From north to south: 7 Italian street foods
Seven examples of street food that you can find in Italy
In Italy, we have a very long tradition of street food. Lately, however, the phenomenon is experiencing a moment of particular success.
A study shows that 52% of Italians buy street food. And Italians stick to what they know, with 69% choosing Italian dishes. That's compared with 17% going for American food (like hot dogs), and 14% opting for Middle Eastern food (kebab, falafel etc.).
Even foreign tourists do not disdain: in 39% of cases, when they eat, they get Italian street food.
Here are seven examples of street food you can find in Italy, in regional order, from north to south.
Trentino Alto Adige - Brezel
Didn't you know? Brezel is also eaten in Italy! With the recognisable intertwined shape, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, it is garnished with coarse salt grains. Trentino Alto Adige borders Austria, so culinary contamination is not so strange.
Liguria - Focaccia Genovese
The Genovese focaccia stands out because before the last leavening, it is brushed with an emulsion composed of extra virgin olive oil, water and coarse salt.
You can eat it for breakfast, or in the middle of the morning, or as an aperitif, and it is traditionally accompanied with a small glass of white wine. The Ligurians swear that their focaccia is delicious soaked in cappuccino or milk as breakfast, but honestly I don't know if it's true.
Emilia Romagna - Piadina
The piadina romagnola, also called piada, is a product composed of thin focaccia of wheat flour, lard or olive oil, baking soda or yeast, salt and water, which is traditionally cooked on a terracotta disc, or more commonly on metallic plates.
It can be eaten during the meal instead of bread, or it can be stuffed in various ways as street food. The piada is stuffed with cured meats (ham, salami, coppa), squacquerone cheese or grilled sausage (often combining roasted onion), or with slices of porchetta. The most classic piadina is stuffed with raw ham, squacquerone and rocket.
Lazio - Supplì al telefono
The supplì is a rustic dish typical of Roman cuisine. It is a sort of elongated meatball prepared with rice boiled in salted water, seasoned with meat sauce and Roman pecorino, worked with raw eggs, rolled with a strip of mozzarella inside, passed in breadcrumbs and fried in boiling oil.
One of the names of this typical dish is "supplì on the phone", because to eat it hot it had to be opened in two, and the stringy mozzarella created a "thread" between the two parts of rice making it look like an old telephone.
Abruzzo - Arrosticini
The arrosticini are skewers of mutton, typical of the Apennines, especially of Abruzzo cuisine. It is a dish linked to the pastoral tradition of Abruzzo and the consequent consumption of sheep meat.
The preparation consists of cutting the meat into chunks and putting them on skewers which are then cooked on the grill, typically using a characteristic elongated brazier.
Campania - Cuoppo
The word cuoppo in Neapolitan has two very precise meanings. In the first sense, and perhaps also the best known, it is linked to the funnel-shaped paper bag containing the typical Neapolitan fried food: crocchè, supplì, grown pasta and pasta omelette. There is also the version with fried seafood, i.e. anchovies, squid and red mullet.
The cardboard that it contains serves both as an easy take-away to eat the cuppetiello on the street, and absorb the frying oil and keep the contents warm.
Puglia - Panzerotto
The panzerotto is a gastronomic speciality from a rotisserie, a crescent prepared with the same pizza dough and stuffed with mozzarella and tomato or with ricotta and bacon, and then fried in olive oil or the oven.
There are many variations of filling: the addition of pitted olives, anchovies, onion and capers.
Are you curious about other curiosities about Italian street food? Let us know in the comments!