Should you eat food from street vendors when traveling abroad? Safety experts say no, but Budget Travel magazine’s August issue has good advice for travelers who want to try a sample.
Make sure the food is very hot, it advises. Choose a cart with “a long line and a quick turnover. In the developing world, bring your own bowl and utensils. Avoid carts where flies are flitting.”
And “If you don’t see a place where workers can wash their hands, pass.”
Eat My Pies
On a mission to elevate British staples such as Scotch eggs, pork pies and custard tarts to gourmet status, Eat My Pies owner Andy Bates has created a mobile menu that includes such delights as smoked haddock, Thai green curry scotch eggs, and pies filled with pork, sage, apple and currants.
£3+, Thurs, Fri 10am – 3pm
Whitecross St Market, EC1Y 8JA
Old St, Barbican, Liverpool St
Sat 10am – 4pm
Broadway Market, E8 4PH
Stations | Dalston Junction, Haggerston, Bethnal Green London Fields, Cambride Heath
Relatively new on the London street food scene, Spit Roast serves chicken that has been soaked in buttermilk before being thrown in the fryer.
Alternatively, the crew are already known for their rotisserie spit chickens, if you prefer your hen that way. Backing up the meat fest (there’s pork on offer, too) are sides including cornbread muffins, garlic and rosemary potatoes and herb gravy.
£6+, Saturdays 11am – 4pm Hackney Homemade Market, Lower Clapton Road, E5 0PD
Station | Hackney Central, Hackney Downs
It’s hard to beat this lot for delicious, healthy-ish comfort eats.
The brainchild of Simon Luard, who studied cookery in Oaxaca, Mexico, Luardos sells its wares from two graffiti-covered vans: the pink one called Mary; the blue one, Jesus H.
All grub is prepared fresh daily and the chicken, beef, pork and veggie burritos are oozing with creamy guacamole, home-made salsa, herby salad and sour cream.
£5+, Mon – Fri 11.30am – 2pm Whitecross Street Market, EC1Y 8JD
Barbican, Old St, Moorgate Sat 10am – 2pm Brockley Market, Lewisham Way, London, SE4 1UT
Stations | Brockley, Lewisham, Deptford
Bistro-style meals served from the side of an airstream trailer. The menu changes daily and you can find out what’s on offer with the Street Kitchen iPhone app.
Expect fish and meat with lush accompaniments. Yum.
£6+, Mon-Fri 11.30am -2.30pm Finsbury Avenue Square, EC2M 2PG
Stations | Liverpool St, Moorgate
Mon-Fri 12-2.30pm 33 Parkgate rd, SW11 4NP
Stations | Clapham Junction, Battersea Park
Jaz and Jul’s
This hot chocolate outfit prides itself on using real chocolate, spices and fruit oils. Its motto is ‘chocolate is the answer, the question is irrelevant‘ and the Chili con Choccy is to die for.
£3+, Sat and Sun Camden Lock market, NW1 8AF Camden Town, Chalk Farm
Sat: Broadway Market, Westgate St. E8 4PH
Station | Dalston Junction, Haggerston, Bethnal Green London Fields, Cambride Heath
Sun: Chatsworth Road, Clapton, E5 0LH
Station | Homerton, Hackney Central Hackney Downs, Clapton
Hoxton Beach Falafel
Cheap, chirpy and tasty, Hoxton Beach’s falafel comes with salad, tahina and homemade organic pickles. The team have also been known to turn their hand to hot dogs.
£3+, Mon-Fri lunchtime Goodge Place Market, W1T 3JJ
Tube | Goodge St
Mama’s Jerk Station
This Caribbean food stand serves up jerk chicken wraps, jerk pork sausages and jerk veggie bean cake among other delights. The secret is in the tropical mayonnaise.
£3, Mon-Fri 6pm-11.30pm, Sat 10am-1am, Sun 10am-11.30pm Old Truman Brewery, 91-95 Brick Lane, E1 6QL
Station | Shoreditch High St, Liverpool St
Mon-Fri 10am-6pm Camden Lock market, NW1 8AF
Station | Camden Town, Chalk Farm Sat 10am-5pm
Well Kneaded Wagon
Sourdough firebread pizza smothered in tomato, pesto or garlic and topped with the likes of chorizo, Portobello mushrooms and goats cheese.
