Oh, Palermo, the land of deep-fried arancini and some of Europe’s best street food markets. It’s an Italian city that never gets old for me; it has a bustle, a rich history, and a cuisine that no city can compare to.

I’ve been coming to Palermo for years for its street food. There’s something special about nibbling on a fresh stick of stigghiola amongst local Sicillians chatting about their day.

Now, stigghiola isn’t the only good street food in Palermo you can try; what about a crispy serving of sfincione or a greasy frittola? I could spend days telling you about them, but I’ve packed my favorites into this list as a little taster. Let’s begin!

Arancini

Arancini is the holy grail of the Sicillian street food scene, small in size but full of tantalizing flavors that will have you begging for more. They’re circle-shaped fried rice balls with breadcrumbs on the exterior stuffed with risotto, ragu and sometimes even mozzarella for added flavor.

The recipe dates back to the 10th century when the Arabs had control over Sicily and brought rice to the island. Over time, the beautiful arancini was born.

One bad thing comes with arancini: it’s so hard to eat just one, from the light, earthy sweetness of the saffron rice to the rich velvetiness of the mozzarella.

Where To Eat It?

Che Palle is one of my go-to foodie spots for some arancini rice balls.

Their arancini menu is pretty extensive, with plenty of local food options, including a porcini mushroom arancina, my personal favorite. The crunchy exterior mixed in with the earthy mushrooms made for an excellent combination. Plus, it’s completely vegan-friendly.

Ke Palle (€) – Via Maqueda, 270, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy – Every day, 10:00 am to 11:00 pm

Crocchè

a_bowl_of_crocchè

One more Palermo street food that I’m obsessed with is crocchè. They’re little oval-shaped potato fritters made with chickpea flour, milk, peanut oil, parsley, salt, and starchy potato. You get the best of both worlds with crocchè because the inside is soft and the outside is quite crispy.

There are some notable controversies with crocchè; the French, to this day, claim it as their own, but Sicllians are adamant that it originates from the island at a time when the lower class needed to survive and tried to evolve their potato-based recipes.

Where To Eat It?

If you walk through Palermo’s Historic Center, you’ll find this tiny hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop called Panelle e Crocché – Street Food no Zu Totò. Their potato croquette crocchè is amazing; I found the potato to be lightly salted, and there was a herby kick to it with a tinge of nuttiness.

All the seating is outside the restaurant, so you might want to bring a jacket if it’s raining. The manager is so nice, too; I had a great conversation with him about their different offerings, and he gave me the recommendation to try their crocchè.

Panelle e Crocché – Street Food no Zu Totò (€) – Via dei Candelai, 3/5, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy – Monday to Thursday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, and Friday and Saturday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Pane Con La Milza

Milza-spleen-sandwich

 

Pane con la milza is one street food I recommend you save until you’re very hungry. It’s a sandwich with a soft sesame brioche bun called ani ca meusa stacked with parts of the spleen, lungs, and scannarozzato (trachea) and topped with cheese, and lemon juice; a pure mouthful.

The concept of pane con la milza can be traced back to the Middle Ages when Jewish butchers weren’t allowed to make money from killing animals, so they brought home the leftovers to experiment with.

Pane con la milza’s flavor profile is quite unique, with the spleen making up most of it with its strong gaminess, while the caciocavallo gives the sandwich a tanginess with some subtle nutty undertones.

Where To Eat It?

I can’t rate Nni Franco U Vastiddaru highly enough for their pane con la milza. It’s an inconspicuous establishment near the Porta Felice, specializing in local delicacies. The line here does get long, so expect a wait time. I waited almost 30 minutes to be served, but it was worth it.

When I visited here, I got a to-go order of pane con la milza, and it was absolutely huge. The spleen was slightly tender, and the bread was very chewy, making chewing it a challenge. But the creaminess added a soft side to it and gave the overall flavor a tangy edge.

Nni Franco U Vastiddaru (€) – Via Vittorio Emanuele, 102, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy – Every day, 9:00 am to 1:00 am except Tuesdays, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Frittola

a_cone_of_frittola

While throughout most of Italy, breakfast time means coffee, with the Sicilian cuisine, frittola gets everyone’s attention in the morning. This culinary tradition has been around since the 15th century, whereby leftover cartilage and lard from a calf’s body are boiled in their own fat and fried before consumption.

The meat will stay hidden behind where the street food vendor is cooking under a napkin. When someone makes an order, the vendor will pop his hand in without looking and throw the pieces into a cone for you to enjoy.

When it comes to frittola’s flavors, I would say it’s partly savory due to the herbs and spices used as seasoning and has a pungent taste of meat due to the offal, which isn’t for everyone.

