Browsing articles in "street food"
Feb 7, 2014
Tim Lester

Street Food Alerts: Brass Knuckle, Rice Paper Scissors, & Hapa Ramen Get New …

otg-serramonte.jpg
Photo: Facebook

Three mobile food operations are getting brick-and-mortar homes at last. First off, the fine folks at Brass Knuckle — they of the clever band-inspired sandwich names like Fryin’ Maiden (buttermilk fried-chicken sandwich) and Pork Floyd (a pulled-pork melt) — are opening their first, wheel-free home at 749 Larkin Street (at O’Farrell). As Tablehopper reports, chef Shellie Kitchen (who happens to be a contestant on the current season of ABC’s The Taste) kind of flew under the radar with this one,

Meanwhile, Rice Paper Scissors is turning their pop-up at Brick and Mortar (1710 Mission Street) into something more permanent — maybe we’re calling it a semi-permanent pop-up? They’ll be serving lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, with weekend brunch in the works too. See the lunch menu here.

Also, Hapa Ramen chef Richie Nakano has finally revealed the location of his eventual brick-and-mortar spot, which has shifted from his planned location (next door to State Bird Provision on Fillmore), to a former 99-cent store in the Mission. As Tablehopper reveals, he’s snagged a lease at 2293 Mission Street (at 19th), but the opening could still be a ways off since there’s a change-of-use application that will have to go through Planning first.

Finally, Off the Grid is launching a “Sunday Dinner Market” at North Berkeley BART starting this Sunday, February 9, with 10+ rotating trucks appearing between 5 and 9 p.m. Sunday collection will include Koja Kitchen, Kasa Indian, WhipOut!, Liba Falafel, Burr-Eatery and Lexie’s Frozen Custard. And this brings OTG’s total number of weekly market locations to 25. [SFist]

[Tablehopper]
[Eater]

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Feb 5, 2014
Tim Lester

Street food served with spirit

Yet Marco Antonio Maciel and his 6ft 6″ camel on wheels, built with the help of the local Mangueira Samba school, are just as much a part of the landscape as wide-brimmed parasols, garish beach towels and girls in eye-watering ‘cheese wire’ bikinis.

Every day, Marco walks up and down the beach dressed in a keffiyeh (headdress) and a long tunic, selling 1,000 esfihas (Middle Eastern parcels filled with ground meat, chicken, or vegetables) from a hot plate in his camel’s rear.

He’s one of the many local characters that bring Brazil’s colourful street food scene to life in a new TV series with British chef Andy Bates. As the country gears up to host the World Cup this summer, it’s the latest in a wave of new programmes dedicated to all things Brazilian.

Following the success of programmes in the UK and America, 36-year-old Bates, who started out running a pie stall in London’s Whitecross Market, has spent four weeks travelling through Brazil looking for street snacks – and the masterminds behind them – that get the country’s taste buds tingling.

I’ve joined him in Rio for the final leg of filming to get a real flavour for the ‘carioca’ (Rio native’s) lifestyle.

Already, Andy has salivated over Gloria Gonzalez’s Uruguayan barbecued meat and chimichurri sandwiches – a favourite of Anthony Bourdain – at Ipanema’s famous Posto 9, learned how to make a caipirinha at a music stall in the back streets of Santa Teresa, and even danced samba on stage at the Sunday Feira das Yabas – a festival of music, dance and food lovingly masterminded by Afro-Brazilian women.

He’s a good sport, ready to embrace any mayhem, mishaps and marvels that come his way.

“There’s no one specific dish that really sums up this country,” says Andy, now sitting on the back of Marco’s camel, with reins in his hands. “But it’s the people and their passion that really stand out.”

One of Andy’s favourite characters is wonderfully off-the-wall Rafael, a 26-year-old entrepreneur who sells “cosmic” Hareburgers to hungry beach-goers, grabbing their attention by playing a wooden flute.

