Sure, Funyons dipped in peanut butter are weirdly delicious. But if you plan to commit to the munchie-munching lifestyle, you’re going to need to broaden your horizons. How broad are we talking? Thai street snacks, for starters. Read on to discover the best international bites to satisfy that uniquely intense hunger. And a passport is not required–with a little hustle, you can make some of these mini-meals and others in the comfort of your own underwear.
1) Quipe (Dominican Republic)
When Middle Eastern immigrants made their culinary mark on the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean nation adopted the recipes as part of their own culture and repertoire. One of the most popular street food snacks is called quipe (or kipe) — a North African croquette made of bulgar, ground beef, herbs and spices; a knock-off of Lebanese kibbeh. Translation: move over lady fingers, we’ve found the perfect finger food.
2) Opihi (Hawaii)
An ideal snack for the adventurous eater, opihi is to Hawaii what oysters are to the Pacific Northwest. These tiny sea snails can be slurped right out of their shells, grilled, served ceviche style, smoked or marinated like poke. It’s a fun snack that can be popped right into your mouth like candy — sinky, slimy candy. Yum!
3) Mu Ping (Thailand)
Grilled meat on a stick may seem like an American invention (we are the Land of the Corn Dog, after all), but it’s not. For proof, just look at how many other countries prepare it so much better than us. And consider Thailand, who’s citizens are so good at grilling meats they made this list twice! Mu ping is a ubiquitous Thai street snack of skewered pork marinated in a mixture that includes garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, cilantro root, and white pepper before being grilled over hot coals. (To find this tasty business, simply follow the heavy smoke to the nearest vendor). Served with chili sauce and sticky rice, mu ping is a snack enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Oh, and late-night snack, too, if your gut holds out that long.
4) Moong dal (India)
Anything spicy and fried is hard to ignore – that’s essentially the foundation of Gary Busey’s career — and South Asia does it to perfection. The hyper popularity of fried moong (mung) dal in India lies in its simplicity. It’s soaked, dried, and fried before salted with a chaat masala and chili. Indian kacang putih vendors also sell it in Malaysia. Lucky for us, most Indian grocery stores carry a few brands of the stuff. It’s known as yellow split mung bean here in the states.
5) Daigaku Imo (Japan)
One of the most desired snacks sold on the streets of Japan, these University Potatoes–a nod to the cheap, calorie-dense snack’s popularity among college students–are candied fried sweet potatoes topped with toasted sesame seeds. It’s a basic snack that provides a magical and addicting contrast between crisp outer shell and pillowy interior. If you don’t fall into a carb coma first, the sweet and savory combo will certainly help get you through an all-night cram session.