Where To Eat It?

It’s well-known among Sicilians that if you want to find the best frittola, you have to venture to Ballaro Market. I went to try some myself, and it wasn’t hard to find; I just looked out for the large group of people and a man with a bucket with a cloth and knew I was at the right place.

I asked for one piece of meat, which was enough to leave me satisfied. The chef popped his hand in and put a piece on my plate alongside a piece of lemon, a bread roll, and a sprinkle of pepper. 

It had a jelly-like texture on the inside and a strong umami flavor; the pepper added nice complexity to the aftertaste, too.

Ballaro Market (€) – Via Ballaro, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy – 7:30 am until late afternoon

Stigghiola

stigghiola_being_cooked_on_a_bbq

Another dish that may not look the most appetizing but sure does taste incredible is stigghiola, lamb, or veal intestines seasoned with onions and parsley. The intestines are wrapped around a skewer and usually eaten with a slice of lemon without any carbs.

The cooking method is an experience alone; the way they barbeque the twists until they crisp and soak them in lemon juice is insane.

While it’s true that stigghiola was first eaten out of necessity by the Jewish and Muslim minorities in Palermo hundreds of years ago, its popularity remains and can be seen throughout the city today.

Where To Eat It?

There’s a street food stall on the outskirts of the city center that goes by the name of Stigghiolaro, and they serve seriously good stigghiola. It’s a charcoal barbeque in a tent owned by a local man. I walked past one day and got chatting with him, and he offered me to come sit down and try some.

I liked the smoky taste of the stigghiola, which comes from the way it’s cooked, and the oregano seasoning added some spiciness to it and the fat itself was quite juicy and a bit chewy.

Stigghiolaro (€) – 90142 Palermo, Metropolitan City of Palermo, Italy – 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Cannoli

a_stack_of_cannoli

Cannoli is undoubtedly Sicily’s most famous sweet street food. You can get them all over the world, but nothing comes close to the way they taste in Palermo. 

A cannolo is fried tube-shaped crispy-shelled snacks, often filled with cream, ricotta cheese, and vanilla, which gives it a sweet kick. Sometimes, you can get them with crushed pistachio nuts on the outside, adding some nuttiness and light bitterness.

There are a couple of stories of where cannoli comes from, but Sicillians suspect it was from Arab rule. The prince back then had a bit of a sweet tooth and had his servants whip up all kinds of recipes to cater to it, one of them being cannoli.

Where To Eat It?

The place in Palermo I always go to satisfy my cannoli cravings is I Segreti del Chiostro. It can be tricky to find since you have to walk through a convent to get there, but their cannolis are worth the search.

When I ordered mine and saw the size of it, I was shocked, and that’s coming from an American; I had just eaten lunch and didn’t know how I was going to finish it. 

The cream had an overwhelming lusciousness, and the shell was topped with chocolate chips and pistachio, adding some subtle sweet and salty notes.

I Segreti del Chiostro (€) – Piazza Bellini, 33, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy – Every day, 10:00 am to 5:30 pm

Sfincione

a_slice_of_sfincione

If you’re a pizza lover, you’ll be a huge fan of sfincione. I like to describe it as a fluffy type of Sicilian pizza with a thick crust with a layer of tomato sauce, cheese, onions, oregano, and sometimes even anchovies or sardines. You could say it’s very like focaccia.

Sfincione is said to come from some Latin and Greek words that translate to “sponge,” which describes the inside of the bread. Although sfincione is eaten all throughout the year, it used to be only a Christmas tradition in Sicily.

Where To Eat It?

Anyone who wants to try Sfincione in Palermo must go to Panificio Graziano. It’s a little joint near Statua della Libertà, where a lot of locals go to grab some takeaway lunch while they’re on the go.

There’s one lovely staff member that I chatted with who could speak perfect English, and they ran through all their menu options, one of which was the sfincione, which they really sold to me.

The incredibly rich tomato sauce complemented the sweet caramelized onions, while the pecorino cheese added complexity with a salty tinge, and the oregano added a bold bitterness to the final crunch.

Panificio Graziano (€€) – Via del Granatiere, 11/13, 90143 Palermo PA, Italy – Monday to Saturday, 7:00 am to 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm

Conclusion

It was hard to stick to only seven of my favorite Palermo street foods for this article, but I’ve made sure I’ve listed the ones I know you’ll love.

Dive deeper into the Sicilian capital’s street food scene by reserving your spot on one of our Palermo food tours with a local guide. Sample seriously good food and learn about the history of the city’s culinary scene through a street food tour of Palermo.

The post 7 Best Street Foods in Palermo appeared first on Eating Europe.



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