“I use mushrooms from space and special cosmic cheese,” says Rafael, throwing his hands upwards to the heavens. Although he admits the cashew nuts which provide a crunchy topping are “just from the Amazon”.

Of course, there have been culinary ups and downs during filming; while Andy describes the lobster, caught fresh and served on a surfboard in Praia do Forte as “out of this world”, the prehistoric-looking Bodo fish he was offered in the Amazon tasted like “a mixture of mud and game”.

But Andy has found ample inspiration to create a collection of recipes, which he hopes viewers will try their hands at this summer.

“I want people to have a go at some of these dishes in the kitchen, then sit back and enjoy the World Cup matches with mates,” he says.

So even if England get knocked out in the first or second round, at least we’ll finish the tournament with a pleasant taste in our mouths.

Bean fritters with prawn and mango ceviche

(Makes 10-12)

For the ceviche:

250g raw tiger prawns, deveined

1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped

Juice of 2 limes

1 large mango, peeled, stoned and finely diced

1-2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped

1 ripe tomato, deseeded and finely chopped

Small bunch coriander, finely chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

For the fritters:

2tbsp dried shrimp

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

2 x 400g cans black-eyed beans, drained

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

3-4tbsp plain flour

Vegetable oil for deep frying

Sea salt

To serve:

Hot pepper sauce

Lime wedges

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the prawns and blanch for one minute.

Drain the prawns, roughly chop and combine with the remaining ceviche ingredients. Season to taste and refrigerate until needed.

Cover the dried shrimp in boiling water and leave to soak for 15 minutes until softened.

Drain, then blitz in a food processor with the onion, garlic and chilli until finely chopped. Add the beans, blitz until smooth and season to taste.

Tip into a bowl and gradually add flour until the mixture forms a stiff dough.

Dip two spoons in a little oil and shape the mixture into 10-12 rough oval shapes.

Heat the oil for deep frying to 160C and fry in batches for eight to 10 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and season with sea salt while still warm.

Split the fritters open, stuff with the ceviche and serve with hot pepper sauce, lime wedges and a cold beer.

Pineapple cake with passion fruit caipirinha drizzle

1 medium pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced

175g caster sugar

125g plain flour

2tsp baking powder

1/2tsp salt

50g desiccated coconut

1 large egg

2 egg yolks

175g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing

250ml whole milk

1tsp vanilla extract

For the drizzle:

2 passion fruits

50g icing sugar

50ml cachaca

Juice of 1 lime

Preheat the oven to 160C and grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin with baking parchment.

Place the pineapple slices and 50g of the sugar into a large non-stick frying pan and cook gently for four to five minutes until caramelised. Set aside to cool.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and stir in the desiccated coconut and the remaining sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, egg, melted butter, milk and vanilla until smooth. Stir the mixture into the dry ingredients to make a smooth batter.

Transfer a few spoonfuls of the batter into a separate bowl. Mix the pineapple slices with the larger amount of batter and pour into the lined tin. Give the tin a tap to knock out any air bubbles then pour the reserved batter over the top.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until set with a slight wobble in the centre.

Transfer to a wire rack, leave to cool slightly then prick the surface all over with a toothpick or small skewer.

Meanwhile, cut the passion fruits in half and spoon the flesh into a small food processor. Pulse a few times to break down the pulp and loosen the seeds then pour into a bowl with the remaining drizzle ingredients. Stir until the sugar has dissolved then spoon over the cake.

Leave the cake to cool completely then cut into wedges and serve.

Tacaca (hot and sour soup)

For the dumplings:

150g minced pork

150g raw tiger prawns, deveined and finely chopped

1 spring onion, finely chopped

2tsp rice wine vinegar

2tsp cornflour

Sea salt and white pepper

24 wonton wrappers

For the soup:

1.5 litres fresh chicken stock

2 red chillies, finely sliced

Thumb-sized piece root ginger, sliced

2 cloves garlic, bashed

150g fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced

1tbsp cornflour, mixed with 1 tbsp cold water

6 spring onions, finely sliced

Small bunch coriander, roughly chopped

Juice of 2-3 limes

Light soy sauce

First make the dumplings. Combine the pork, prawns, spring onion, vinegar and cornflour in a bowl and season with salt and white pepper.

