When it comes to food that can be bought from a street vendor, Italy is one of the countries that has nearly the entire world beat. Italy boasts some of the highest quality and variety of ingredients in the world, and Italian street food takes full advantage of this. While visiting Italy just for street vendors might be a bit much, there are a few street foods that are must tries for anyone who finds themselves in Italy.
Arancini is a great deep fried snack available at many street vendors. These are small balls of cheese, minced meat, peas, and spices covered in a batter of creamy rice. The balls are then fried until crisp on the outside and gooey perfection on the inside. Definitely worth a shot!
Panino con porchetta romana is another incredible street food. A delicious side of ham is stuffed with rosemary, garlic, and other local herbs, then spitted and slow roasted to perfection. The slow roasting allows the pork to keep its flavor as it cooks, making it incomparably tender and delicious. Then, two slices of Italy’s famous bread are grilled, and a generous helping of meat is piled between them to make the best ham sandwich in the world.
For more adventurous food enthusiasts out there, lampredotto is a delicious food that may turn off more squeamish eaters. Lampredotto is cow stomach simmered in tomato broth with garlic and herbs, and is actually quite tasty. Like with porchetta romana, this dish is also best enjoyed as panino con lampredotto, also known as a sandwich.
Don’t Forget Pizza!
Almost everyone has had pizza, but pizza means something different when it comes from an Italian street vendor. Pizza al taglio, which translates to pizza by the cut, is a rectangular pizza that is a little different from the American take on the dish. While pizza elsewhere in the world will often focus on drowning everything in cheap mozzarella, Italian pizza uses smaller amounts of high quality cheeses among vegetables and meats on Italian bread dough to create a dish that is much nicer than the delivery pizza Americans are familiar with.
For dessert, authentic Italian gelato is some of the best ice cream in the world. The secret of gelato is that it is made from a base of crema rinforzata, which is a concoction of milk, cornstarch, and sugar. The cornstarch takes some creaminess out of the ice cream, but it also enhances the flavors substantially. Gelato made in Italy is a completely different experience than ice cream from other parts of the world.
For those visiting Italy, authentic Italian street food should not be missed. Some of the best snacks that can be eaten on the go come from Italian food carts, and people from other countries will see a lot of foods they do no recognize from home. It is definitely worth grabbing a few unique foods while wandering the streets of Italy and seeing what the country has to offer.