Vego snacks abound in every culture, making a fix for the munchies worth a trip around the world.
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26 Apr 2022 - 8:30 AM  UPDATED 26 Apr 2022 - 9:08 AM

Needing a little something between lunch and dinner seems to be a thing in just about every culture on earth. Street food vendors thrive in the late afternoon as office workers, travellers and busy passers-by stop for a snack to tide them over.

Snacky food like this is often the best a culture has to offer because recipes have been perfected by the sheer amount of times they've been produced. Vegetarian snack foods are particularly good because they're cheaper for a vendor to produce and thus they're more likely to work their dish to perfection.

Tuck in for a trip from a vendor to vendor across the globe as we find the ultimate vegetarian snack foods to make at home. Don't limit yourself to late in the day, either. Morning snacks are equally good (particularly the ones made in the wee small hours after a big night out). 

American: Cauliflower hot wings

A vegan spin on classic wings, this recipe drenches cauli in batter and spices and deep-fried it to a moreish effect.

Mexico: Tofu tacos and Corn on the cob

Have tortilla, can taco. Load them up with this tasty tofu and guac filling, or try one of these alternatives:

Scrambled tofu and capsicum tacos

This combo of curried tofu, smoky capsicum, sharp pickled radish, fresh coriander and creamy mayo is heavenly. These tacos work well on their own, or as part of a spread.

Chipotle black bean tacos with jalapeño slaw

"I had a fairly standard taco game as a kid – meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato in a store-bought shell. I was wary of making any changes to my long-serving combo... I mean, why mess with perfection, right? Well, becoming vegetarian and finally eating authentic Mexican food certainly bumped me right out of rookie taco zone and straight into the world of piquant, fresh vegie creations. I'd put just about anything on a taco these days, and am often found doing just that. Welcome to taco-time!" Stacey Roberts, The Veggie Mama

Mexican corn on the cob

For the easiest vego snack ever, load up a barbecued corn cob with a smoky chipotle and cheese mayo.

Potato quesadillas

Deep-fried and topped with lettuce and salsa, papadillas are a delicious vegetarian garnacha that will leave you licking your fingers after every bite.

Corn fritters with avocado salsa

Bursting with flavour, colour and health, corn fritters are the perfect way to start or finish the day. These gluten-free and dairy-free versions are a hit for anyone with allergies or intolerances looking for a tasty meal.

Argentina: Caramel peanuts

You will always smell the distinctive sweet smoke of garrapiñada de maní in Argentina's parks and plazas. They're both sweet and savoury, spicy and creamy. They're basically the ideal snack.

Load these little pastries up with quince, as here, or chocolate or dulce de leche. They feel extravagant but are actually quite quick and simple to bake.

Spain: Ibizan doughnuts

Doughnuts in any form are snacking done right.

11 doughnuts we can't take our minds off right now
We're a tad obsessive about syrupy and coffee-custard doughnuts.

Italy: Fried mozzarella sticks and Focaccia

A golden crumb is all a stick of mozzarella needs to fry its way into snack heaven.

The '90s café darling is back in a big way (for Italians it never actually went away). Master good focaccia or two and you'll basically always have a snack on hand.

Blistered tomato and olive bruschetta

The trick is using really good tomatoes - fresh, ripe ones that smell like heaven - and to cook them on a high heat to ensure they blister and don’t break down and become watery.

Mushroom and goat's cheese arancini

These arancini balls are a perfect starter or addition to a special meal. The simple flavour combination is delicious, and they’re brilliant with a creamy pesto dipping sauce, aioli, or a tomato-based chutney.

Roasted garlic and rosemary polenta squares

Crispy on the outside and soft and fragrant on the inside, these little polenta bites are heavenly with creamy roasted garlic and fried rosemary.

France: Gougères

Cheesy choux pastries are one of the great loves of French patisserie and are surprisingly easy to make. Gougères are made with just six ingredients that you'll no doubt already have on hand; which makes them ideal for last-minute snack attacks.

Poland: Cheese blintzes

These Polish crepes (naleśniki) evoke strong family memories.

Blintzes are for special times when you need a serve of comfort with your snack.

Cream cheese blintzes with blueberry compote

A cheese blintz is a crepe filled and rolled with a sweet cheese mixture. Like my Russian grandmother, I like to fry them in butter until golden and crisp on the outside. True comfort food from the old world!

Cheese blintzes

A traditional food eaten for the Jewish celebration, Hanukkah.

Turkey: Gozleme

This express route to cheese and spinach gozleme bypasses the traditional handmade pastry case and instead uses large pita bread.

Lebanon: Falafel and Zucchini fritters

These easy falafel are moreish like popcorn. Luckily they only take about 20 minutes to make a whole batch.

All the ways falafel are little balls of joy
Green falafel, dancing falafel, stuffed falafel... this Middle Eastern classic has endless variations - which means there's plenty of options for finding the one that's just right for you!