Divide the mixture between the wonton wrappers, then wet the edges with a little water, fold and twist to seal. Place on a tray lined with greaseproof paper and transfer to the fridge for 20 minutes, until firm.

Meanwhile pour the chicken stock, chillies, ginger, garlic and mushrooms into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down very low and cook gently for 10-15 minutes to infuse the stock.

Add the dumplings, bring back to a simmer and cook for three to four minutes. Just before the dumplings are cooked, stir through the cornflour mixture and cook for a minute until thickened. Remove from the heat, stir through the spring onions and coriander and add lime juice and soy sauce to taste.

For more recipes, visit www.foodnetwork.co.uk

Andy Bates’ Brazilian Street Feasts is on Food Network UK on weekdays

Three of the best… Latin foods

Manomasa tortilla chips, £1.85 (160g), Wholefoods and Ocado

Alice Oscar’s Express Quinoa, £2.55, Ocado

Finest* Chilli Relish (320g), £1.75, Tesco

For more stories like this, visit our entertainment, lifestyle and events website nativemonster.com

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Feb 5, 2014
Tim Lester

Cookbook: ‘Latin American Street Food’

Latin American Street Food

The Bay Area’s street food truck culture has introduced foodies to dishes that venture far beyond the simple taco and delve deep into the world of arepas, huaraches, empanadas and alfajores. Every Latin American culture, from Mexico to Patagonia, has its own delicious take on the street-food theme, says Sandra Gutierrez, a North Carolina food writer and culinary instructor who grew up in Guatemala. Gutierrez’s newest cookbook takes readers and home cooks into the world of “Latin American Street Food” (University of North Carolina Press, $35, 356 pages), with stops at roadside stands from the beaches of Baja to the mountaintops of Peru and Argentina.

There’s plenty of interesting reading, scores of enticing recipes and a few surprises, including a Guatemalan-Mayan-German-American dish that tucks hot dogs, avocado sauce, sauerkraut and an escabeche of jalapenos and carrots inside a flour tortilla. Um, no thanks. We’ll have the arepas con queso instead.

– Jackie Burrell

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Feb 5, 2014
Tim Lester

Redefining Indian Street Food: Turban Street Café Brings Kati Rolls to Harrow




HARROW, England, February 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –

A brand new Indian street food takeaway, serving the famous ‘Roomali Roti’ Kati Rolls will be opening in Harrow, Middlesex, UK on February 6th 2014.

Executive Chef, Ashish Bhatia, has created an authentic menu for ‘Kati Rolls by Turban Street Café’; showcasing street food recipes inspired from the bustling street food markets of India.

Turban Street Café aims to attract customers looking for an authentic taste of real Indian street food – serving up a variety of fresh Kati Rolls from succulent lamb, to tender chicken tikka and spicy chickpeas. Chef Bhatia is excited to bring his expert talent of creating cottonwool-like ‘Roomali Rotis’ for the Kati Rolls. This roti, meaning “handkerchief bread” is recognised for its thin and soft texture that is infamous throughout India, but yet to be acknowledged in the UK.

Chef Bhatia, a 5* chef from Mumbai, aims to educate the locals with how real Indian street food should taste and eventually take the brand nationally.

“In this day and age where Indian food has been reformed to the most sophisticated level, it has somehow lost its essence and authenticity. At Turban Street Café I am going to be bringing a very simple and honest plate of food to my guests, inspired by age old traditions and simplicity. We are redefining Indian street food.” He has stirred up a huge interest on his Twitter with food bloggers all over the world, and has recently been covered in The Times of India food blog and The Spice Times.

