Sicilian street food is the traditional cuisine, prepared and consumed right in the streets. To better understand what experience Sicily means: close your eyes and let scents and flavours guide you. They’ll take you to the right place. The local markets, festivals and fairs in Sicily offer tasty opportunities to enjoy the best trip of your life to the last bite. Each place has its speciality (or perhaps even more than one), and you can eat them while strolling through the historic centre of the towns. You will cherish these places forever in your heart. Listen to the cries of the friendly hawker who wants to catch your attention, get close to his truck and buy its delicious specialities. When you’vefinished eating, you’ll think that food really tastes different this way.
Where to start? Palermo is one of the places with the best street food in the world (5th place, according to the Virtual Tourist chart ). To get a taste of it, head to the historic markets: Vucciria, Ballarò, il Capo and Borgo Vecchio.
Here you can find everything: pani câ meusa, frittula (veal offal), stigghiole (skewered and roasted lamb guts), muccuna (boiled murexes or sea morsels), cicireddu (fried whitebait
fish), purpu (boiled octopus), rizzi (sea urchins), babbaluci ( boiled and seasoned snails).
But you can also choose from a wide range of vegetarian dishes: pane, panelle e crocchè ( bread, fritters and croquettes), pollanche (boiled corn on the cob), carduna cardoons fried in batter, pipittuna (sliced citrons served with salt), muluni (sliced watermelon) and ficurinnia (prickly pears). The tour of the vegetarian cuisine of Sicily has just begun!
Don’t forget to try the Sicilian street food par excellence: Arancin… The name divides Sicily in two, but the taste brings everyone together. It opens the way to the parallel universe of the deli. The bolognese, the bomba, the cartocciata, the cipollina ( rustics from Catania), the pitone or pidone – in this case pronunciation doesn’t cause a diplomatic crisis – from Messina. And then there are the crispelle from Catania, made of fried batter and stuffed with anchovies or ricotta cheese. It also exists a sweet version: the zeppole di San Giuseppe.
In Catania, on the other hand, it is called scacciata. But Catania’s street food deserves a special mention. To discover it, we have to go between Piazza Pardo and Piazza Alonzo di Benedetto, where we find the old fish market. Here the seafood has to pass the “lemon test”. It should be eaten raw with the ‘fishermen’s snack’, u mauru, a red seaweed with a strong flavour. Its presence in the waters indicates that there is no pollution.
Via Plebiscito is the perfect place to eat another speciality from Catania: the sandwich filled with grilled horse meat seasoned with oil, salt and parsley.
Both in summer and winter, the patronal feasts in Sicily draw in the caliari, ready to sell to passersby calia e simenza ( chickpeas and roasted pumpkin seeds, famous all over the world thanks to the “ruminant walks” of Montalbano Commissioner). This is the case of the feasts of Saint Calogero in Agrigento, of Saint Agatha in Catania, of Saint Lucia in Syracuse, of Saint Rosalia in Palermo
In autumn, instead, we can smell the scent of caldarroste, the salted chestnuts roasted at the corners of the streets.
No matter what: eat your street food and keep walking. That’s the best way to enjoy Sicily.