Don’t miss the sweet pizza, which comes dripping in maple syrup, apple and cinnamon.
A favourite at private parties, the Well Kneaded crew in their vintage van have been shortlisted in the Street Food Awards.
Fri 12-3 Eat Street Market, Kings Boulevard, Kings Cross, N1C 4TB
Station | Kings Cross, St Pancras
Read more: London’s best street eats will be crown recognised at the Street Food Awards
THE WORLD’S BEST STREET FOOD: Where to Find It How to Make it, Lonely Planet, 2012, 224 pp., $19.99 (paperback)
One thing that every dedicated Japanese tourist will tell you is that you cannot really enjoy a trip abroad unless you eat your way through the exotic jungle of local food.
Unfortunately their delicate stomachs and fear of bugs and epidemics all too often prevent them from venturing into the mysterious land of street food and trying all the funky and colorful goodies one can buy for cheap from scary-looking half-naked guys and loud toothless matrons.
Lonely Planet’s latest offering may not succeed in making the Japanese or the feint of heart change their mind, but it is nevertheless a fun ride through some of the best food a couple dollars can buy.
Even better, the reader not only gets a detailed description of each dish, its origins and tips on how to find it in loco but is also taught how to prepare it. So you can enjoy it without leaving the safety of your house.
In order to help the amateur cook, they even explain the more exotic ingredients and provide easy-to-find alternatives — even though some of the recipes are frankly a little too vague.
As it may be expected, Asia takes the lion’s share of lip-smacking goodies, with almost half of the 100 recipes included. Sugar addicts do not need to worry, because the last part of the book is devoted to 20 sweets from around the world. On the other side, Latin America and especially Africa are rather underrepresented, which makes me think that the hungry army of writers who have contributed to the book may be more adventurous than your average person but not enough to brave the more remote places of the Dark Continent.
That said, the 32 writers who contribute their tales of culinary bliss go all out in their quest to convince you that — Paul Bocuse be damned — the street is where you find the heart of a cuisine and its culture. Their baldness is such that they are not afraid to state that the world’s best sandwich can be found not in Europe or America but in Vietnam, of all places. I am sure that many New Yorkers or Italians will disagree, but if you dare, head to Hoi An and get yourself a banh mi for about ¥60 or 75 cents.
For the record, Japan has only one measly entry — the ever-reliable takoyaki. After noticing an image of a hormon (beef or pork organ meat) stall gracing the top of the book cover (mistakenly listed as a takoyaki stall in the photo credits), and a full-page picture of a yakitori vendor taking pride of place beside food writer Tom Parker Bowles’ introduction, I was ready to read a lot more about this country’s healthy street food culture.
Alas, Japan may be a foodie’s paradise, and Tokyo beats the hell out of Paris and New York as far as Michelin stars are concerned, but here they all get a thorough beating from the likes of India (the clear world champion with nine entries), Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico and the U.S. (five entries each).
One odd thing I have noted is the way the term “street food” is treated throughout this book. Italy, for instance, is represented by five items, but cicchetti (the Venetian answer to tapas) are neither sold nor eaten outdoors — unless you count people spilling out of a bar because it is too crowded inside. Likewise, pizza al taglio (rectangular pieces of pizza to go) can be eaten in the street, but it is always sold in stores or bars.
In the end, considering both its hefty size and content, “Street Food” is not really something you may want to take with you on your adventures around the globe. Also, it is a very good-looking book, printed on glossy paper, so you may want to spare it a bumpy trip in a backpack through dusty roads. It probably works best as a cookbook for armchair travelers as I found out myself while trying a couple of recipes.
I may not have the time or inclination to ever visit Tunisia, but at least now I know what a brik tastes like (think of giant, tuna-and-parmesan-filled gyoza).
An African food festival at a restaurant near you, if you are a foodie, can fill you with anticipation because it is not everyday you hear of such promotions.
Mostly because we have no reference point barring the few typical Middle-Eastern and Lebanese recipes we have tried and perfected over the years. But if spicy food is your thing, be assured you’ll simply fall for the big flavours from the kitchens of Tanzania and Ethiopia that have a ridiculous similarity with Indian cooking and it’s love for spices.
