Browsing articles in "street food"
Nov 17, 2013
Tim Lester

New England street food

Taking inspiration from street food cuisine offered around the world, New England chefs are going mobile. They are hitting the streets, creating modern, delicious snacks and meals to go.

“For diners, it offers a quick way to eat well,” says Mike Martini, former chef and co-owner of Newport Gourmet Food Tours. “For chefs, there’s no high overhead, no front-of-the-house hassles, and no more filtered feedback on their food. The customer is eating it right there in front of them.”

We’ve sleuthed out some of the best gourmet grabs in the region. (Check Facebook pages or websites to find out where they are located on any given day.)

Continue reading below

IN BOSTON

Pamela Wright for the Boston Globe

La Tour Eiffel truck, the mobile venture arm of popular Paris Creperie in Brookline, serves sweet and savory French pancakes.

“Oh my god,” the person in front of us groaned as she bit into her grilled cheese sandwich. “This is heavenly.” We had a similar reaction to Roxy’s (www.roxysgrilledcheese.com) cheesy concoctions. It’s hard to stray from the braised short ribs and melted fontina cheese squished between crispy hunks of bread ($5-$7). Don’t pass on the truffle fries.

One bite of Area Four’s (www.areafour.com/truck) hand-stretched, grilled, sourdough flatbread, stuffed with an inventive blend of ingredients, will change your definition of a sandwich. “Our food truck allows us to be playful,” says co-owner Michael Krupp. The custom-designed truck, outfitted with a grill and oven, serves a rotating lineup of four or five piadinas ($6.50-$8.50). Favorites include the Fish Chips with tuna salad, cheddar cheese, greens, and crunchy potato chips, and The Classic, with prosciutto di Parma, arugula, and a blend of fontina and house-made mozzarella.

It’s no wonder that Pennypackers (www.pennypackersfinefoods.com) snagged a Best of the Festival award at this year’s Food Truck Throwdown, pitting Boston against New York. The family-run business, with two food trucks (and a brick and mortar in the works), serves a variety of daily-changing, fresh-made soups and sandwiches. Their roasted, Italian-style, tender porchetta sandwich ($7) transports us back to Tuscany with every bite.

You can’t miss the bright orange La Tour Eiffel (www.pariscreperie.com) truck, the mobile arm of popular Paris Creperie in Brookline. And, you won’t soon forget their sweet and savory pancakes. There’s a build-your-own option: Pick a meat, choose your cheese, add some veggies. But we’re confident in the daily specials, say, a rosemary chicken crepe with warm brie, sauteed mushrooms and onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and slices of tender, roasted chicken ($7.95).

Husband and wife Patrick Lynch and Ali Fong head up Bon Me (www.bonmetruck.com), winning kudos and a loyal following (they have three trucks and a restaurant in Kendall Square) for their creative twist on the traditional Vietnamese banh mi sandwich ($6). Theirs starts with a toasted baguette, slathered with pickled carrots and daikon, pork pate, spicy mayo, cucumbers, red onion, and cilantro. You can add a filling from a slew of rotating options, such as miso-braised pulled pork, rosemary fennel chicken, and Asian spicy chickpea. There are also flavor-packed rice bowls and noodle salads.

Whenever we spot the colorful blue and yellow Mei Mei truck (www.meimeiboston.com) there’s usually a line, but the wait is worth it. The scallion pancake sandwich with pesto, cheese, and two soft poached eggs is popular ($7), but we love the well-seasoned beef dumplings (three for $7.50), which never disappoint.

PROVIDENCE

This foodie city is chockablock with mobile eateries, and still Mama Kim’s Korean BBQ (www.mamakims.us) stands out, attracting a near cult following. The mother-son team serves authentic recipes including house-made kimchi, dumplings, steamed veggie pancakes, rice bowls, wraps, and sliders ($3-$7). We’re addicted to the pork kimchi ($3) heaped between two slices of sweet bread and the spicy Korean short ribs, drizzled in a unique pear-sesame oil and served in a hot wrap.

Let’s face it: Taco trucks are aplenty, but Poco Loco (www.pocolocotacos.com) is among the best. Made-from-scratch fare, fresh ingredients, and cheap prices win us over every time. You can’t go wrong with the chorizo and potato taco ($2) or the PBJ burrito ($7) made with pork, black beans, jalapenos, and cheese, doused in a sweet-spicy BBQ sauce. Squirt a few drops of fresh lime and the flavors pop.

We weren’t overly excited when we heard the specialty at Rocket Fine Street Foods (www.rocketstreetfood.com) was sliders. Then we tried their locally-raised boar, mozzarella, and onion slider, and the sweet potato, black bean, rice, and corn slider. These were sliders at their finest ($3.50-$6.75). We haven’t tried the fried egg slider or the house-made mac and cheese, but we’ll be back.

PORTLAND, MAINE

Cast caution aside at the El Corazon food truck (www.elcorazonfoodtruck.com) and go for the Sonoran hot dog, wrapped in bacon and topped with pinto beans, cheese, guacamole, mustard, and aioli sauce ($3.50). There are tamales, burritos, and taquitos, too, and the Baja fish taco we tried on our second visit was perfect — a delicate, crispy fish filet paired with crunchy slaw.

We hunt down Wicked Good Truck (www.wickedgoodstreetkitchen.com) for this: tender, fried chicken breast with a cornflake crust, drizzled with maple syrup and sandwiched between two fluffy Belgian waffles ($7).

BURLINGTON, VT.

