Adelaide street food: explore the best multicultural market bites and food truck delights

Lucias' Pizza & Spaghetti Bar is an Adelaide's institution that has been serving up Southern Italian cuisine for more than six decades. Find them at Adelaide Central Market

We’ve scoured the streets of A-town, tasting our way through food trucks and market stalls to bring you our recommandations of the best Adelaide street food bites to get your hands on, including Adelaide’s specialties and plant-based options.

Get ready to take your taste buds on a wild ride through the gastronomic playground that is Adelaide, where street food reigns supreme. Since its establishment in 1869, the iconic Adelaide Central Market has remained a thriving hub of food and culture, complemented by the vibrant presence of mobile food trucks and lively pop-up markets. It’s no wonder the tantalising scent of sizzling street food lingers in the air – and we’ll help you follow your nose as you discover A-town’s well-kept culinary secrets. 

Adelaide proves that street food is beyond tasty dishes sold in public locales for immediate satisfaction, it’s a means of preserving culture and tradition through the diverse delicacies sold on the city streets. While there’s a multicultural selection of cuisines to try at the culinary hotspots scattered across South Australia’s capital city, there are also plenty of must-try local bites that are exclusive to Adelaide, including the now elusive pie floater that was once a staple at the city’s historical pie carts.  

If you’re craving an authentic adventure for your palate, we’ll help you expertly navigate Adelaide’s dynamic mobile food landscape, where new food trucks and pop-up markets are constantly bursting onto the scene. Whether you’re a meat-loving maestro or a plant-based connoisseur, there’s something to satisfy every craving around this sprawling city. So, whet your appetite, loosen your belt, and join us on a mouthwatering journey through the bustling streets of Adelaide.  

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A foodie’s guide to exploring Adelaide’s historical Central Market

The central market in Adelaide is one of the places where to find the best Adelaide street food

The air is thick with the aroma of sizzling spices, freshly brewed coffee, and the unmistakable scent of Aussie barbies. You’ll find that the state capital’s multicultural spirit is embraced with open arms, offering a melting pot of flavours from around the globe. Forget the map; let your senses guide you through the market as you follow the enticing aromas that waft through the air. Whether it’s the smell of freshy baked bread or the sweet notes of exotic spices, your nose will never fail you in this cuisine labyrinth. 

Exploring this market is much like embarking on a thrilling treasure hunt for food lovers; you’ll love getting lost in the bustling crowd and discovering hidden gems tucked away in every corner. Sample delectable gourmet cheeses from local artisans, savour the delicate flavours of homemade chocolates, or indulge in freshly shucked oysters. You’ll find plenty of traditional Aussie favourites and international delicacies on sale from the passionate food traders, who are always eager to share their stories behind the culinary creations. 

After all, the vendors have many stories to tell from the decades they’ve been working in this Adders institution. Asian Gourmet has been satisfying marketgoers’ cravings for 30 years, and more, with its incredible Malaysian dishes – don’t miss the famous Sarawak laksa, a true Friday favourite. Cumbia Bar – Kitchen brings a taste of South America to the market, offering a colourful and inviting atmosphere where Colombian-influenced food takes centre stage – start your day with a delightful breakfast or savour flavoursome offerings during Friday night dinners.

 Lucia’s Pizza & Spaghetti Bar in Adelaide
 Lucia’s Pizza & Spaghetti Bar

For an authentic Italian experience in A-town, Lucia’s Pizza & Spaghetti Bar is a must-visit. This Adelaide institution has been serving up Southern Italian cuisine for more than six decades. Indulge in generous plates of pasta, delicious pizzas, and authentic espressos. Experience the amazing Korean cuisine at Sunmi’s Sushi, which has been impressing market visitors exceeding 25 years with everything from green pancakes to bibimbap and fried gimbapZuma Caffe is another favourite and has been serving up classic cafe meals, such as eggs Benedict, breakfast rolls, pastries, and exceptional coffee for 30-plus years. 

As you let your senses guide you, you’ll witness a dynamic (and tasty) interplay between tradition and innovation. This historical landmark not only preserves the time-honoured practices of local farmers and artisans who have been keeping the market alive for the past century, but also embraces the creativity and diversity of contemporary street food culture – which is also evident in the wider city area. This lively marketplace showcases the finest Adelaide street food – but would you know which local delicacies to try at these street food vendors? 