The café has taken inspiration from the streets of India not only through its menu, but customers will see exposed brick walls; rustic wood and steel beams throughout, keeping up with the street vibe, as well as painted images of the streets of India on the walls. It will also be the first café in the area to only serve Kati Rolls and authentic Indian drinks such as Limca, Thums Up and Mirinda and a traditional masala tea.

COMPANY BACKGROUND

Executive Chef Ashish Bhatia is a 5* trained Italian and French Chef, originally from Mumbai where he worked for the famous Oberoi hotels. He was the Executive Chef, and helped to create the company and brand, for The Red Turban restaurant and lounge in 2010 and also a bespoke catering and events company, Grain of Salt catering for the likes of the High Commissioner of India. His expertise covers authentic Indian cuisine, as well as bespoke European and World cuisine. He has been the Executive Chef for high profile events such as music producer, Rishi Rich’s wedding reception; the National Reality Television Awards; and the UK AMAs.

Follow us on Twitter @turbanstreet

SOURCE Turban Street Cafe

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Feb 4, 2014
Tim Lester

Here’s the Cover of Lucky Peach #10: Street Food

Lucky-Peach-Issue-10-Street-Food.jpgHere now, the cover of the next issue of the cultishly-followed quarterly food journal Lucky Peach, which should be out February 25. The theme for the tenth issue is Street Food which will be examined in “less summary than survey” form.

Topics covered range from the history of ice cream truck songs to cooking with charcoal to the Doughnut Luchador of East LA to sausages around the world. Cities in this issue include Mexico City, Mumbai, Buenos Aires, Chiang Mai, and Copenhagen. Mary Sue Milliken, Mourad Lahlou, Naomi Duguid, Justin Taylor, René Redzepi, and columnist Jonathan Gold are all on board contributors.

This will be the first self-published issue of Lucky Peach. Back in September, the journal announced that it was parting ways with longtime publisher McSweeney’s. Lucky Peach has retained its editorial team including Peter Meehan, David Chang, and Chris Ying, as well as its design team.

· Lucky Peach #10 [LP]
· All Lucky Peach Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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Feb 4, 2014
Tim Lester

2 who shopped at Orange Street Food Farm in college return as new owners

The beer display for Super Bowl XLVIII is coming down, and none too soon for Denver Broncos fans looking to put Sunday’s game behind them.

Beer display aside, the new owners of the Orange Street Food Farm are telling customers not to expect many other changes to the Missoula icon.

For regulars who shop at the Riverfront Neighborhood grocery store, their promise to keep it local comes as welcome news.

“We want to keep it friendly, keep the crew like it is,” said co-owner Craig Holtet. “We’re not going to make it all spiffy and make it corporate looking. We want to keep it in town and keep it small.”

Holtet and Ron Ramsbacher bought the store from Robert Korman and John Lubbers, who owned it for 27 years.

Holtet and Ramsbacher both attended the University of Montana and were buddies in college. While they went their separate ways after school – Ramsbacher as a CPA and Holtet in the grocery business – the two have kept in touch over the years.

“We went to college together in the early ’80s,” said Ramsbacher. “I moved here from eastern Montana to go to school here, and I’ve been here ever since. We’ve kept in touch since college, and when this opportunity came up, we said we’d do it together.”

The opportunity to own the local market was a thing of dreams. After months spent negotiating a deal, the two pulled the trigger and took ownership just before the dawn of 2014.

***

Early on Monday, as Holtet made a tool run across town, Ramsbacher sat in a back office preparing the cash from the prior day’s operation. Local beer and pastries sat on display and the regulars weren’t long to arrive.

“I’ve been buying groceries here forever, and my mom and dad have been buying groceries here forever,” said Ramsbacher, watching the customers come and go. “We’re one of the few independents, and our vendors like to work with us. We can pass on that pricing to our customers.”

