to put it, and that is part of the appeal. It’s just so unique to what I’m used to as an American growing up in a midwest suburb.

    And yes, the pineapple in Bangkok. LOVE IT!! I wish we would have kept count as to how many bags of that stuff we went through. Soooo good. A few street treats we loved in Colombia was their tinto, just super sweet black coffee sold for about 25 cents in a tiny little cup, and underripe mangos served with a bag of dried chiles and sallt. Very unique to put on fruit, but very good.

    Now I’m hungry, thanks a lot. 😉

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      LOL, I had to snack a lot while I wrote this. Great tip on the mangoes – sounds great.

      Reply
  4. Legal Nomads

    Don’t forget Bangkok’s crazy ice cream sandwiches! Sold by moto-cart, they feature two slices of sweet, thick white bread, sticky rice at the bottom to absorb the ice cream drip and two scoops of ice cream, topped with fruit, condensed milk and peanuts. Can’t go wrong there.

    Also follow the fun #bkkfatty hashtag from Bangkok’s many food-obsessed Twitter users.

    -Jodi

    Reply
  5. Jenna

    These all look great, and I love that you featured desserts.
    Those waffles in Belgium are just awesome and seem to be on every corner. At least the smell of them is! And I LOVE the warm apple strudel with raisins in Prague, but you have to order that indoors at one of the small cafes or bars– I don’t think it’s sold on the street.

    Reply
  6. street foodie

    Not a dessert, but I couldn’t get enough of the street side ice coffee’s in Vietnam!
    Cool site, keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Now that sounds good! Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it.

      Reply
  7. wifey of a Roadie

    Now I am sooooo hungry! Great article! I actually have my favorite trucks here in LA 🙂

    Reply
  8. Andrew

    Thai pineapple and other fruits from stands are great, especially the way they’ll chop it and bag it right there for you. BUT, for my money, the best pineapple in the world is on the other side of it… in Costa Rica.

    Reply
  9. Linda

    I love alfajores! Lots of S Americans live in the Canary Islands, or folks descended from S Americans and many pastelerias sell them. Also don’t forget churros – preferably with chocolate now that it’s getting cooler. Although street vendors sell them here all year round.

    The thing which is seasonal here, and which surprised me and sent me spinning back to my childhood is roast chestnuts. They just arrived on the streets, and are my favorite!

    Reply
    • Matt Long

      Ah, I do have a soft spot for churros.

      Reply

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