The World's Best Late Night Foods

  • 01 of 09

    Just Give in

    dicksonyue/flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

    There’s a recklessness about our quest for food after a night out on the town that allows us to indulge with guilt-free abandonment. From beignets to bagels, this freedom is part of what makes after-hours dining so delicious. As a result, sugar and salt-laden delicacies feature heavily on this list of the world’s best late night foods. Besides their calorie content, however, each dish has one thing in common — and that’s their ability to deliver immediate, unadulterated satisfaction. 

    Continue to 2 of 9 below.
  • 02 of 09

    Berlin: Döner Kebabs

    Alex Kehr via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

    Döner kebabs are the unofficial late night food of Berlin, with countless shops and mobile stalls selling the indecently greasy, sinfully delicious Turkish sandwiches to those in need of after-hours refreshment. Made from lamb, beef, veal or chicken, döner meat is grilled on a vertical rotisserie before being sliced and stuffed into pita or flatbread. Sauces and other accompaniments vary, from crisp salad, to crumbled cheese and red cabbage.

    Where to Try: Mustafa Gemüse Kebab, Imren Grill

    Continue to 3 of 9 below.
  • 03 of 09

    Bangkok: Pad Thai

    Richard Moross/flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Thailand’s iconic dish is readily available around the clock in Bangkok, where it serves as the ultimate antidote to long hours of debauchery in South East Asia’s party capital. Spend your last baht on a plateful at a sidewalk food cart; or opt for a more refined experience at one of Bangkok’s sit-down restaurants. Either way, traditional pad thai involves stir-fried rice noodles flavored with fish sauce, shrimp and egg; then topped with lime wedges and chopped peanuts.

    Where to Try: Khao San Road, Pad Thai Thip Samai

    Continue to 4 of 9 below.
  • 04 of 09

    New York: Pizza

    New york pizza
    Juanmonino/Getty Images

    Thin-base pizza is a late night staple in the City that Never Sleeps, and the question of which joint serves the best slice is a topic of hot debate. The answer depends on your personal preference — whether you are a diehard fan of the classic margherita, or a connoisseur of gourmet toppings. Amongst New Yorkers, after-hours favorites include Artichoke Basille for creamy artichoke and spinach laden pies; and Vinnie Vincenz for end-of-the-night $1 slices.

    Where to Try: Artichoke Basille, Vinnie Vincenz

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    London: Bagels

    Brick Lane Beigels
    S. M. Swenson / Contributor/Getty Images

    London’s Brick Lane is perhaps most famous for its curry restaurants, but those in the know also flock here for late night bagels. After emerging from the trendy clubs of the East End, revellers are drawn to the city’s oldest bagel shops by the tantalising scent of fresh-baked dough cooked in the traditional Jewish style. Fillings range from cream cheese and salmon to hot salt beef and mustard,  but every option offers culinary delight for less than the cost of a McDonald’s burger.

    Where to Try: Beigel Bake, Beigel Shop

    Continue to 6 of 9 below.
  • 06 of 09

    Durban: Bunny Chow

    Gourmandise/flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The South African city of Durban is famous for its thriving Indian culture. Appropriately, the city’s favorite late night indulgence is the bunny chow — an Indian-inspired delicacy unique to South African cuisine. Consisting of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with fragrant curry, bunny chows feature on the menu of most of the city’s Indian restaurants. After 10:30pm, however, you’ll need to head to hole-in-the-wall joints like Sunrise Chip n’ Ranch to satisfy your bunny craving.

    Where to Try: Gounden’s, Sunrise Chip n’ Ranch

    Continue to 7 of 9 below.
  • 07 of 09

    New Orleans: Beignets

    Have a cafe au lait with a light beignet at the famous Cafe Du Monde - The Original Coffee Stand, French Quarter 'Vieux Carre', New Orleans
    John Elk/Getty Images

    Late night diners are spoiled for choice in New Orleans, a city known for its mouthwatering Cajun-Creole cuisine. For those with a sweet tooth, however, there’s no better small hours snack than a fresh beignet. Harking back to the city’s French heritage, beignets are delectable squares of deep-fried choux pastry, generously dusted with powdered sugar. At legendary coffee shop Café du Monde, one can indulge in a beignet-fuelled sugar high at any time of day or night.

    Where to Try: Café du Monde, Morning Call Coffee Stand

    Continue to 8 of 9 below.
  • 08 of 09

    Tokyo: Tsukemen

    City Foodsters/flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Late night dining is a relative term in Tokyo, with most kitchens closing around midnight at the latest. However, if you’re looking to stock up on salt-laden carbohydrates before catching the last subway home, tsukemen offers a tasty alternative to traditional ramen. Known in English as dipping noodles, tsukemen is a two-in-one specialty consisting of a serving of plain ramen paired with a bowl of flavorful broth for dunking the noodles into.

    Where to Try: Jurumen Ikeda, Mentoku Tsujita

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Oaxaca City: Tlayudas

    hija del caos/flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

    From 9:00pm to 6:00am, Las Libres street in Mexico’s colorful Oaxaca City is transformed into a foodie’s paradise. The highlight of the street’s nighttime culinary scene is the tlayuda, a Oaxacan specialty involving a large tortilla cooked over open charcoal fires on the sidewalk. The tortilla is then topped with refried beans, quesillo, lettuce and salsa. Carnivores can add extras like chorizo and tasajo (thinly sliced beef), thereby creating Mexico’s answer to late night pizza.

    Where to Try: Cenaduría Tlayudas Libres