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Octopus & burrata panini at Stellina Pizzeria
Meaghan Webster

Where to Score Street Food From All Over the World Around D.C.

From paper cups of fried Italian snacks to tacos and Thai barbecue pork skewers

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Octopus & burrata panini at Stellina Pizzeria
| Meaghan Webster

Restaurants specializing in street food seem to be everywhere in D.C. — three recent additions to the landscape are Stellina Pizzeria with its calamari, veggies or fish served in paper cones, Burmese restaurant Thamee with its dan back chicken, and Cane, specializing in street food from Trinidad like hops bread rolls filled with smoked brisket.

And this summer in Navy Yard, you can get your outdoor street food fix on every Saturday at Smorgasburg, where more than 30 local vendors offer their own spins on street food.

The street food scene in D.C. goes well beyond hot dogs and funnel cake. Here’s a list of where to find street foods from a diverse range of cultures. Did we miss your favorite spot? Sound off in the comments below.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Kuya Ja's Lechon Belly

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There’s more than lechon belly on the menu at this Filipino street food spot. Look for $5 specials on barbecued beef skewers — called tuhog — on Mondays, chorizo cheese fries on Tuesdays, Filipino sweet spaghetti on Wednesdays, and crispy adobo chicken bar on Thursdays. You can also catch Kuya Ja’s all summer at Smorgasburg, where it’s serving Filipino-style whole roasted chicken, as well as grilled chicken and lechon belly sandwiches.

Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana

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This street food-focused taqueria stuffs its handmade tortillas (corn or flour) with more than a dozen featured ingredients. Combinations range from shrimp and avocado or mushrooms with goat cheese to the extra hearty campechano (chorizo and steak mixed with potatoes, onions and cilantro) as well as blackened tilapia smothered in chipotle sauce.

Tacos de canasta from Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana
Courtesy of Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana

Momo Yakitori

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This restaurant serves up a variety of yakitori, or Japanese grilled chicken skewers. Combination plates include one with skewers seasoned in only sea salt, and one full of skewers served with plum, miso, kosho, and yuzu sauces. There’s also the chef’s selection of 10 skewers for two.

Bombay Street Food (Multiple locations)

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Come hungry and bring a friend or a date, because the impressive thali for two at Bombay Street Food comes with a ton of food. It includes greatest hits like tandoori chicken, saag paneer, lamb curry and gulab jamun (Indian doughnut balls). There’s also a vegetarian thali on weekdays for lunch designed for one person. 

A thali platter for two at Bombay Street Food. Emma McAlary/Courtesy of Bombay Street Food

Compass Rose

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Prior to opening her international street food restaurant, owner Rose Previte spent three years jetting to 30 countries for inspiration, including Jamaica, Tunisia, and Ireland. Standout dishes on the menu include khachapuri, a cheese-filled bread from Georgia; sambal udang, a Malaysian dish with shrimp, tofu, lemongrass, fermented chile and tomato; and the chapli kebab from Pakistan, featuring minced beef, yogurt, mint chutney, and veggies.

Khachapuri from Compass Rose
Compass Rose [official]

Thai Chef Street Food

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The cuisine here is drawn from the famous street markets lining the streets of Bangkok — the owners once lived a block away from bustling stalls. There’s duck curry and pineapple fried rice as an entree. Moo ping — grilled pork skewers marinated in Thai herbs and served with a spicy fish sauce — is a popular appetizer.

Stellina Pizzeria

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There’s way more than pizza at this Union Market counter owned by two Lupo Verde alums. Street food here comes from Italy’s southern coast, so you’ll find Sicilian rice balls, paper cones (cuoppos) filled with fried seafood and veggies, and panini sandwiches on pizza dough. There are also 10-inch neo-Neapolitan pizzas.

Fritto misto from Stellina Pizzeria
Meaghan Webster

Arepa Zone

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This popular lunch spot downtown started out as a food truck and opened a stall at Union Market before landing its dedicate space right by Thomas Circle. Besides classics like fried tequenos (cheese sticks) and cachapas (sweet corn pancakes folded like tacos with various fillings), the restaurant offers chicken or beef pabellión bowls with black beans, basmati rice and sweet plantains. There’s also patacón — a sandwich stuffed with plantains, cole slaw, cheese, and a choice of chicken, beef, or veggies.

The trio behind Thamee got their start at the Toli Moli Burmese Bodega in Union Market, which slings dumplings and falooda. Thamee, meanwhile, offers a wider variety of Burmese delights, including mohinga, a catfish curry with lemongrass and banana stem that’s eaten for breakfast and is widely considered to be Burma’s national dish. It can be found on street corner and inside upscale hotels.

Shrimp and buthee fritters at Thamee. Buthee is a long, fried gourd.
Thamee [official]

Chef Peter Prime brings a modern take on some of Trinidad’s most popular street food dishes, showcasing a cuisine that pulls flavors and influences from South Asia, Europe, and Africa. Doubles are a ubiquitous street food that pack Indian fried bread with cumin-spiced chickpea curry. There’s also a cumin-spiced pork belly, jerk wings, and oxtails.

