Food and travel go hand in hand. But trying local dishes and exotic specialities doesn’t just mean indulging in elaborate feasts. Often the best way to experience a local cuisine is through its fast food. We’ve picked nine destinations where this kind of fare isn’t just convenient, it’s irresistibly good.*
London, United Kingdom
Pie and mash served with plenty of gravy is a British comfort and fast food classic
Across London, street food markets are redefining the term ‘fast food’. At the Hawker House and Giant Robot markets, you can tuck into sticky barbecued ribs, juicy sliders and chips doused in fiery curries, all prepared within minutes. Then there’s Beigel Bake on Brick Lane, open 24 hours and famed for their salt beef bagels. Looking for something typically British? Pick up a steak and Guinness pie at Battersea Pie Station, just around the corner from The Radisson Blu Edwardian.
New York, USA
Crispy, crinkle-cut fries are the perfect accompaniment to a juicy ShackBurger. Photo by Shake Shack
New York is known for fast food classics like hot dogs and pizza – smothered with cheese and sold by the slice. It’s also the birthplace of franchise Shake Shack, which started as a single cart in 2004 and has since amassed a cult following. Think Angus beef patties wrapped in smoked bacon and drenched in their signature ShackSauce, washed down with a peanut butter shake. From their first outlet in Madison Square Park, Luma Hotel Times Square is just a 20-minute stroll away.
At De Hallen, you’ll find everything from Dutch bitterballen to Chinese dim sum
In Amsterdam, fast food comes in all shapes and sizes. There’s kaassouffle, a breaded dough parcel oozing with melted cheese. There are crispy croquettes stuffed with chicken satay, mushrooms or veal ragout. And frikandel, a minced-meat sausage slathered in ketchup, mayonnaise and raw onion. These deep-fried delights are sold in neighbourhood snack bars or the plexiglas vending machines of nationwide chain FEBO. The food market at De Hallen is another foodie hotspot, with the self-catered Apartments De Hallen conveniently located under the same roof.
A meal both meat eaters and vegetarians will love
Berlin’s most popular fast food is a variation of the döner kebab which consists of a large pita bread stuffed with meat and salad, topped with yoghurt, garlic or spicy sauce. Its biggest competition is the currywurst: a grilled sausage served with fries in a sea of curried ketchup. For vegetarians, there’s Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebab, the world-famous vegetable kebab sold outside Mehringdamm station. art’otel Berlin Mitte is a 10-minute metro ride away and has views of the city’s iconic TV Tower.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Charcoal buns are a popular food trend in Malaysia
Hamburgers are the epitome of fast food — ever since the burger boom hit Kuala Lumpur, eateries all across the Malay capital have been putting their own twist on the all-American classic. Expect to see buns made with rice or jet-black bamboo charcoal, patties wrapped in omelette, and unusual toppings like grilled bananas. Just 200 metres from The Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, you can munch your way through the menu of popular fast food chain Fuel Shack.
Las Vegas, USA
In-N-Out Burger, a West Coast classic
On the Las Vegas Strip, you can get your fast food fix any time of day. Whether you want an In ‘N’ Out burger, Raising Cane’s crispy chicken fingers or Panda Express’s signature Peking pork, this is the place to satisfy your cravings. Thanks to Las Vegas’ location in the Southwest, you’ll also find Tex-Mex joints like Chipotle and Taco Bell serving up tacos, burritos and quesadillas. Just off the Strip, you can sink into your palatial bed at the iconic Caesar’s Palace.
Bangkok’s 16,000 street food vendors sell snacks until late at night
All around Bangkok, the bustling streets are lined with local vendors serving up quick bites. Thai fast food favourites include skewers of grilled meat with satay sauce, steaming bowls of noodles in pork broth and stir-fried rice topped with fragrant curries. Khao San Road Night Market is popular with visitors and right around the corner from Chillax Resort, where you can round off a day of exploring with a dip in the rooftop infinity pool.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The Dubai Mall food court, home to over 30 fast food favourites
The food court of one of Dubai’s many shopping malls is the best place to get your fast food fix, with stall after stall selling burgers, Philly cheese steaks, fried chicken, chili dogs and more. You could also attempt to devour the 28-inch XL pizza at Russo’s New York, the largest pizza in served in the UAE. Atana Hotel is a five-minute drive from the Mall of the Emirates, where you can eat and shop to your heart’s content.
Blackpool, United Kingdom
England’s favourite takeaway dates back to the 1860s
Fish and chips is the ultimate British fast food – and there’s no better place to wolf down a traditional ‘chippy tea’ than the seaside. Blackpool serves up some of the country’s best deep-fried fish, chunky chips and mushy peas. Portions are notoriously big, greasy and doused in vinegar. Plan your visit between September and November for views over the famous neon lights of the Blackpool Illuminations. Lyndene Hotel is located right on the promenade, a minute’s walk from the beach.
**Our data scientists found the top-rated destinations for fast food, according to Booking.com travellers. Destinations had to have over 1000 endorsements for ‘fast food’.