An A to Z of iconic bites to try around Adders

Pie Floater is a traditional Australian dish consisting of green pea soup served with Australian meat pie.
Pie Floater

Adelaide offers a mouthwatering array of iconic Aussie bites that are sure to satisfy even the most discerning food enthusiasts. Prepare your taste buds as we explore eight of the most beloved local delicacies to keep a lookout for at street food markets, pop-ups, and food trucks around Adders. 

AB: This South Australian street food delicacy has been satisfying appetites since the 1960s. While the eastern states rave about their Halal Snack Packs (HSP), locals in South Australia have been enjoying their own version known as the AB for decades. This scrumptious creation features a generous portion of hot chips topped with grilled kebab meat and drizzled with tangy garlic sauce and tomato sauce. A fantastic fusion of textures and tastes, the AB is the perfect indulgence for satisfying late-night cravings and immersing yourself in Adelaide’s eccentric street food scene.

Balfours frog cake: Originally created by Balfours, a cherished local bakery, this sweet treat holds a special place in South Australian hearts. Coated in vibrant green icing and taking the shape of an adorable frog – and crafted from a soft, fluffy sponge cake – the treat has a creamy centre that adds a must-try burst of flavour.

Barramundi fish and chips: Savour the distinctive taste of local barramundi fish, with a side of crispy golden chips. Delicate and flavourful, this seafood dish pairs excellently with a squeeze of lemon. 

Cadbury Cherry Ripe: This iconic chocolate bar showcases a symphony of flavours and textures. Think rich dark chocolate enveloping a delectable combination of juicy cherries and coconut, with a smoky, sweet undertone. Each bite is a harmonious balance of sweetness and tartness, creating a heavenly taste sensation that’s a must-try for anyone seeking to sample Adelaide’s sweet side.

Chiko Roll: Unravel the mystery of the Chiko Roll, a deep-fried Aussie snack that boasts a crispy exterior wrapped around a savoury filling of cabbage, beef, carrot, and spices. A sentimental favourite among locals.

Musk sticks: Discover the distinct flavour of musk sticks, a nostalgic sweet treat. These vibrant pink sticks with a floral musk flavour are a popular lolly choice in South Australia. 

Pie floater: A true South Australian icon, this dish combines two beloved classics in a gratifying way. Picture a piping hot meat pie, brimming with savoury flavours and encased in flaky pastry, gently placed on a bed of mushy green pea soup. The contrasting textures and tastes blend harmoniously as you take each spoonful. The pie floater is not just a dish – it’s a cultural symbol, representing the rich history and culinary heritage of Adelaide. While the pie floater may be hard to come by today, it’s a dish you should keep your eyes peeled for when exploring the street food scene. 

Seafood pizza: This culinary creation features a thin, crispy crust generously topped with an array of fresh seafood, such as prawns, calamari, mussels, and fish. Enhanced with a tangy tomato sauce, melted cheese, and a medley of herbs and spices, seafood pizzas here truly capture the essence of Adelaide’s coastal charm. 

Navigating Adelaide’s food trucks and pop-up markets 

As the culinary landscape continues to evolve, Adelaide has witnessed a glorious rise in food trucks and pop-up markets. These mobile eateries and temporary markets have become an integral part of the city’s street food scene, offering an assortment of flavours and experiences. Overall, you should expect a dynamic mix of creativity and culinary craftsmanship from A-town’s food truck culture. Whether you choose to chase down food trucks in the city streets or explore the ever-changing world of pop-up markets, Adelaide’s mobile street food scene promises you countless tasty adventures.

Chimichurri Grill is a Adelaide's food truck that specialises in serving up delicious Argentinian-style street food

Chimichurri Grill is a must-try food truck that specialises in serving up delicious Argentinian-style street food. From sizzling grilled meats to flavourful vegetarian options, Chimichurri Grill offers a menu bursting with irresistible flavours that are sure to satisfy. With its vibrant mobile food van and a decade of experience, it’s a go-to choice for exploring the diverse and delectable world of food trucks in Adelaide.

New La Cantina Co offers a taste of Mexico with its delectable tacos and burritos, while Gelista tantalises sweet-toothed patrons with its artisanal Australian-made gelato. With an ever-changing roster of trucks and cuisines, the food truck scene promises something for every palate. As you explore the city, you’ll see many of these beloved food trucks, alongside exciting new arrivals, on the scene. 

In addition to the bustling food trucks, pop-up markets add a touch of excitement and surprise to the street food scene. Unexpected corners of the state capital come alive with the arrival of these pop-ups, turning once-empty spaces into vibrant culinary hotspots. The atmosphere is a satisfying fusion of creativity, community, and exploration. Wander through the many stalls showcasing local artisans, food vendors, and independent businesses, each offering their own take on many Aussie favourites. 

