When people think about “street food,” countries such as Thailand, India, Turkey, Mexico, and Singapore may come to mind.
But the United States also has its fair share of street food, typically in the form of food trucks, carts, and stands.
And while the US may not be as well-known for its street food as some other countries, that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. Certain US cities are famous for food trucks, while they can be hard to find in other places.
You can find many of these foods in casual restaurants as well, but something about getting them on the corner of the street makes them that much tastier!
Best Street Foods
Here are some of the best street foods in the US.
A cheesesteak is a sandwich with thinly sliced steak and melted cheese on a long roll.
I love that the steak is cooked with onions, peppers, and spices to give it lots of flavors.
The combination of the tender steak, melty cheese, and soft roll is to die for.
People associate hot dogs with game days, barbecues, and backyard birthday parties, but I associate them with after-bar street food in cities like New York and Chicago.
There’s something about getting a hot dog from a street cart that makes it extra delicious, especially when I load them with relish, ketchup, salsa, and even macaroni and cheese!
Burritos are Mexican cuisine but are also one of the most popular foods in America, as it’s a common food truck meal that’s easy to grab and go.
I like to load burritos with delicious and hearty ingredients like chorizo, cheese, rice, beans, and salsa.
They are always super filling, so I only order them when hungry!
Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish with fried balls of ground chickpeas or fava beans.
Street vendors will often serve them in a pita with vegetables and tzatziki.
I love eating falafel pitas when looking for a vegetarian dish that’s still hearty, filling, and oh-so-satisfying. It has a slightly crunchy exterior with a grainy interior that I find appealing.
Poke is a Hawaiian dish becoming increasingly popular in the mainland US.
It’s typically made with raw fish (usually tuna or salmon), rice, and vegetables and can be served as a salad, in a wrap, or even on its own.
On the street, you’ll typically find poke served as a poke bowl, as it’s the most convenient way of eating it.
Like burritos, tacos were originally a Mexican dish but have become popular all over the states (and worldwide) due to their accessibility and deliciousness.
There are many different ways to make a taco, but the most common is with beef or chicken, salsa, cheese, and lettuce, all wrapped in a soft or hard tortilla.
I love getting tacos from taco trucks because they’re usually more authentic-tasting than what you’ll find in a sit-down restaurant.
Churros are fried-dough pastries that are popular in Spain and Latin America.
They’re often served with a chocolate dipping sauce and sprinkled with sugar.
I love churros because they’re the perfect sweet snack. They’re not too heavy, but they pack a colorful punch and always resolve my nagging sweet tooth!
Corn dogs are popular at state fairs and carnivals, but you can also find them being sold by street food vendors.
A corn dog is essentially a hot dog that’s been battered and fried, then served on a stick.
Vendors usually provide you with standard options of mustard or ketchup, but I like to eat them with honey mustard sauce.
Crepes are originally from France and are an excellent item for a food truck to serve because they’re easy to make and can be filled with sweet or savory ingredients.
My favorite crepes are the ones filled with Nutella, bananas, and strawberries.
The chocolate pairs so well with the fresh fruit, and the crepe itself is thin and delicate.
French fries are one of America’s most popular side dishes, but they can also be a meal unto themselves.
Street vendors will often sell them plain, with ketchup, or loaded with toppings like cheese, bacon, jalapenos, and sour cream.
I love french fries as the ultimate side with a good burger.
Funnel cake is a fried-dough pastry popular at carnivals and state fairs.
Its batter is made from eggs, milk, flour, and baking powder. After the batter is poured into a funnel, it’s fried in hot oil.
The cake is then dusted with powdered sugar and served warm.
The powdered sugar is my favorite aspect of a funnel cake, and you’ll be lucky if the street vendor lets you pour it on yourself!
Gyros are a Greek dish made with meat (usually lamb or chicken), vegetables, and tzatziki sauce, all wrapped in a pita.
I love gyros because they’re always so flavorful and filling.
The meat is juicy, the vegetables fresh, and the tzatziki is tangy, making for the perfect hand-held combination.
Hamburgers are arguably America’s favorite hand-held foods.
While you can find burgers in every state at a multitude of restaurants, street vendors do them justice by grilling the burgers to perfection and adding fresh toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and onions.
Pizza pies are popular at sit-down restaurants and for ordering in, but pizza by the slice, in particular, is another common street food in America.
I love getting a huge slice of pizza from a street vendor after a long day of exploration or a night out.
Soft pretzels are a salty, chewy snack that pairs well with beer, fries, or a small meal.
You’ll often find street vendors selling them by walking around with a basket of pretzels slung over their arms.
Pulled pork is shredded barbecue pork shoulder. It’s a particularly Southern American dish you can now find throughout the states.
You can eat pulled pork on its own with a fork, but my favorite way of eating this food is in sandwich form, with a nice, warm bun to hold the juicy, pulled meat.
Frito Chili Pie
A Frito chili pie is a popular dish in the Southwestern United States.
It’s made with chili, cheese, and Fritos (a type of corn chip) and often served with a dollop of sour cream on top.
I love Frito chili pies because they’re hearty and one of the more uniquely “American” street foods.
Empanadas are a type of turnover that’s popular in Latin American countries.
They’re made with various fillings, including meat, cheese, vegetables, and fruit, and then fried or baked.
I love empanadas because they’re a great way to get a lot of flavor in a small package.
A Polish Boy is a sandwich popular in the Midwest, specifically in Cleveland, Ohio.
It’s made with a kielbasa (a type of Polish sausage), french fries, coleslaw, and barbecue sauce, all on a bun.
I love Polish Boys because they have all of my favorite flavors in one sandwich.
The kielbasa is juicy, the french fries add a nice crunch, and the coleslaw and barbecue sauce adds the perfect sweetness and tanginess.
Last but not least are chili dogs, one of the most iconic American street foods.
A chili dog is a hot dog topped with chili and onions and often served with mustard and ketchup.
Not only are chili dogs one of the best street foods in the US because they’re also perfect for when you’re on the go, but they’re also delicious to eat when you’re at a sporting event.
Best Street Foods
- Hot Dog
- Corn Dog
- French Fries
- Funnel Cake
- Soft Pretzel
- Pulled Pork
- Frito Chili Pie
- Polish Boy
- Chili Dog
These famous street foods are popular throughout the US, so give them a try if you haven’t yet!
America is also famous for state fairs – check out some of the best fair foods as well!