Called ‘Africa on my plate’, Blanco, a multi-cuisine restaurant and bar in New Delhi’s Khan Market has lined up a wonderful array of dishes from Tanzania and Ethiopia that are enjoyed from the same plate as one big community meal after a hard day’s work. At the heart of Ethiopian cooking is the ‘Injera’, a flat bread made of teff flour savoured with the Dorowat, a red Ethiopian chicken stew, or the Segawat, a lamb stew. Typically the flat bread is of the texture and consistency of a dosa, only it is at least four times its size, and finer, as it is meant to be shared with the whole family.
Delaying no further we begin with our fish entree, an African crispy fish preparation with the local favourite Pilli Pilli sauce made with red hot peppers, garlic, parsley and lemon. The fish was a Basa, airlifted from Vietnam, soft and red on the inside and brown and crispy on the outside making for a brilliant pairing with the Pilli Pilli sauce. Again the fish was so similar yet so different from our fish fries, making you wonder what it is that sets them apart. Says Sudha Kukreja, owner of Blanco, an ardent traveller and cook, “If an Indian dish uses three spices the African one would have nine or ten. And the same goes with fish too.”
Comparing the two different styles of cooking, she says, the difference lies in the way the two cuisines are cooked, and not in the ingredients. Unlike Indian, African food is never cooked, it is in fact simmered for a very long time. Their grills are more simply marinated than ours, and their staple ingredients are corn, white millet and rice, while ours is wheat and rice. Their cooking, except Ethiopian, is not curry oriented as ours, and the use of lentils too is quite restricted.
Sudha picked up the flavours during her travels to Africa particularly Tanzania and Ethiopia. She ate out at the local eateries, at posh hotels, everywhere she could to get a sense of the aesthetics of African cooking, and on returning trained her chefs to adapt the same for her restaurant. She points out another subtle difference between the two cuisines, “African food is not as evolved for royalty as some Indian dishes. It is more of a common man’s food that is simple and easy to put together.”
We proceed with our main course which was an Injera served with perhaps the world’s most refreshing and unique salad, the Sheba salad inspired by the legendary queen of Sheba that has a large green chilli pepper dissected to reveal a filling of tomatoes, sweet onions and a dash of pepperoni. The size of the green chilli pepper can be intimidating to even a chilli-addict, still you are expected to cast aside your apprehensions and take a large bite of what they call a salad to know for yourself. Only meant to tantalise your taste buds, the juicy chilli gives you a buzz but not a chilli burn, and together with the sweet and tangy flavour of the Salsa-like filling it absolutely refreshes your senses. A classic, that! Alongside the bread and salad, we were also served Dorowat, the red spiced chicken, and Azifa, a traditional lentil stew with lamb curry and a dash of tomato chilli sauce.
A definite high point of the meal the gigantic chillies, we wondered where they were sourced from. Shares Sudha, “We get them in India at INA and Defence Colony markets, but not round the year. We sourced ours from a vegetable vendor. We also get yellow chilli peppers of the same type here which is typically imported from USA or Mexico.” But what took us by surprise was the spice content in the lentils dish (dal), which was way too hot to handle, though fragrant like a spice garden. “Their dal is all about spices comprising cloves, dry ginger, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, cumin, coriander and mace. Even a bowl of fried rice smells heavenly as that too has basic spices like coriander, pepper, star anise and cinnamon in it,” she informs.
Another way we thought would be to combine a bowl of steamed rice with the vegetarian stew that is actually a flavourful blend of leafy greens, corn, carrot, cauliflower in a sweet and creamy coconut peanut stew. Or you could even go for the Kuku Paka which is a chicken, vegetable and peanut stew served with spiced rice.
There are a range of other options too such as the Tanzanian Mchicha, a delicious concoction made from spinach, coconuts, peanuts and yam, and the South African Bunny Chao, a street food made of a hollowed out loaf of bread with curry, among others.
Similarities to Indian cooking notwithstanding, will we shuffle out of our comfort zone to even experiment with a lesser-known cuisine such as Tanzanian or Ethiopian? Sudha has no doubts, for she feels at least Delhi is ready for it owing to an influx of new cuisines that come in bold, new flavours such as Spanish, Mexican, Brazilian, Japanese, and Malaysian to name a few. She adds, “Besides, African cooking offers a lot of options to vegetarians, and is loaded with elements from our own cuisine such as spice levels, simple cooking methods and common ingredients.”