Roll 'em up in flatbread or dip them into a bowl of fresh muhammara, either way, these zucchini fritters will hit the snacking spot. 

India: Crispy spinach chaat and Gobi Manchurian

North India is a haven for snacky things all known under the umbrella of chaat. Pakora is some of the best, especially when served with two dipping sauces.

To make gobi Manchurian, batter then deep fry cauliflower florets wok-toss them in a spicy sauce. It's a long ingredients list, but it all comes together quick enough to whip up for a snack.

Corn pakoras with chaat masala

Chaat is India’s favourite genre of snacking street food. It can be anything from nacho-like assortments of chutneys and yoghurt over fried breads, to more substantial versions with samosas or pakoras.

Laccha paratha with carrot raita

Laccha paratha are flatbreads from northern India, made with wheat flour and ghee and they go with a whole array of Indian dishes.

Kardoi

Kardoi are a deep-fried dough speciality from Assam, and can be made either sweet or savoury. Here we go for the latter, with seablite, carrot and mountain peppercorn for flavour.

China: Dumplings

Vegan dumplings are the ultimate crowd-pleaser. This version is spinach and silverbeet, but mushroom also makes a good dumpling.

Thailand: Chive cakes and Fried bananas

It's the chewy tapioca dough that makes Thai chive cakes so irresistible. It's a texture and taste that gets into your head and demands regular revisiting. Fortunately, they're a comparatively easy Thai snack to master.

Many nations are obsessed with fried bananas but it's hard to beat what Thailand is serving up. Gluay tod is sold by street vendors all over the country but it's easy enough to fry up your own.

Malaysia: Roti canai

The snackiest of the flatbreads, roti canai is often served plain with a couple of curry dipping sauces. In a snack pinch, it also tastes amazing spread with strawberry jam.

Korea: Chijimi and Seaweed egg roll

What's not to love about savoury chive and spring onion pancakes served with an umami-rich soy dipping sauce? Koreans love everything about this vegetarian snack.

Great in a lunchbox or served up as a snack, gim gyeran mari is super tasty and fortunately super easy. You may need some practice to master your folding technique, but you'll be content to eat your attempts along the way.

Soy-braised potatoes (gamja jorim)

A few humble potatoes and some pantry staples are all you need to quickly whip up this side dish. This is simple Korean food at its best.

Cheesy eggy bread (gyeran ppang)

Gyeran ppang are a hybrid of sweet and savoury, playing tricks with your taste buds as to whether you’re eating a sweet muffin or a salty– cheesy egg roll.

Corn cheese (konchijeu)

Sweet corn kernels covered in stretchy cheese washed down with cold beer. What’s not to love? Make this for your next Korean dinner party!

Japan: Oven-baked tofu and gyoza

This is a quick dish that can be a light lunch or a filling late-night snack. It also makes a decent breakfast, so you officially have permission to enjoy it any time of day.

Gyoza is wrapped up like a little gift and rightly so. Try eating just one of these little morsels.

Snack fest
Whole-roasted broccoli

Nobody puts broccoli in the corner. Especially when it's so easy to bake.

Uštipci (Lightly fried dough)

Think fritule! This fried pastry can be used in both sweet and savoury applications. Perfect for dipping and scooping and it's been a favourite for breakfast at home for as long as I can remember.

Low-carb portobello 'pizzas'

With a wide Portobello mushroom as a base and a delicious tomato and mozzarella topping, it has all the flavour of a traditional pizza but only a fraction of the calories.

Buttermilk pancakes

Classic, fluffy buttermilk pancakes which are gorgeous topped with seasonal berries, maple syrup and butter.

Cherry almond butter granola bars

The almond butter and dark chocolate add a layer of luxury to these granola bars, which are easy to whip up and require no oven!

Skordalia: purple-skinned white sweet potato and garlic mash

This is a variation on the Greek mashed potato dish skordalia, which goes perfectly well with fish, meatballs or baked vegetables (especially beetroot). Sweet potato has a lower GI than potato and is better for people with diabetes.

Baklava clusters

This take on the baklava is made into delicious little clusters that can be eaten with yoghurt and fresh berries for a filling breakfast, or as a snack on their own.

Camembosh hedgehog

This always generates big smiles in all who behold it! Big thanks to Ellie from Kinda Co (makers of incredible plant-based cheeses) for the original recipe, which we collaborated on together in the early days of BOSH! Tapioca flour is crucial for optimum gooeyness, so do seek some out. To get ahead, make the cheese the day before and keep it in the fridge.

Sourdough pretzels

These pretzels are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and completely addictive!

Pasteli (toasted sesame bars)

If you love a bit of crunch, these bars are for you. They are very simple to prepare with few ingredients, but mastering the perfect crunch can be elusive.