Doubles, fried bread stuffed with curried chickpeas, are a popular street snack in Trinidad
Gabe Hiatt/Eater D.C.

Kuya Ja's Lechon Belly

There’s more than lechon belly on the menu at this Filipino street food spot. Look for $5 specials on barbecued beef skewers — called tuhog — on Mondays, chorizo cheese fries on Tuesdays, Filipino sweet spaghetti on Wednesdays, and crispy adobo chicken bar on Thursdays. You can also catch Kuya Ja’s all summer at Smorgasburg, where it’s serving Filipino-style whole roasted chicken, as well as grilled chicken and lechon belly sandwiches.

Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana

Tacos de canasta from Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana
Courtesy of Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana

This street food-focused taqueria stuffs its handmade tortillas (corn or flour) with more than a dozen featured ingredients. Combinations range from shrimp and avocado or mushrooms with goat cheese to the extra hearty campechano (chorizo and steak mixed with potatoes, onions and cilantro) as well as blackened tilapia smothered in chipotle sauce.

Tacos de canasta from Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana
Courtesy of Mezcalero Cocina Mexicana

Momo Yakitori

This restaurant serves up a variety of yakitori, or Japanese grilled chicken skewers. Combination plates include one with skewers seasoned in only sea salt, and one full of skewers served with plum, miso, kosho, and yuzu sauces. There’s also the chef’s selection of 10 skewers for two.

Bombay Street Food (Multiple locations)

A thali platter for two at Bombay Street Food. Emma McAlary/Courtesy of Bombay Street Food

Come hungry and bring a friend or a date, because the impressive thali for two at Bombay Street Food comes with a ton of food. It includes greatest hits like tandoori chicken, saag paneer, lamb curry and gulab jamun (Indian doughnut balls). There’s also a vegetarian thali on weekdays for lunch designed for one person. 

A thali platter for two at Bombay Street Food. Emma McAlary/Courtesy of Bombay Street Food

Compass Rose

Khachapuri from Compass Rose
Compass Rose [official]

Prior to opening her international street food restaurant, owner Rose Previte spent three years jetting to 30 countries for inspiration, including Jamaica, Tunisia, and Ireland. Standout dishes on the menu include khachapuri, a cheese-filled bread from Georgia; sambal udang, a Malaysian dish with shrimp, tofu, lemongrass, fermented chile and tomato; and the chapli kebab from Pakistan, featuring minced beef, yogurt, mint chutney, and veggies.

Khachapuri from Compass Rose
Compass Rose [official]

Thai Chef Street Food

The cuisine here is drawn from the famous street markets lining the streets of Bangkok — the owners once lived a block away from bustling stalls. There’s duck curry and pineapple fried rice as an entree. Moo ping — grilled pork skewers marinated in Thai herbs and served with a spicy fish sauce — is a popular appetizer.

Stellina Pizzeria

Fritto misto from Stellina Pizzeria
Meaghan Webster

There’s way more than pizza at this Union Market counter owned by two Lupo Verde alums. Street food here comes from Italy’s southern coast, so you’ll find Sicilian rice balls, paper cones (cuoppos) filled with fried seafood and veggies, and panini sandwiches on pizza dough. There are also 10-inch neo-Neapolitan pizzas.

Fritto misto from Stellina Pizzeria
Meaghan Webster

Arepa Zone

This popular lunch spot downtown started out as a food truck and opened a stall at Union Market before landing its dedicate space right by Thomas Circle. Besides classics like fried tequenos (cheese sticks) and cachapas (sweet corn pancakes folded like tacos with various fillings), the restaurant offers chicken or beef pabellión bowls with black beans, basmati rice and sweet plantains. There’s also patacón — a sandwich stuffed with plantains, cole slaw, cheese, and a choice of chicken, beef, or veggies.

Thamee

Shrimp and buthee fritters at Thamee. Buthee is a long, fried gourd.
Thamee [official]

The trio behind Thamee got their start at the Toli Moli Burmese Bodega in Union Market, which slings dumplings and falooda. Thamee, meanwhile, offers a wider variety of Burmese delights, including mohinga, a catfish curry with lemongrass and banana stem that’s eaten for breakfast and is widely considered to be Burma’s national dish. It can be found on street corner and inside upscale hotels.

Shrimp and buthee fritters at Thamee. Buthee is a long, fried gourd.
Thamee [official]

Cane

Doubles, fried bread stuffed with curried chickpeas, are a popular street snack in Trinidad
Gabe Hiatt/Eater D.C.

Chef Peter Prime brings a modern take on some of Trinidad’s most popular street food dishes, showcasing a cuisine that pulls flavors and influences from South Asia, Europe, and Africa. Doubles are a ubiquitous street food that pack Indian fried bread with cumin-spiced chickpea curry. There’s also a cumin-spiced pork belly, jerk wings, and oxtails.

Doubles, fried bread stuffed with curried chickpeas, are a popular street snack in Trinidad
Gabe Hiatt/Eater D.C.

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