The world's most delicious snacks – which UK ones made the list?

Snacks around the world

<p>Kiian Oksana/Shutterstock</p>

Kiian Oksana/Shutterstock

The solution to between-meals hunger pangs, the ideal accompaniment to a movie or night in front of the TV, and often the most welcome guest of all at any type of party – snacks are our saviours on so many occasions. We've searched the globe to uncover the tastiest, most popular snacks eaten in different countries, from familiar favourites to beautiful bites you might never have heard of.

Read through our countdown of the world's most delicious snacks, from sweet treats to seriously savoury creations that pack in the flavour.

We've based our ranking on the enduring popularity of each snack in its place of origin and beyond, and on the opinions of our well-travelled (and well-fed) team. The list is unavoidably subjective.

30. Baklava, various locations



Chopped nuts, delicate filo pastry and a sweet syrup or honey are all you need to make this heavenly snack. The pastry has a huge range of regional variations, using different types of nuts, spices and syrup flavours such as rosewater and orange flower. Baklava's history is complicated, with both Turkey and Greece having strong claims to it – though its origins have been traced back to the 8th century BC, when people in the Assyrian Empire layered flatbreads with chopped nuts for celebrations.

29. Dadar gulung, Indonesia

<p>Bored Photography/Shutterstock</p>

Bored Photography/Shutterstock

As sweet as they are colourful, dadar gulung is a popular street food snack from Indonesia. The pancakes are made with coconut milk and coloured green with pandan, before being filled with a sticky mixture of grated coconut, palm sugar and pandan leaf. They're rolled up with the filling, a little like a spring roll, making them perfectly portable, munchable snacks that can be enjoyed anywhere and anytime.

28. Ma'amoul, Egypt

<p>Fidia Helianti/Shutterstock</p>

Fidia Helianti/Shutterstock

These filled semolina biscuits are as nice to eat as they are to look at. Made using a special mould, which gives them that distinctive patterned finish, ma'amoul are deliciously buttery and filled with dried fruits or nuts such as figs, dates, pistachios and walnuts. They originate in Egypt, but they're now enjoyed throughout the Middle East and North Africa, particularly during religious holidays and periods of celebration.

27. S'mores, USA

<p>Kelly vanDellen/Shutterstock</p>

Kelly vanDellen/Shutterstock

This traditional campfire treat is one that most Americans will have fond childhood memories of. With marshmallow and chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers, it's melted into a gooey, sticky-sweet mess that might not be neat to eat but is definitely scrumptious. It's so easy to make at home, too, whether over a fire or in the microwave, which is surely one of the reasons it's so enduringly popular.

26. Plantain chips, various locations

<p>Frantisek Keclik/Shutterstock</p>

Frantisek Keclik/Shutterstock

Eaten throughout Africa, plantain chips are a close cousin of crisps (more on those later). A little like bananas, but typically used in savoury dishes, plantains are thinly sliced and fried to make crunchy and crispy chips, which are usually lightly salted to let their natural flavour shine through. Plus, they're full of fibre and loaded with other nutrients, including potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C, making them a little healthier than some other snacks.

25. Koeksister, South Africa

<p>AS Foodstudio/Shutterstock</p>

AS Foodstudio/Shutterstock

The sticky, exquisitely sweet koeksister is a kind of doughnut with a pretty plaited shape. The name derives from the Afrikaans word koek – which is also the origin of the word cookie via Dutch – meaning cake. Some say sister comes from sissen, meaning sizzle, while others think the intertwined strands of dough symbolise sisters. Once fried, these delightful cinnamon, lemon and ginger flavoured doughnut-style treats are soaked in syrup. For the Cape Malay version, they're also rolled in desiccated coconut.

24. Takoyaki, Japan



Each of these pillowy balls of fried dough contains a juicy morsel of octopus. Made on a special takoyaki grill, they're quickly turned as they cook to form their round shape, making them easy to pop in your mouth in a single bite. Takoyaki are drizzled with a sweet sauce, resulting in a sticky, soft snack that bursts with flavour. You can find them at any Japanese food market and, increasingly, around the world, too.

23. Poffertjes, Netherlands

<p>Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock</p>

Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

If you thought pancakes couldn't be beaten, think again. One way to turn anything into the perfect snack is to make a mini version of it, and that's exactly what poffertjes do. These tiny pancakes are made with buckwheat flour and yeast – giving them their distinctive puffy look – then covered in icing sugar and butter. If sweet snacks aren't your thing, there's also a savoury version made with Gouda.

22. Pão de queijo, Brazil



Put bread and cheese together, and what do you get? Food heaven, every time. Pão de queijo is just one of many bread-cheese combos out there, and it's one you definitely don't want to ignore. With a name that simply means cheese bread in Portuguese, these small rolls hail from Brazil. Pão de queijo is made with tapioca (cassava) flour for a chewy texture and the cheese is usually from the Minas Gerais region, where the snack originates.