The memories here run deep for both owners. While in college, Holtet lived a block away and relied on the Food Farm for groceries and beer.

“I remember buying cases of beer that were too heavy to carry back, so you had to sit down somewhere and drink a beer,” said Holtet. “I’ve been looking to do a grocery store like this for years. This fits personally with the plans I’ve been trying to get to.”

The two make a good team, given Ramsbacher’s work in accounting and Holtet’s experience in the industry. The store’s established reputation doesn’t hurt, and the two owners aren’t planning many big changes.

But they will increase the variety of items. Their plans include adding 95 new wines to what’s already on the shelves. Chicago-style deli meats are in the works, and the produce will remain as local as possible, with tent sales planned for the summer.

“I’ve worked in 12 to 14 different stores, and they all have their own pulse, their own flow, and this store is no different,” said Holtet. “You just have to figure out what your customers like. They’ve been a part of it for so long, they feel like they own it.”

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Feb 3, 2014
Tim Lester

Asli’s rebranded street food gets the job done

Asli’s take on traditional Egyptian street food takes gastronomical pleasure to the next level (Photo from Asli )

Asli’s take on traditional Egyptian street food takes gastronomical pleasure to the next level
(Photo from Asli )

It can be said that the trend of Egyptian street food repackaged into food for Cairo’s yuppies has been thriving since 2011. Whether in attempt to make profit or export Egyptian cuisine, places like Zooba, Cairo Kitchen and Mr. Hawawshy have led this rebranding of Cairo street food, and about a year ago, Asli joined in.

One look at its menus tells you liver is a specialty at Asli, but they also offer sausages, hawawshi, macaroni béchamel, kofta and shish tawook. Asli’s presentation depends on the same colourful fonts and imagery used by similar restaurants. Its stylised font, not unlike the hand painted font used in old movie posters and newspapers, aims to remind us of an older, better time, perhaps in an effort to make their food seem homier.

We ordered a small grilled sausage sandwich (EGP 7.95), hawawshy (EGP 16), macaroni béchamel (EGP 14.50), a quarter kilo of Alexandrian liver (EGP 24) and for dessert, between their cream with honey and cream with halawa, we opted for a small sandwich with a mixture of both (EGP 6.95)

We are pleased to say Asli is generous in its serving sizes; we were especially impressed by the hawawshi, especially in comparison to similar places. Though the meat was not as tender as we would have liked (unlike the excellent offering from Zooba), the sandwich was a good mix of zesty and juicy.

The macaroni béchamel plate comes with two options: minced meat and liver. We went with the minced meat option and though we liked what we got, their take on béchamel may not be for everyone, as it includes a layer of strong flavoured cheese on top. If you prefer your pasta al dente, or firm to the bite, then you should also steer clear; Asli does it the Egyptian way, and that typically includes cooking pasta until it is soft.

The liver plate and sausage sandwich were the more modest options compared to the rest of the food, but were complemented with bread, tahini, and tomatoes. This modesty isn’t necessarily bad; some of the place’s charm comes from the fact that their food looks like it has been prepared at home, without too much fuss on presentation.

While not as polished as Zooba or Cairo Kitchen (or as good), Asli’s prices are better than either. We paid a total of EGP 75 for the food, including delivery charges. For that price, we cannot complain too much about some of the more mundane aspects of Asli’s food but we can say that its convenience, diverse menu and generally good food will make it a staple for many people who want something dependable.

YARPP

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Feb 3, 2014
Tim Lester

Asli’s rebranded street food gets the job done

Asli’s take on traditional Egyptian street food takes gastronomical pleasure to the next level (Photo from Asli )

Asli’s take on traditional Egyptian street food takes gastronomical pleasure to the next level
(Photo from Asli )

It can be said that the trend of Egyptian street food repackaged into food for Cairo’s yuppies has been thriving since 2011. Whether in attempt to make profit or export Egyptian cuisine, places like Zooba, Cairo Kitchen and Mr. Hawawshy have led this rebranding of Cairo street food, and about a year ago, Asli joined in.