Attending regular events is a must to truly immerse yourself in the street food culture. One such event is Fork on the Road, a popular food truck festival that brings together a wide array of mobile vendors, live music, and a dynamic atmosphere. It’s a great opportunity to sample an eclectic range of cuisines and experience the camaraderie of the food truck community. Another notable event is Gathered, a vibrant pop-up market that showcases local artisans, makers, and food vendors specialising in products with that signature Aussie flair. 

Finding scrumptious meat-free street food in A-town 

With a thriving plant-based community in Adelaide, the state capital has fast become a beacon for meat-free dining. Whether you’re a committed vegan, a curious vegetarian, or simply seeking a sustainable dining experience, the distinct array of street food options truly showcases the city’s dedication to plant-powered deliciousness. 

Staazi & Co is Adelaide's only vegan Greek food truck

As the first and only Greek vegan takeaway shop and food truck in Adders, Staazi & Co has played a crucial role in the city’s shift towards food-consciousness, with a mission to spread awareness through food so flavourful you won’t believe it’s vegan. With the most coveted vegan yiros, ABs, and loaded fries in South Australia – and staff that are always happy to answer any questions you might have about your meal – it’s no wonder Lonely Planet ranked Staazi & Co as the fifth greatest vegan food truck in the world. 

Real Falafel, one of the many beloved traders in Adelaide Central Market, specialises in appetising, 100% SA-made falafel and offers vegan and gluten-free options, ensuring everyone can enjoy its flavourful nibbles. If you want to try making your own tasty vegan and vegetarian dishes, you should visit the many produce traders in the market for the freshest produce and ingredients to make your old and new meat-free favourites.

Aubergine’s is a must-visit, offering quality South Australian produce at affordable prices. Its friendly staff and recently expanded stall, which includes Squeeze Juice Co., makes it a convenient stop for freshly squeezed juices and fruit salads. Asian Green Grocer is a haven for those seeking Asian ingredients, providing various herbs, greens, sauces, condiments, and noodles. Central Organic is the go-to for certified organic produce, with owner Stephan’s passion for organics shining through in the carefully sourced fruits and vegetables.

Michael’s Fruit and Veg is another standout, offering quality produce and a nourishing juice bar where you can enjoy refreshing and nutritious freshly squeezed juices. Rommy’s Market Garden is a beloved trader, cherished by marketgoers for its locally grown and varying produce, including beetroot, leeks, coriander, and kale. Wills & Daniel is a trader specialising in the finest first-grade produce from various regions in South Australia, ensuring that only the highest quality produce finds its way to the market.

With different fruit and vegetable traders, Adelaide Central Market is a haven for those following a meat-free diet. Whether you’re looking for exotic Asian greens, certified organic produce, or a wide variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables, the market offers an abundance of options to inspire and nourish. From creating vibrant salads to crafting delicious smoothies, the fresh and flavourful ingredients available at the market provide endless possibilities for vegan and vegetarian culinary adventures.

Adelaide’s vibrant street food scene is a melting pot of flavours and cultures that truly embodies the state capital’s rich culinary heritage. The sundry of food trucks, markets, and festivals offers an exciting opportunity to explore distinctive dishes and experience the essence of Adders culture. From traditional Australian favourites to international comestibles, the street food scene is a testament to the city’s cosmopolitan nature and its passion for good food. To truly immerse oneself in Adelaide’s street food culture, it’s essential to venture into the bustling streets and indulge in the local delicacies on offer.

Whether it’s savouring the legendary pie floater, sampling a deliciously spiced kebab, or relishing the flavours of a fusion food creation, Adelaide’s street food promises an enchanting culinary adventure that allows visitors and locals alike to truly appreciate the quirky flavours and vibrant atmosphere that makes street food an integral part of the city’s identity. For those seeking meat-free options, the city also shines as a destination to find top vegetarian and vegan dishes. Regardless of what you’re craving, be sure to venture out, explore the streets, and relish in the many flavours A-town has to offer. Bon appétit, mate!  

William Burger

William is a Cape Town-based writer with a global perspective and a lifelong passion for storytelling. Drawing on his academic background in literature and the arts, he delights in crafting narratives that take readers on electrifying journeys that transcend continents, borders, and cultures. Never one to be intimidated by a blank page, he continues to hone his craft – wherever his pen and intellectual wanderlust might take him down the line.

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