Though a tad hot, we simple loved our fill of ‘Africa on my plate’, and came out refreshed and fortified, wishing there were more places serving the humble African grub in the city.
Venue: Blanco (Kitchen Bar), Khan Market, New Delhi
Date: 24th August till the end of September 2012
Timings: 12:30pm to 11:30pm
There isn’t much to be said for being in a recession but, perhaps, the revolution in eating that has taken place on the streets of London is one such triumph over adversity.
A few years ago, street food meant questionable burgers from dirty vans, braved only on the way home from the pub. How times have changed.
Few Londoners will have failed to notice the growing army of traders serving gourmet eats from vans or market stalls around the capital.
This month, the British Street Food Awards holds its third annual competition on September 15-16, outside Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, Fifteen, rounding up the country’s best traders in a celebration that includes DJs, live music, cocktails and some seriously exciting menus.
Food journalist and TV food critic Richard Johnson, the man behind the awards, believes a number of factors have contributed to the rise of this new kind of eating.
“People don’t have the money to start a restaurant, but with street food they can be creative and inventive without the overheads,” he says. “We’re lucky, as great food will often arrive on the street first.”
Johnson’s excited about the British public’s growing interest in food. “People are bored of the starter-main-course-dessert formula,” he says.
Epitomising this attitude, What The Dickens, a London outfit that has made the awards finals, has put a new slant on traditional British food, with dishes such as kedgeree and devilled kidneys.
Although food is their focus, Michael Quinn, Adam Bernstein and Dominic Rose have turned the process of buying grub into something of a spectacle, dressing in Victorian garb, playing ukuleles and riding a modified tricycle.
“People enjoy a bit of showmanship,“ Quinn explains. “We want it to be fun.”
But don’t let the hijinks fool you into thinking this isn’t about the food. What The Dickens describe themselves as being “a three-man mission to revitalise neglected British dishes”.
What The Dickens’s success has, of course, led to talks about opening a restaurant. But, Quinn says, it’s the freedom of being a street food trader that still appeals.
They will, however, be serving breakfasts in the Reliance (336 Old Street) from the end of September.
Green Goat Food, another London-based finalist, only began trading this year, but have already built a following hungry for their fresh veg, seafood and meat. It’s hard to imagine dishes of the calibre of cuttlefish and roast garlic aioli being prepared in a van, but that’s definitely the case.
“It’s a whole different world and catastrophes happen,” chef Claude Compton says. “We can laugh now but on the way to a market in the early days, the fridge fell over and all our hard work was splattered against the back of the van.”
Compton welcomes the Street Food Awards as a way of recognising the scene’s impressive talent.
“Street food has no Michelin or Good Food Guide despite the food quality now competing some of these places,” he says. “The awards are a great idea.”
For more on the British Street Food Awards, see britishstreetfood.co.uk
TNT’s guide to London’s best street food
Southern Gourmasian will be among the vendors at Food Truck Friday in downtown Little Rock.
Food Truck Fridays, which began in April and took a break during the recent hot weather, will resume by serving lunches from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. today (Sept. 7) at Main Street and Capitol Avenue, Little Rock.
Featured vendors will be Southern Gourmasian, King Boulevard BBQ, Mexicana Alicia, Le Pops and Philly’s Steak Cheese. There will be acoustic music by Monkhouse, and details will be announced concerning the Main Street Food Truck Festival Oct. 6.
For more information call Downtown Little Rock Partnership at (501) 375-0121.
On Thursday, Sept. 13 a group of Halifax Regional Police employees will host a book sale and barbeque to raise money for the Parker Street Food Bank.
The Book’em Book Sale and BBQ will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the south parking lot of police headquarters located at 1975 Gottingen St.
The rain date is Friday, Sept. 14.
Halifax Regional Police employees, including civilian staff members Wendy Boyd and Barb St. John, are constantly coming up with ways to give back. Each spring they host a used jewellery and accessory sale for HRP employees, with proceeds going to various local charities.
A few months ago they decided to change things up by collecting and selling used books at HRP Headquarters.
“We set up a mini library and went with the honour system for payment,” Wendy explained. “We let people know the proceeds would go to the food bank and the response has been amazing.”
