Exploring the Mouthwatering World of Mediterranean Street Food

Mediterranean cuisine is known for vivid flavors, fresh ingredients, and a history of food rich in cuisine. Street food is definitely one of the most exciting expressions of this great and diverse food tradition. From kebabs to falafel, Mediterranean street foods make the ears listen, the nose smell, and the mouth water for the variety of flavors and textures reflecting the cultural diversity and culinary creativity of that part of the world. Zooming in, let's look at some popular types of Mediterranean street foods.

Gyro (Greece): This is one of the most popular street foods in Greece. It is made of thinly sliced, seasoned meat (usually pork, chicken, or lamb) cooked on the vertical rotisserie. It is usually served inside pita bread with fresh vegetables and tzatziki sauce, sometimes with French fries, so it is a really delicious and filling snack.

Falafel (Middle Eastern): Falafel is a crispy, deep-fried ball that usually combines ground chickpeas or fava beans mixed with herbs and spices. It is considered one of the best vegetarian dishes you can get on the street. Can be enjoyed in the form of a pita-wrapped salad with tahini sauce—an appealing dish and an altogether complete vegetarian street food experience.

Shawarma (Middle East): Very much the theme behind a gyro, shawarma is a Middle Eastern street food item featuring very thin, sliced, marinated, and roasted lamb, chicken, or beef. The meat is generally served in pita bread with a mixed-up amount of vegetables, tahini sauce, and sometimes pickles to create quite a tasty, aromatic dish.

Souvlaki (Greece)—pieces of meat may be pork, chicken, or lamb—put on skewers and grilled to perfection. Served alongside this are pita, salad, and tzatziki sauce—a tasty and filling meal that is portable to eat while on the move.

Börek (Turkey): Börek refers to a certain type of patty or thin pie, which is usually filled with cheese, meat such as minced meat or pastirma, and vegetables such as spinach before it is rolled into a spiral, cylindrical, or a triangle form. This is then baked till it gets crispy and golden brown hence making it a fast and convenient snack popular in Turkish society and the Greater Mediterranean region.

Arayes (Lebanon): Arayes refers to stuffed pita bread that resembles grilled sandwiches filled with minced meat (mainly lamb and beef) perfectly spiced, and toasted until crispy golden. It makes a delicious, very fulfilling kind of street food, which easily can be a snack for any break time.

Kushari (Egypt): Kushari is among one of those street foods in Egypt which includes ingredients like rice, lentils, and pasta, all mixed together, spiced with a bit of hot tomato sauce, and lastly, topped with crispy fried onions. 

Pastéis de Nata (Portugal): Though not technically Mediterranean, pastéis de nata belongs here among the great street snacks of Portugal. Encased in flaky, crispy pastry, they hold creamy custard that makes a sweet, filling snack to wolf down on the run.

The variety of Mediterranean street food showcases the Mediterranean's rich culinary heritage,  from flavors to textures and even aromas. With the invention of Mediterranean street food, whether it is the spicy kebabs, the crispy falafel, or even those sweet custard tarts, there will be a real treat for one and all. So on your next trip to Greece, Turkey, or Lebanon, experience the taste of the Mediterranean for the first time with any of these delicacies.

If you'd like to get a taste of Mediterranean food here in America, be sure to visit Manakish Oven & Grill for Middle Eastern food in Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, and Concord, CA, as well as catering for Mediterranean food in Concord, CA or surrounding areas.