It's a land of knowledge and flavors, where the past resists and coexists with pressing modernity. Puglia, a narrow and long country, presents a territorial diversity that's reflected in the variety of gastronomic proposals. A geographically diverse region, which passes from the rocky and sandy coasts to the plains and from the hilly inland to the limestone plateaus.
A land that tries to retain its roots and that has always linked its culinary tradition to street food. From Gargano to the Salento, if you want to savor the taste of the territory, while enjoying the landscape and good company, there's a wealth of choice.
Here, then, is a list of the most famous (even abroad) street foods made in Puglia.
STREET FOOD IN PUGLIA: 10 MUST TRY DISHES
Whether from Bari, Zapponeta (in Foggia province) or classic, focaccia is certainly a must try of the Apulian street food. Thin and covered with tomatoes and olives, or softer and risen, focaccia is one of the region's most famous baked products. As a meal, to accompany raw fish (mussels, sea urchin and an ice-cold beer are one of the classic dishes and traditional dishes in Bari), focaccia is there to be enjoyed at any time of the day! To be devoured wrapped in waxed paper and, or for gourmands stuffed with mortadella.
Last May, Bari's focaccia was elected the best in Italy, as part of the contest organized by FICO Eataly World in Bologna. A recognition won by the historic Panificio Fiore located in the Borgo Antico.
SCAGLIOZZE AND POPIZZE
Bari sgagliozze are quadrangular slices of yellow polenta, fried in boiling oil and served with a sprinkling of salt. They can be eaten in a very authentic way, among the narrow streets of Bari, where old ladies are still found, with their own kiosks, ready to serve and fry them in the moment.
Sgagliozze are usually accompanied by another fried product: the popizze. Also called Bari combs, the popizze are small crispy and tasty pancakes, served piping hot and sprinkled with salt.
Panzerotto is another classic from the Apulian rotisserie. If in some areas of Italy, this term indicates the oven-baked calzone, in Puglia panzerotto is the typical crescent of leavened and fried dough, stuffed with tomato and mozzarella. Next to the classic filling, there are others that include every sort of ingredient: from turnip tops and sausage to cold cuts and pistachio, but it is also found in a sweet version, with chocolate.
You can find it anywhere: from bakeries to pizzerias, in various versions and sizes. Today the panzerotto has also become a gourmet food, thanks to the use of high quality products for both the filling and the dough, prepared with fine flours or alternatives.
Typical of the Salento tradition, the "rustico" is a disc of puff pastry filled with tomato, mozzarella and béchamel sauce. It's brushed with egg and baked in the oven. It can be found in any delicatessen, bar or bakery in Salento. In summer, it is one of the typical beach "snacks".
PANINO COL POLPO
Mola di Bari (in the province of Bari) is the capital of this street food. Here, every year, in the month of July, there is also a themed festival. A bread roll and grilled octopus seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and lemon. These are the only ingredients of a dish that is a cornerstone of the Bari culinary tradition. To eat sitting at the tables of the kiosks on the waterfront and to accompany strictly with an ice-cold beer.
PANINO COL PESCE
A modern and gourmet version of the octopus sandwich, which revisits the culinary and simple tradition of fishermen, is the fish sandwich. This must of the contemporary gastronomic proposal, in the most sought-after variants, the bread rosette today is stuffed with every sort of delicacy: tuna and salmon tartare, ice prawns, stracciatella, basil pesto, Martina Franca capocollo, dried tomatoes and thousand other options. To eat sitting in the new fish restaurant or to take away.
Sea urchins, mussels, cuttlefish, prawns. All rigorously freshly caught and eaten raw, seasoned to the maximum with a few drops of lemon. If you go to Puglia you cannot not try this gastronomic experience a little "pulp", but very characteristic in its simplicity. Returning from fishing, in the kiosks of the city, the fishermen sell these delicacies to taste at the moment, as they are, without hesitation. We recommend accompanying everything with some bread (to collect the fruit of the hedgehog), or with focaccia or panzerotti, and ice-cold beer. Raw sea urchins cannot be missing on a typical summer evening on the beach.
Rolls of fresh pork stuffed usually with cheese, salt and pepper, typical of the Valle d'Itria area. Bombette have a rounded shape, from which the name derives and, impaled on a skewer, they are cooked on the grill. From the original recipe many other versions have been developed, with various fillings of fresh or aged cheeses and cured meats. You can enjoy them cooked at the moment in the many butchers-braceries in the area, or at the kiosks during the festivals.
“Gnumareddi” are roulades prepared with mixed offal of lamb entrails or dairy goats, wrapped inside their own gut, together with parsley leaves and are very common in the Valle d'Itria region. There are numerous variants of the name given to this food: gnumarijedde (in the province of Taranto), nghiemeridde (used in Bari and its province), gnommareddhri (Sud Salento), turcinello (a name used in Foggiano). They should be tasted as soon as they are cooked on the grill and, even these, as well as the bomblets, you can find them in the many butcher shops - bracerie of the area, or at the kiosks during the festivals.
TYPICAL ITALIAN CAKE WITH CUSTARD CREAM FILLING
One of the typical sweet foods of a part of Puglia, or Salento, is the timeless pasticciotto from Lecce. Composed of shortcrust pastry filled with custard, brushed with egg whites before baking, the pasticciotto reaches its typical amber and glossy browning once cooked. It can be found in any bar and bakery in the southern region.
There are also some with different fillings: chocolate, pistachio, ricotta. Eaten hot, freshly baked (but also excellent cold), it can accompany your breakfast or end your meal. But why not, it's also good for a snack.