What to eat in Palermo: Street food

Street food Palermo

Despite the widespread presence of restaurants that prepare such delicacies throughout the Italian territory, I highly recommend to taste the typical dishes of Palermo directly in the city that made them famous. Only in this way can you live an authentic and indelible experience, able to leave an imprint in the heart and mind. You might even consider taking part in a fun local cooking class, bringing with you the best memories of your holiday in Palermo.
And now, to get started, give yourself a taste of the local street food!


Undoubtedly, the protagonist of the typical cuisine of Palermo is arancina. Immortalized by Inspector Montalbano, this classic recipe has been able to adapt perfectly to modern times, transforming from a traditional dish to an indispensable street food. Prepared with rice, arancina is usually stuffed with meat sauce, mozzarella and ham, then breaded and fried in plenty of hot oil. However, the most creative variations are not lacking, with fillings made from other sauces, vegetables and even desserts.
In Palermo, the arancine take a strictly round shape, an evident tribute to the traditional Sicilian oranges, and, above all, they are associated with the female gender. On the east coast of Sicily, and in particular in Catania, the same recipe changes shape and genre: here they are called arancini, they have the characteristic cone shape, symbolizing the imposing presence of Etna.

Pane, panelle e crocchè

Here is another typical delicacy of the culinary tradition of Palermo, particularly appreciated as street food, which you should definitely not miss: the three of a kind consisting of bread, bread and croquettes. This modest but irresistible snack revolves around two simple elements. The first are the panelle, delicious pancakes made with chickpea flour, while the croquettes, also known as cazzilli, are tasty potato croquettes. Both of these components, skilfully prepared through frying, are used to stuff the Mafalda, a type of bread that pays homage to the Princess of Savoy and is distinguished by the crust enriched with sesame seeds.


Raschiatura In the city’s deep fryers, absolutely not to be missed is the delicious scraping: a tasty creation obtained by the assembly of leftover dough used for the panelle and the croquettes. Its name comes from the careful “scraping” of the trays of these premises, determined to fry every single ingredient to the last crumb. Delight your palate with this traditional dish that challenges food waste!

Pani ca Mìevusa

Another typical culinary speciality of Palermo is the pani ca’ meusa, a sandwich filled with the spleen of veal. This particular meat is initially boiled and then fried in plenty of hot lard, just before being used as a filling for the vastedda: a large round sandwich sprinkled with sesame seeds. There is no specific recipe for pani ca’ meusa; it can also be prepared with the calf lung, cooked in the same way as the spleen. In addition, this sandwich can be served in two variants: schiettu, containing only fried meat, or maritatu, enriched with salted ricotta and caciocavallo.


Coming from the stigghiularu, the stigghiole are another delicious street food from Palermo, easily identifiable by the distant presence of smoke from their grill. They are actually lamb intestines, but they can also be prepared with veal and kid. They are wrapped around spring onions and grilled. Alternatively, you can find them skewered on skewers and fixed with chives. Because of their raw material, they might not be appreciated by everyone, but their strong and characteristic taste certainly justifies a tasting.

Mussu, Quarume e Frittola

All three specialties of Palermo are based on the same principle: fully exploit every part of the animal. The mussu includes the cartilage of the snout and the legs of the pig, which are boiled and seasoned; the quarume consists of offal of beef or veal stewed with vegetables, while the frittola is obtained by frying cracklings, derived from the production of lard.


Undisputed emblem of the Palermo street food culture, the sfincione is an exquisite focaccia with a dough similar to that of pizza, in which tomato sauce represents the authentic badge of the Palermo recipe. Enriched with a variety of ingredients, the sfincione is one of the typical dishes of Palermo to taste absolutely.

Cassata Siciliana

From a carnival-related dessert to a traditionally Easter one, the Sicilian cassata has its roots during the Arab domination in Sicily. It was during this period that the Arabs introduced to the Sicilian land ingredients such as sugar cane, lemon, bitter orange, tangerine, cedar and almond. During the Norman domination, the original dough of shortcrust pastry was replaced with that of royal pasta, transforming the baked cassata into a cold prepared delight.

Subsequently, the Spanish contributed by introducing chocolate and sponge cake, while in the Baroque period candied fruit was added. Among the recommended places to enjoy the best cassata, stands the Pasticceria Cappello in via Colonna Rotta 68.

Pane cunzato, also known in Sicily as bread of misfortune, is one of the oldest sandwiches in the world. This sandwich, composed of simple and easily available ingredients, has been the main meal of many Sicilian farmers for many centuries. Thanks to its highly customizable recipe, the essential elements include anchovy fillets distributed over the entire surface of the bread, tomato slices, salt cheese and a generous touch of oregano.

U coppo

This authentic Palermo dish perfectly embodies the tradition of presenting the fried fish mixture in a paper cone. Whether it is a purely fish-based version or enriched with panelle and crocchè, you can not miss the opportunity to enjoy this delicious fried food to be enjoyed while walking.

Polpo bollito

Another typical specialty of Palermo is the boiled octopus dish, accompanied by a splash of lemon juice. Carefully prepared in local markets, look for the best specimen of “u purparu” and delight your palate with this delicacy.



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Created: 16/12/2023 20:02:43

Last updated: 18/12/2023 16:35:54 ()