A Food & Travel Blog

StrEat Palermo – A brilliant street food tour

31/10/2016 | By

Getting to know Palermo one dish at a time with a StrEat Palermo street food tour.

delcious arancini on the StrEat Palermo food tour

The cuisine of Sicily is a reflection of the many different cultures who have been dominant there over the centuries and the street food of the island tells that history in every dish. Now, a greedy girl like me is most unlikely to miss out on an opportunity to get her history lessons via food, so while in Palermo The Bloke and I took part in one of the best local street food tours around, hosted by StrEat Palermo.

street, with vespa, StrEat Palermo

 

As always, a good, local food tour helps visitors to get to know the city they are visiting. Several hours spent wandering the back streets of Palermo, under the guidance of the knowledgable Francesca,  helped us orientate ourselves in the city, discover some of the local secrets and enjoy the  tasty, local street specialities while burning calories at the same time. That’s totally a win/win in my book.

the grand Theatro Massimo on the StrEat Palermo tour

The tour started in one of Palermo’s markets – the Capo market, just behind the magnificent Theatro Massimo. One of the four markets in Palermo, the Capo market sells a huge range of local foods, spices and seafood.

tomatoes at Capo Market, StrEat Palermo

veggies at Capo Market, StrEat Palermo

Ready to eat snacks at Capo Market, StrEat Palermo

Lots of delicious fried snacks at Capo Market.

We made our way through the crowded market, stopping for the first of our local treats, panelle e cazzilli and arancine. Panelle are square, flat fritters made from chick pea flour. They are frequently served with cazzilli, fried potato fritters, in bread rolls. In a grave blogging fail, I neglected to take photos of these before they were all snapped up but if I tell you that ‘cazzilli’ translates to ‘little pricks’ I’m sure you’ll get an idea of how they look. 😉

Arancine are a staple across Sicily and, like panelle, are Arabic in origin. Their fillings vary depending upon what part of the island you eat them, but in Palermo the rice for these golden balls is cooked with saffron and they are stuffed with a meat filling. Quite frankly I could have eaten the whole plate of these.

Golden, saffron infused arancini, StrEat Palermo

From here we headed through the twisting laneways to meet up with the sfincione man. A delicious snack, Sfincione is very similar to pizza in looks.  Again, the toppings vary depending upon where in Sicily you are eating it, but the base is quite distinctively thick, light and very spongy.

 

sfincione man, StrEat Palermo

One of the most distinctive of local street foods, and exclusive to Palermo, is the notorious pane ca meusa – the spleen sandwich.  It is sold by street traders and consists of chopped cow’s lung and spleen which have been boiled for some time, before being fried in lard. It is served in a soft bun and comes either ‘married’, served with ricotta, or ‘single’, without the cheese. I was brought up eating very badly cooked offal, so am not a fan. These sandwiches were tasty enough and The Bloke enjoyed his, but they were not quite tasty enough to make me change my mind about eating spleen.

Spleen, StrEat Palermo

Cooking up the spleen & lungs.

Pane ca Muesa, StrEat Palermo

Spleen sandwich

Once everyone had their fill of cow organs we moved off to find some liquid refreshment. On the way to a local bar for a glass of marsala, a fortified wine produced in the town of Marsala in Sicily, we stopped so that those who wanted to could experience an interesting local drink. It consists of a large glass of orange drink to which a big spoon of effervescent powder is added. The aim is to drink the whole lot down while it is still frothing – for reasons that were never fully explained. After watching one or two of my fellow travels have a go I decided to pass.

a challenging fizzy drink, StrEat Palermo

Rising to the challenge, as the drink rises up his nose!

The tour finished, as is only proper, with gelato. Of course this frozen dessert treat is available all over Italy, but Sicily is one of the places it is thought to have originated. Unusually, it is served all over the island on fresh, soft brioche rolls, making it a much richer, more calorific snack – or a well rounded meal. I guess it just depends upon your point of view.

Pistachio Gelato, StrEat Palermo

While I was scoffing down some of the very best pistachio gelato I’ve ever had, I noticed this charming baker next  door, filling cookies. With a smile like that how could I resist taking a photo?

charming baker, StrEat Palermo

StrEat Palermo offers winter, summer and night food tours for €39.

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  1. Liz (Good Things)
    31/10/2016

    Gorgeous photographs, Amanda. Great tour, and that arancini! Yum.

  2. Tandy | Lavender and Lime
    31/10/2016

    We spent such a little time in Palermo but we did spend time eating there. I shall keep this in mind for when we go back as we are going to do the entire island at some stage. I agree, the pistachio ice cream is just the best in Italy 🙂

  3. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    31/10/2016

    Ahh this must be fate. I saw Glamourous Glutton’s Palermo street food tour just recently too and the food looks so enticing! 😀

  4. Glamorous Glutton
    03/11/2016

    Lorraine is right, we did the same tour. We didn’t see the orange with fizz powder, not sure I could have downed that! GG

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