One look at its menus tells you liver is a specialty at Asli, but they also offer sausages, hawawshi, macaroni béchamel, kofta and shish tawook. Asli’s presentation depends on the same colourful fonts and imagery used by similar restaurants. Its stylised font, not unlike the hand painted font used in old movie posters and newspapers, aims to remind us of an older, better time, perhaps in an effort to make their food seem homier.

We ordered a small grilled sausage sandwich (EGP 7.95), hawawshy (EGP 16), macaroni béchamel (EGP 14.50), a quarter kilo of Alexandrian liver (EGP 24) and for dessert, between their cream with honey and cream with halawa, we opted for a small sandwich with a mixture of both (EGP 6.95)

We are pleased to say Asli is generous in its serving sizes; we were especially impressed by the hawawshi, especially in comparison to similar places. Though the meat was not as tender as we would have liked (unlike the excellent offering from Zooba), the sandwich was a good mix of zesty and juicy.

The macaroni béchamel plate comes with two options: minced meat and liver. We went with the minced meat option and though we liked what we got, their take on béchamel may not be for everyone, as it includes a layer of strong flavoured cheese on top. If you prefer your pasta al dente, or firm to the bite, then you should also steer clear; Asli does it the Egyptian way, and that typically includes cooking pasta until it is soft.

The liver plate and sausage sandwich were the more modest options compared to the rest of the food, but were complemented with bread, tahini, and tomatoes. This modesty isn’t necessarily bad; some of the place’s charm comes from the fact that their food looks like it has been prepared at home, without too much fuss on presentation.

While not as polished as Zooba or Cairo Kitchen (or as good), Asli’s prices are better than either. We paid a total of EGP 75 for the food, including delivery charges. For that price, we cannot complain too much about some of the more mundane aspects of Asli’s food but we can say that its convenience, diverse menu and generally good food will make it a staple for many people who want something dependable.

YARPP

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Jan 31, 2014
Tim Lester

Street Food Dojo Brightens Boring FiDi Intersection with Kimchee, Dawgs and …

SFDKatsu.jpgPete KaneAs someone who can never get enough Asian street food, I’m delighted that Street Food Dojo has been up and running on Market and Post for a while now, filling hungry bellies with kimchee fried rice and Spam masubi. And it’s way tastier than the crap that the Cobra-Kai Dojo from The Karate Kid churned out. Indeed, casual dining on Market continues to improve.

See Also: Neither French Nor Fried, 3 Potato 4 Opens on Market

SFDExt.jpgPete Kane
Having taken over the former home of Zog’s Dog’s, it’s still a spiritual home people who like unconventional franks. A Dojo Dawg comes with wasabi aioli, apple slaw and furikake, the flaked Japanese condiment made from dried fish, seaweed, and salt. (They also ran a sumo hot dog for awhile; perhaps other iterations will surface). The granddaddy was the katsu curry bento, which wasn’t especially pretty but hit the spot after I slathered the rice with Sriracha. It makes no bones about being anything beyond fried things with a helping of rice, but the seasoning was strong and the chicken tender. I’d steeled myself against a long wait but it popped up within minutes.

While nominally open until 6 p.m., SF Dojo is one of those lunch-heavy places that starts seriously running out of stuff by 2:00. So best plan accordingly. Also, “1 Post Street” is a bit of a red herring, as the dojo is tucked off Market Street behind the high-rise with that address, not on Post proper, and definitely not down in the depressing pit of retail ringing Montgomery BART. Overall, it’s a slightly less refined version of JapaCurry and arguably a notch more expensive here and there, but more than satisfying — and you don’t have to chase it down.

Street Food Dojo
, 1 Post, 361-6610.

