Sicily explained: street food

Last time I wrote about one of a bad thing Sicily have to face: garbage.

Sicily is not only bad things, there are many good ones too. One of the good one is street food.

I would like to point out I am going to write about street food related to Palermo and its hinterland. What you could find in Palermo you couldn’t find anywhere else. Sometimes it is possible to find it outside Palermo but it is like a Chinese Rolex.

The top 3 kind of delicatessen are:

  • Pani chi panelli;
  • Pani ca meusa;
  • Stigghiola.

Pani chi panelli” is a sandwich with panella. A panella is an esplanade mixture of chickpea flour then cut in a square form and fried. It is very common to do it at home too. I can assure you the panella you buy on the street is much more tasty. The secret gives a street panella its classic taste is in the oil used to fry it. More the oil is used more the panella is good. Top chefs would probably say the contrary.. don’t believe them. A very common variation is “Pani cu panelli e cazzili”. A “cazzillo” (literally “small cock”) is a mixture of potatos, breaded and fried.

Pani cu panelli e cazzilli

Pani ca meusa” is another sandwich. This time sandwich is served with meat.. not the best part. “Meusa” is spleen of veal fried in lard. The sandwich is not served only with spleen. Spleen has a very strong bitter taste so is served along with heart and lungs. You could order it “schetta” or “maritata”. “Schetta” (means single) is without ricotta cheese. “Maritata” (means married) is with ricotta cheese. It could be order with or without lemon juice and with or without caciocavallo cheese. My favorite is “schetta” with lemon juice, without caciocavallo cheese. Why the street one is better then the homemade? Very intense use of lard.. and some lack of cleanliness.


Pani ca meusa with caviocavallo cheese

Finally “stigghiola” are guts kid rolled around a scallion. They are cooked on the grill. The homemade version of “stigghiola” are usually cooked during the spring days spent outdoors. Palermitan eat “stigghiola” like the 5 o’clock tea of English man. It’s hard to find this delicatessen in the morning and late at night, too.



If you are an adventurer you have to prove it eating “stigghiola” and “pani ca meusa”. If you are scared of anything outside a McDonald’s you are still safe with “pani chi pannelli”.