It seems that the effects of a 'driver,' a special drink made with lemon juice, soda water and sparkling soda, used to "degrease" and digest after over indulging, are miraculous.
And where else could such a concoction have been invented if not in Palermo, Italy, the capital of Sicilian street food – some of the best street food in the world.
In the capital of the sun-kissed island, there are still many kiosks where you can try the mysterious digestive effect of the driver, and you'll more than likely be all the better for it. Particularly if you decide to take a culinary tour of the specialties of a region that offer all possible variations on a theme of " fried and carbs."
We have selected just nine of them, to scratch the surface of some of the island favourites. Take your pick of your new favourite street food from Sicily?
Photo: Ragusa h24
Born in the town of Ragusa, in the south of Sicily, the 'scaccia' varies, depending both on the very thin dough – made of water, oil and yeast, and folded several times – and the filling, generally containing cottage cheese, onion, eggplant, tomato, and sausage.
Photo: Cinque Cose Belle
An example of fine typical Sicilian street food for all those offal lovers! Served on the street from 'stigghiularu,' the lamb intestines (sometimes chicken or goat) are simply skewered and cooked on the grill, seasoned with salt and lemon and eaten when still warm.
This may look like a pizza, but rather confusingly, it's not. Instead, a basic yeast-like dough with a pizza-like topping that can include a tomato sauce with onion, anchovies and oregano and an optional sprinkling of cheese. Needless to say, the variations are endless.
Most discussion around this Sicilian street food focuses more on the namesake of the 'small orange' than on the recipe. The dilemma can be resolved simply by saying arancini (deep fried rice balls with a filling) can be shaped in any way depending on the geographical origin and on the traditional recipe.
5. Pane and Panelle
Photo: La Forchetta e Il Coltello
One of the few, and perhaps only, cases of 100% vegan Sicilian street food. A sandwich, which is usually covered with sesame seeds, and a stuffing made from chickpea flour pancakes: very easy to prepare and can be served with potato croquettes.
Impossible not to know about them and even more impossible not to love them: the cannoli are the sweeter side of Sicilian street food. Although they can now be found in all parts of Italy, those that are tasted (in the right places) in Sicily are of an authentic and inimitable goodness. Candied fruits, ground pistachio nuts and chocolate sprinkled on top are all optional.
7. PANI CUNZATU
Photo: Piacere Sicilia
The cunzatu bread, or bread cunzato, is a recipe born out of poverty, and those who had no money to buy a condiment to go with the bread. These days it makes for the perfect street food for the beach: bread "seasoned" with olive oil, fresh tomatoes, oregano, anchovies, salt and pepper with optional cheese, and onions.
8. PANI CÂ MEUSA
One of the most famous Sicilian street foods, 'pani ca 'meusa' is made stuffing vastedda (soft bread) with chopped spleen and lung, boiled and then fried in lard. It can also come with added grated cheese or cottage cheese, lemon and pepper.
9. CALIA E SIMENZA
A mixture of chick peas and pumpkin seeds, which are prepared for festive occasions. Calia are chickpeas, roasted and then salted, while simenza are dried pumpkin seeds, best eaten warm and crispy.
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