1. England: Chips and Cheese
Three ingredients: chips, cheese, sauce. Burn-yo-tongue-hot french fries scooped from the fryer and into a plastic takeout container, tossed with mozzarella, and smothered in a sauce of your choosing. Look at the light just dance off ‘em. Now say it with me: Garlic aioli.
2. Mexico: Tacos
After a night of cerveza and margaritas, fill your belly with tacos from street carts. Slow-roasted or grilled chicken, beef, and pork are served on blackened flour tortillas with onion, lime, cilantro, peppers, sour cream, pico de gallo, avocado, cheese, and even grilled pineapple. These colorful flavor pockets are like Mexican trading cards: You gotta eat ‘em all.
3. Italy: Porchetta Sandwich
Porchetta is an italian tradition. Pork loin and pork belly are rolled with herbs and tied into a cylinder for spit roasting. After many hours, the succulent meat and candied outer skin is shaved into thin slices and served on a warm bun with arugula and onion marmalade. Mama. Mia. Back stateside, we call that a #porkgasm.
4. Germany: Currywurst
In Berlin, you can’t throw a beer stein without hitting a Currywurst stand. The recipe is simple: wurst covered in ketchup, sprinkled in curry powder, and served with french fries drizzled in mayo. After drinking a barrel of fun in the biergarten, it’s the best wurst to curb der hunger.
5. Japan: Okonomiyaki (Savory Pancake)
After sipping sake and Sapporo in the karaoke bars, hit the streets to find this popular Japanese street food. Okonomiyaki literally means “grilled as you like it,” and once you see the list of ingredients in this mofo, you will understand that there is no way you won’t like it. The batter is made of cabbage and eggs then loaded with thinly sliced pork belly, octopus, squid, shrimp, vegetables, noodles, kimchi, mochi, or cheese — depending on the region. Oh, and don’t forget the “flavor grid” of savory brown sauce and Japanese mayo.
6. Ireland: Champ
This is not mashed potatoes. This is champ. It’s the quintessential Irish side made with potatoes, scallions, chives, butter, and milk. Order it anywhere in Ireland by the tun. Why? Because butter dipping pool.
7. Argentina: Choripán
If you feel yourself getting the wine squints (you know what I’m talking about), look out for a choripán stand. The hot dog of Argentina, choripán is a portmanteau of chorizo and pan: spicy sausage and bread. Add chimichurri sauce, and you’ve got the dish. Tastebud conquistadors may opt to also add onions, cheese, peppers, and sour cream. I know I would.
8. France: Crêpes
Paris doesn’t have a huge late night food scene. But if you find yourself wanting, may Joan of Arc guide you to the last open crêpe stand in town. Nutella and banana is one popular, chocolatey, gooey combo. But let’s be real: You can’t go wrong.
9. Nova Scotia: Donair
After a late night on the East, East Coast, make a heading for donair: Spit-roasted beef finished with a quick sear on a flattop range, thrown in a piping hot flatbread, garnished with tomatoes and onions, then smothered in the signature garlicky-sweet donair sauce. This Haligonian eat will send sauce dripping down your chin, hands, arms, and front — and in no conceivable way is that a bad thing.
10. Thailand: Hoy Tod (Oyster Omelet)
Stumble out of your two-bit Bangkok flophouse to cleanse yourself with a plate of Hoy Tod. The dish consists of an egg stir-fried in pork fat and mixed with a special batter, topped with a healthy dose of oysters, then finished with rich brown gravy and scallions. This savory, briny meal will cure whatever ails you, excepting certain communicable diseases requiring prescription medication.
11. The Czech Republic: Smažený Sýr (Fried Cheese Sandwich)
One must drink beer in Prague because it is cheaper than water. After a day — or a week — of this, the body will be in desperate need of beer-absorbing munchie food. Enter: the Smažený Sýr. This lil dude is a delicately fried mozzarella patty sandwiched between two flaky buns and covered in ketchup, mustard, and mayo. It’s simple, saucy, and molten. Czech it out.
12. China: Chuan’r (Barbecue Skewer)
Let me hit you with a scenario: You just slammed nine Yanjing’s with some hard-drinking Danes from the hostel, you’re stumbling around the back alleys of Beijing, and you see a glow emanating from a street corner. No, it’s not a homeless person’s campfire, it’s a chuan’r pit. Chuan’r is simple: skewered meats, vegetables, and bread roasted over charcoal and seasoned with a variety of regional spices. Grab a couple skewers and some roasted bread, then rip the bread open and insert the roast edibles from the skewer. Chew. Swallow. Repeat.
13. Holland: Vlaamse Frites (Flemish Fries)
These frites are served fresh out of the oil, dusted in salt, and slathered in mayo from street-side counters. The Dutch get a bad rap for their mayo habit, but Flemish mayonnaise is somehow… deeper… than other mayos. But if you’re worried about drowning in the white stuff, try adding curry ketchup and onions. If you’re in Amsterdam, this will be one buzzed you won’t forget…
14. Brazil: Acarajé
After one too many caipirinhas, slow your roll with this delicious shrimp-stuffed roll: the acarajé. It’s basically a deep-fried batter ball — think hush puppy — sliced in half and filled with a peppery shrimp stew made with onions and tomatos. The dish plays a central role in Afro-Brazilian religious traditions, earning it the nickname “Jesus Balls.” Halle. Berry. Halle. Lujah.
15. India: Dahi Papdi Chaat
These little morsels are basically Indian nachos. The base layer is papdi, little fried dough crisps, which are dipped in yogurt, topped with a spiced chickpea and potato paste, then sprinkled with onion, green and tamarind chutney, coriander leaves, and various fried bits. It’s crunchy, sweet, tangy, and spicy. What more could you want (aside from more!)?
16. Canada: Poutine
Originally from Quebec, this dish is found all over Canada. What you see is what you get: french (Canadian) fries and cheese curds smothered in brown gravy. Real simple stuff, eh? Now, you might not ever eat this sober, but after a couple pints of the brown stuff, this saucy, cheesy crunch basket will sing to your soul.
17. Spain: Tapas
Spain knows how to party, and they know how to eat while they do it. In Spain, it’s typical to get free tapas with your drinks at a bar — and good thing, because you’ll probably be out until 5 a.m. drinking anyway. No rest for the wicked; best eat while you drink. Of course, there is one other traditional drunk food in Spain; It’s called lunch.
18. Iran: Persian Pizza
If you want to live out prohibition fantasies, head to Iran, where alcohol is illegal (but can be found in black market shops and consumed in Persian speakeasies). After you get drunk illegally, walk carefully and nonintoxicatedly into the street to enjoy Iran’s take on pizza. Persian pizza is served on a thin, soft crust without sauce and topped with veggies (like onion, tomato, green peppers, and thinly sliced mushrooms) and meats like kalbas (a Persian baloney with lots of garlic) and Persian-spiced sausage. Once dressed to your liking, the pizza is fired under high temps to blacken the pie while allowing the veggies to retain their crunch. That’ll sober you up real quick.
19. Turkey: Döner Kebab
Imma be honest: The döner kebab belongs on this list 15 times. It is synonymous with drunk food the world over. For that, we have the Turks to thank. A slow-roasted spiced lamb, chicken, and beef mixture, shaved into juicy slivers, inserted into a crispy-yet-soft pita that’s almost too hot to hold, covered in salad, onions, tomatoes, and coated in a sauce of your choosing. For the best experience, tell the kebab guy you want “everything.” You won’t be sorry.