21. Chocolate digestives, UK



The UK is a nation of biscuit lovers, which is only natural when tea is the favourite hot drink. Shortbread ranks among the bestsellers, but there's one biscuit that consistently comes out ahead of the pack in surveys of the country's favourite biscuits. Chocolate digestives are simply a semi-sweet biscuit topped with a layer of milk or dark chocolate. They're dunkable, snappable, and pair perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee. The only question now is: do you eat them chocolate side up, or down?

20. Churros, Spain



Not quite doughnuts and not quite pastries, churros begin with a choux dough that's piped into hot oil for a crunchy on the outside, fluffy in the middle snack. After frying, they're coated in cinnamon and sugar and preferably eaten while still warm, straight from a street food stand. If that doesn't already sound tasty enough, you can also dip them in chocolate sauce. They're often thought of as Mexican, but can be found throughout Latin America, Portugal and Spain.

19. Kartoffelpuffer, Germany

<p>Stepanek Photography/Shutterstock</p>

Stepanek Photography/Shutterstock

German cuisine definitely isn't the only one to have a potato pancake, but there's something particularly tempting about kartoffelpuffer – also known as reibekuchen in the Rheinland. This popular snack consists of grated potato mixed with onion, flour and egg, fried until wonderfully golden with a satisfying crunch. Kartoffelpuffer are usually eaten with applesauce, sour cream or other condiments that complement them beautifully.

18. Stroopwafel, Netherlands



The stroopwafel – a wafer cookie with two thin waffles sandwiched together by chewy caramel – is one of the most celebrated exports from the Netherlands, as well as being big at home.  Although readily available packaged in shops, they're much better freshly made. You can just tuck in, but wisdom says the best way to eat them is by warming them on top of your tea or coffee mug first.

17. Mooncake, China

<p>Romix Image/Shutterstock</p>

Romix Image/Shutterstock

Mooncakes are traditionally eaten in China during the Mid-Autumn Festival, also called the Moon Festival. These little cakes were traditionally filled with sacred lotus seed paste but today can contain red bean paste, nuts, seeds, durian paste and more. The pastry includes a salted egg yolk, representing the moon. Due to their rich filling, mooncakes are often cut into wedges to be eaten in more manageable pieces and to get a good look at the eye-catching centre.

16. Sausage roll, UK

<p>Kiian Oksana/Shutterstock</p>

Kiian Oksana/Shutterstock

You can't get much simpler than a sausage roll. This classic British picnic or pub snack consists of puff pastry wrapped around well-seasoned sausage meat. Traditionally flavoured with herbs and spices such as thyme and black pepper, the humble sausage roll is often given modern twists, featuring everything from 'nduja and chorizo to Parmesan and chilli. There are also many plant-based versions, too.

15. Biltong, South Africa

<p>YARUNIV Studio/Shutterstock</p>

YARUNIV Studio/Shutterstock

Not to be confused with beef jerky, biltong is a form of dried meat that originates from South Africa and other countries in the same region. It can be made with a variety of types of meat, from beef to ostrich, and is made by first marinating the meat in vinegar and spices before hanging it to dry. The result is a chewy, meaty snack with a history that stretches back to at least the 17th century, when this method was used to preserve meat for future meals.

14. Qatayef, Middle East

<p>Do Marketing/Shutterstock</p>

Do Marketing/Shutterstock

Qatayef (also katayef, qata'if or atayef) are often enjoyed for dessert but also make indulgent snacks, including when breaking fast during Ramadan. To make them, yeasted pancakes are stuffed, folded into a dumpling, fried and covered in syrup. They can contain nuts, cream, cheese, fruit or even chocolate spread. Qatayef can even be presented as a folded and filled pancake, or baked for a slightly healthier take. Across the Middle East, there are just as many variations on the recipe as there are on the spelling.

13. Lamington, Australia



The lamington is a legendary Australian treat. So loved are these little square cakes – covered in chocolate before being rolled in desiccated coconut – they're celebrated with a national day every 21 July. Lamingtons can also be bumped up a level with a filling, such as cream or jam. Though you'll find plenty of variations on the simple Lamington, many people believe that keeping it classic is the way to go.

12. Brownies, USA

<p>New Africa/Shutterstock</p>

New Africa/Shutterstock

A true brownie should be fudgy and a little gooey, with a crinkly, crisp top. At least, that's what the experts say. Some might like their brownies a little firmer and cake-like, even if others would say they're very wrong. Either way, these chocolatey slices of heaven are worth a little effort. Endless flavours can be added, too, from caramel to miso. If it goes with chocolate, you can be sure someone has put it in a brownie.

