Sicilian Street Food: Gold medal for variety and goodness
The culinary tradition of Sicily is certainly one of the most particular: rich in flavors and aromas, it never ceases to inebriate the senses with typical dishes that have recently been revisited even by the greatest chefs. One of the peculiarities of the culinary and cultural tradition of Sicily is the preparation and consumption of food on the street, now commonly known as “Sicilian street food”.
What is street food? Street food is generally poor and fast-consuming food that can be eaten during a simple walk through the streets of the city or during a simple lunch break.
The origins of the consumption of street food are often attributed to the ancient Greeks, who used to buy food from street vendors during their walks along the streets.
Particularly, Palermo street food, the Sicilian capital, represents a perfect intertwining of the cultures that have followed one another over time with the Arab, French and Spanish domination. The result of this cultural mix can still be tasted and experienced at the traditional markets of Ballaró, Vucciria and Capo and also generally in the historic center which, in addition to food, offers an experience rich in history and emotions. a dip in the past that refers to the warmth of a by now distant time that has never really abandoned us completely.
We can therefore say with certainty that street food is not just the consumption of a simple dish, but the bridge between present and past, between innovation and tradition, which aims to spread the knowledge of an ancient culture and the history of local gastronomy.
Palermo Sicilian street food
Palermo can be considered the symbolic city of street food on the island, classified by Forbes as the fifth city in the world for variety of street food. For those who want to immerse themselves in particular aromas and flavors as well as in the history of the city itself, it will be satisfying to browse through the narrow streets of the historic center of the city as well as among the stalls of the typical markets of Ballaró, Capo and Vucciria.
The city is full of shops, fry shops and street vendors offering any type of typical sweet or savory dish and the markets in particular are a reminder of the Arab domination in Sicily; in fact Ballaró is the first market as well as the largest and oldest in the city and actually resembles the classic Arab suk.
Among the typical foods of the Palermo tradition, in addition to the classic bread and “panelle” we also find, for example, the “Arancina“, a round-shaped delight made with rice filled with meat sauce and peas or with butter, bechamel and ham, “Sfincione” that is similar to a pizza but with a high and soft dough and also “Cannolo“, a typical dessert of the tradition, Stuffed with Ricotta Cheese. Obviously Palermo is not the only city where street food culture is widespread.
Ragusa Street Food
In the province of Ragusa, for example, it is typical to find the “scaccia” a sort of savory pie usually stuffed with ricotta, onion, eggplant, tomato. Another typical street food, On the occasion of patronal festivals, is “calia and simenza“, a mixture of chickpeas and pumpkin seeds that are roasted, salted and then eaten warm and crispy. These are sold in stalls spread throughout Sicily.
Catania Street Food
Catania is the undisputed home of the Sicilian “Tavola calda” or rosticceria. “cartocciata”, for exemple, is the undisputed star of street food, a soft focaccia with a high dough that contains a rich filling of mozzarella, cooked ham, black olives and tomato. Together with the cartocciata, another typical dish is roasted horse meat, usually accompanied by the typical local bread.
At Christmas, you can taste “crispelle“, grown pastries filled with sheep’s ricotta or anchovies, then fried in lard.
In Messina, on the other hand, you cannot fail to taste “pitone” (in dialect pituni), Similar to the calzone, stuffed like Messina’s focaccia, that is with: escarole, tomatoes, anchovies and tuma.
Siracusa Street food
In the province of Syracuse, “cudduruni” is Eaten. The word comes from the Greek and means “crown.” It is a stuffed flatbread, created to reuse leftover bread by adding wild herbs. It is usually eaten on Christmas Eve in three filling variations: anciti (wild chard), black broccoli or onion, with pecorino cheese, dried tomato extract, and extra virgin olive oil.