To date, the used book sale has raised more than $650.
“We decided to take the book sale to the next level by opening it up to the public,” says Barb. “We thought it would be a great way to engage with citizens and raise money for a great cause.”
The Chief will be flipping burgers at the event and you can also have your photo taken with the HRP horses and motorcycles. Most books will be under $3, and $5 will get you a hamburger and pop.
All proceeds will go to the Parker Street Food Bank. Food donations are also welcome.
What to do this weekend?
Whole Kids at Whole Foods Market Woodland Hills: Stop by for a fun-filled family afternoon! Learn back-to-school eating tips , plus Herb planting, Kid-friendly vendor samples, Organic scavenger hunt, Raffle prizes. Bring a conventional toothbrush and get a FREE RADIUS toothbrush! 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Street Food Cinema: It’s the first ever outdoor screening of the mega blockbuster hit THE HUNGER GAMES. Enjoy tasty food tucks and live music sponsored by The Viper Room. Share the experience.Dogs welcome. Doors Open 5:30p.m., Band 6:30p.m., Movie 8:30p.m.; Tickets: General Admission $10; Reserved Area $15; Ages 6-12 $5; Ages 5 and under Free. LA State Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring St, Los Angeles .
Once Upon A Canyon Night: TreePeople is bringing back three old time favorites for a “short and sweet” 12th season of live entertainment. This Sunday at 7:30pm watch Billy Valentine Friends: A Night Of Rhythm Blues. Experience the soulful songs of Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke more. The shows take place in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Amphitheatre in TreePeople’s Coldwater Canyon Park. Tickets: $20-$25.
See more at MyDailyFind.com.
Why we’re here: We just learned that the Orange Street Food Farm sells more Pabst Blue Ribbon than nearly any other grocery store or supermarket in the country.
“We’re number three in retail sales,” says Food Farm assistant store manager Tommy Hendrix.
Aiming to understand the root of the Food Farm’s success, we wandered down its beer aisle to check out the selection. Nearly a whole refrigerator is stuffed with Pabst’s trademark white cans with blue labels. The selection of tall boys, cases and bottles is impressive.
But as we gazed into that cooler, we thought, “Why aren’t we number one?”
Hendrix says that North Carolina and Utah stores beat us.
“By how much?” we asked.
Hendrix says Pabst won’t release that information.
That seemed weird. So we called Zip Beverage, which supplies Pabst to the Food Farm. Zip’s Doug Davis said that the Food Farm has now actually beat out North Carolina, meaning it’s “number two now in the country.” But an unnamed Salt Lake City store still has us beat. Davis wouldn’t say by how much. An email from the Indy to Pabst corporate headquarters went unanswered.
It doesn’t seem fair that we don’t know what our competition looks like. But that doesn’t dim our love for the beer. Actually, it’s only sparked our competitive spirit. We’re off to the Food Farm to stock up for a full weekend of Happiest Hours.
Ian FroebGuy Fieri slammin’ a coffee while filming in the Delmar Loop this JuneGuy Fieri visited St. Louis for several days this June, filming for the upcoming season of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
To the best of Gut Check’s knowledge — which included seeing the spiky-haired one himself slammin’ a coffee in the Delmar Loop — he visited six area establishments: Anthonino’s Taverna (2225 Macklind Avenue; 314-773-4455); Dressel’s (419 North Euclid Avenue; 314-361-1060); Espinos Mexican Bar and Grill (17409 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chestefield; 636-519-0044); Guerrilla Street Food (@GuerrillaStreet; 314-529-1328); Hwy 61 Roadhouse Kitchen (34 South Old Orchard Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-968-0061); and the Shaved Duck (2900 Virginia Avenue; 314-776-1407).
The new season of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is now airing, and the first two St. Louis establishments have appeared on the schedule of upcoming episodes.
Guerrilla Street Food will appear in the episode “Burgers, Noodles and Quahogs,” which will air for the first time on Monday, October 8, at 9 p.m. local time. Guerrilla Street Food posted on its Facebook page that the staff is planning a viewing party, with details to follow.
2225 Macklind Ave., St. Louis, MO
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419 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO
17409 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chesterfield, MO
, St. Louis, MO
34 S. Old Orchard, Webster Groves, MO
2900 Virginia Ave., St. Louis, MO
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