11. Meat pie, Australia and New Zealand



In some parts of the world, pies are typically regarded as being sweet. But ask an Aussie or Kiwi and they'll tell you that meat pies are where it's at, especially if it's hand-held and snackable. Savoury pies can be filled with all kinds of meat or vegetarian ingredients – although beef, chicken and lamb are most common – and packed with an array of flavours. Influences from other cultures are welcome, too, with fusion takes ranging from chicken tikka to curry goat.

10. Lumpia, Indonesia and the Philippines

<p>Wong Yu Liang/Shutterstock</p>

Wong Yu Liang/Shutterstock

A little like a spring roll, lumpia are traditionally made with pork mince and vegetables, often with prawns thrown in, too. The paper-thin wrapper is all-important for the ultimate crunchy lumpia, which is made even better by dipping into sweet chilli sauce or other sauces.

9. Nanaimo bar, Canada



The no-bake Nanaimo bar – from the British Columbian city that gives it its name – starts with a base layer of wafer, nuts and coconut. On this goes a layer of thick, fudgy custard, with the whole thing topped off with a silky chocolate ganache. Crunchy, creamy and chocolatey all at once, they're impossible to resist.

8. Mochi, Japan



Chewy, irresistibly pretty mochi are Japanese rice cakes found in a multitude of pretty colours. Glutinous rice flour gives them their distinctive texture, and means they can be (and often are) moulded into cute little balls or other shapes. They're often filled, and sometimes have ice cream in the middle, too. As for flavours, you'll find everything from plain mochi to mango, strawberry and green tea.

7. Pani puri, India

<p>Soumitra Pendse/Shutterstock</p>

Soumitra Pendse/Shutterstock

Sometimes the best snack is one that delivers a single mouthful of beautiful flavours. That's what pani puri are all about, piling tantalising tastes into hollow, bite-sized dough balls. The crispy shells, or puri, are typically filled with potato, onion and chickpeas. Then they're topped off with other ingredients designed to pack a real punch, such as tamarind chutney or chilli powder. Pick it up, pop it in and feel your taste buds come alive.

6. Doughnut, various locations



Fried sweet dough is such a simple concept that dozens of cultures and countries have a snack similar to a doughnut. And yet there are so many ways to put different spins on this basic food that no two doughnuts are ever exactly the same. They can be shaped, filled, iced and so much more. Whether eaten for breakfast, with an afternoon coffee or for dessert, doughnuts are undoubtedly one of the best snacks around.

5. Poutine, Canada



A simple yet undeniably tasty combination of fries, cheese curds and gravy, poutine is arguably Canada's national dish. While it has the potential to be a full meal, it's regularly enjoyed as a snack food. Poutine originated in Québec but soon grew to be loved across Canada (and beyond), thanks to its comforting combination of tastes and textures. It has just three main ingredients at its simplest, although many takes on this classic add meat, vegetables and flavours inspired by cuisines around the world.

4. Currywurst, Germany



Often eaten as a late-night snack, and sold from from snack stands, or schnellimbisse, currywurst is arguably Germany's favourite fast food. (Though some would point to the heartier döner kebab, developed in Berlin.) Combining slices of juicy sausage with a spiced tomato sauce, it's said to have been invented in 1949 by Herta Heuwer, who mixed tomato sauce with curry powder and poured it over a sausage. Just like that, an icon was born. It's typically sold with a side of chips or on a bread roll.

3. Nachos, Mexico



The invention of this classic movie and game day snack is attributed to Ignatio Anaya García – a maitre'd at Club Victoria, just over the Mexican border from Texas. It's said Nacho, as he was known, threw the dish together for a group of soldiers' wives, from a nearby US Army base, when the chef wasn't around. He really thought on his feet, because this crunchy, salty, cheesy and spicy dish really is an explosion of flavour. The basic elements are tortilla chips and melted cheese, but it's open to experimentation with salsa, vegetables, meat, guacamole and sour cream.

2. Samosa, various locations



These perfect, deep-fried parcels of spiced meat or vegetables are eaten throughout Central and South Asia, the Middle East – and pretty much everywhere else, as their popularity has spread far and wide. The samosa's distinctive shape gives it its name, which can be traced to the Middle Persian word sanbosag, meaning triangular pastry. These street snacks may contain potato, peas, chillies, cheese and/or mince, and are always packed with plenty of flavourful spice. Recipes vary by region and are even offered up for dessert.

1. Crisps, various locations

<p>Roman Debree/Shutterstock</p>

Roman Debree/Shutterstock

Is it any wonder that several countries have tried to lay claim to crisps? Eaten around the world in an array of flavours, they have to be the most snackable food out there. France, the UK and USA all have potential origin stories. An American yarn says they were invented in Saratoga Springs, New York. Another theory claims they first appeared in an English cookbook, and yet another says they made their way to Britain from France. Wherever they're from, they take pride of place in many a lunch box, picnic basket or spread of party nibbles.

Now discover the world's best hand-held foods