Follow @wannacyber



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Jan 31, 2014
Tim Lester

Street food, fine ambience

Onion bajjis rubbing shoulders with a blue cheese salad? Raj kachoris and samosa chaat on the same menu as a crab meat risotto and a quiche lorraine? Street food festivals at five-star hotels? A few years ago, these would have been as incongruous as iPhones in Pride and Prejudice, but no longer. Fine-dining restaurants have woken up to the potential and popularity of Indian street food and are incorporating them into their menus, often with innovative twists.

The blend of flavours in Indian street food — sweet and sour and spicy and tangy, all often in one dish — and the variety of textures — crunchy pakoras, fluffy dhoklas etc are representative of the colourful chaos that is India. In street food havens like Chowpatty and Chandni Chowk, it is possible to make a full meal out of street food, moving from shop to shop, feasting on chaat, kachori, pav bhaji and ragda patties, ending with some piping hot jalebis.

It is this experience that hotels aim to recreate through street food festivals and by incorporating live counters in their buffets. Foodies are flocking to these by the dozen.

“No amount of Lebanese and Italian food can compensate for the bhelpuri and khandvi that have soaked into not only our palates but our DNA too,” says food writer Marryam H Reshii. “After eating non-Indian cuisines for decades, we crave the ‘old days’ hence the burgeoning interest in street food.  It is for that reason that five star hotels are including chaat counters in their buffet set ups, but more importantly, hiring cooks from local catering companies for their banquet operations as opposed to graduates from catering colleges.”

Concerns of health and hygiene are causing many Indians to gravitate toward street food festivals in restaurants. According to food blogger Kalyan Karmakar, “For the middle and upper class, there is a certain forbidden romance to street food, but many are worried about the hygiene conditions and the quality of ingredients at the roadside stalls. A five-star environment makes it more comfortable for such people.”

For hotels, street food festivals are also an opportunity to showcase the rich Indian food tradition to their foreign guests. Vivek Sharma, food and beverage manager at Cafe Mozaic at Vivanta by Taj, Bangalore, which hosts a weekly street food buffet, Khao Galli, says, “Our foreign guests love the festive atmosphere, the experience of their food made right in front of them, someone explaining to them how to eat a pani puri. For them, it is the perfect way to sample the Indian street food they have heard so much about, but are apprehensive to eat literally on the streets.”

Street food festivals in fine dining restaurants are not just about food, but also about live entertainment that adds to the dining experience. “Street food festivals are like melas,” says Sharma, “and a lot of companies use them as a team bonding event. So we try to create an atmosphere of entertainment and fun that enhances the food. We have live music, tarot card readings, caricature artists and a magician who performs tricks at each table, which is quite a popular attraction.”

Software engineer Dhivya Sriram concurs. “Health concerns do not permit me to indulge in street food often, so when I do, I would prefer to eat it in clean surroundings, where the food has been prepared with quality ingredients. Many restaurants now have chaat counters in their buffet spreads, which is a boon for people like me.”

Some restaurants are going further, adding a Western twist to street food staples. While Indo-Chinese fusion like Chinese bhel and Schezwan vada pav are found in fast-food restaurants across the country, top chefs at fine dining establishments are bolder with their experimentation. So, you can dig into prawn papdi chaat at the Park Hotel, Kolkata, and get high on vodka pani puri shots at the Masala Library in Mumbai. Chef Manish Mehrotra, winner of the television show Foodistan, has won rave reviews for the parmesan tokri chaat and tuna bhel ceviche that he dishes out at Delhi’s Indian Accent.

In the last decade, teriyaki and tagliatelle and mezze and creme brulee have taken precedence over butter chicken naan and boti kebab, but a love for all things chatpata is etched in our DNA.

So, despite the proliferation of Italian and Mexican and Mediterranean restaurants, the Indian palate still yearns for the burst of colours and flavours in Indian street food, and posh restaurants are stepping in to give Indian foodies the food that is closest to their hearts.

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