One of our favorite eat-and-go trucks in the city is Hindquarter (www.facebook.com/TheHindquarter) where the ever-changing menu is always a delightful surprise, from house-made duck mortadella to pork scallopini with turnip slaw, catfish Reuben sandwiches, house-smoked pastrami on pretzel rolls, braised chicken tortas, and more — all fresh, creative, and delicious ($8-$10). Best place in town to get your barbecue fix is Southern Smoke (www.southernsmokefoods.com), with an eclectic lineup of daily specials that might include slow-smoked pork shoulder, Creole crab cakes, house-smoked turkey, bourbon-marinated brats, and grilled peanut butter and bacon sandwiches ($6-$8). Just remembering our last meal here — a tortilla stuffed with slow-simmered, smoked brisket, soft caramelized onions and peppers, and creamy, rich mac and cheese — gets us thinking about a road trip.

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Nov 16, 2013
Tim Lester

Piada Italian Street Food Opening In Troy Nov. 22

A new, healthy, made-to-order food concept is coming Michigan thanks to successful Ohio restaurateur Chris Doody. Piada Italian Street Food will premiere its thin crust bread that is hand-rolled with premium ingredients at its newest location on Friday, Nov. 22 at 2038 W. Big Beaver Road in Troy.

Piada Troy is a new genre of fresh fare with Northern Italian roots. It is quickly rising in popularity in the Midwest and hailed as a “Hot Concept” by Nation’s Restaurant News. At the counter of Piada Troy, guests choose the creation of their dish step-by-step. The price of the average meal is $9 and the order is typically completed within 60 seconds.

Guests choose from three entrees:

·      The Piada – It begins with a stone-baked Italian crust dough made from organic and natural flours and extra virgin olive oil. Then, it is filled with high-quality ingredients and from-scratch sauces of the guests’ choice

·      A custom-created chopped salad

·      A personal pasta bowl

Guests customize their entrée selections with items such as steak, Italian sausage or salmon; sauces including Pomodoro, Alfredo and pesto; a selection of sautéed and fresh vegetables; and salad toppings of cheese, pancetta and much more.

A long-standing passion for Italian food led Doody to the streets of Italy and back to create the one-of-a-kind Italian dining spot. In just three short years, Piada has grown from its first location in Columbus to a burgeoning restaurant company with eight locations throughout Ohio and one in Indiana. The meals appeal to a broad range of time-challenged, value-minded, and health-conscious consumers.

“We feel that despite their hectic lifestyles, our guests shouldn’t have to sacrifice freshness, quality and ambiance for speed or value,” says Doody, co-founder of the Bravo and Brio restaurant chains.

The interior design is a blend of white subway tiles, Carrara marble, brushed aluminum, and painted brick with warm, custom hewn-wood furniture and stained concrete floors. The restaurant’s sophisticated, contemporary European design is a dramatic departure from the typical old-world Italian décor. The approximate 3,000 square-foot restaurant will seat 69 people inside, and will employee of staff of about 40.

Piada Troy also is introducing a new Chef’s Menu highlighting items such as “The Piada Meatball Pasta” which features The Piada Meatball — a 6 ounce meatball made with ground beef, ricotta, fresh herbs and spices — placed on a bed of angel hair pasta, covered with Pomodoro sauce and topped with Parmesan-Reggiano cheese.

Street side items include Piada sticks in choices of Parmigiano-Reggiano, pepperoni or artichoke plus dipping sauce; calamari; and lobster bisque and tomato basil soups. Beverages include Italian sodas, teas, soft drinks and bottled water.

The restaurant, a popular spot for both lunch and dinner, attracts a broad range of customers, from the food savvy Gen X and Millennial to families with young children, baby boomers and business people who enjoy locally sourced, fast, healthy, flavorful meals.

Piada Troy will be open from 10:45 am to 10 pm, seven days a week.

Piada is a Columbus-based restaurant founded by Chris Doody where at the counter, guests choose the ingredients of their Italian street food meals step-by-step. Named a “Hot Concept” by “Nation’s Restaurant News,” the Piada starts with a thin crust Italian dough baked on a stone-grill and is then filled with high-quality ingredients. There are 14 Piada restaurants in Ohio including Beaver Creek, Bexley, Canton, Centerville, Dublin Avery, Dublin Sawmill, Easton, Gahanna, Hilliard, Hyde Part, Kettering, South Euclid, Upper Arlington and Worthington with an additional location in Carmel, Indiana. Locations coming soon include Beachwood, Mason and Rocky River, Ohio and Troy and Shelby Township, Michigan.  Hours at all locations are 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Visit www.mypiada.com for menu and further information.

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Nov 16, 2013
Tim Lester

Asia’s greatest street food city? – CNN

It’s 8:30 a.m. 

I’m facing down an incredible breakfast buffet at one of the hottest luxury hotels in George Town, Penang — the Eastern Oriental.

Cheese, pastries, curries, French toast, beef sausage, dim sum, fresh fruit.

The problem is, I don’t want any of it.

I’m preoccupied with what’s waiting for me outside — some of the finest street food in Asia.

Eater’s paradise

Shophouses built from the early 20th century have been carefully preserved and most are still run by relatives of the founders.Penang food is a mix of traditional Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes, as well as fusion cuisines such as Baba Nyonya, or Peranakan, which incorporates regional ingredients and Chinese and Malay cooking methods.

All of it can be found in hawker centers and shop houses throughout George Town.

Combine this with the city’s collection of historic buildings in various styles, from old English colonial mansions to classical Chinese shophouses and Islamic mosques, and you have a city made for walking and eating. 

My first meal in the city is a plate of lamb rendang, a traditional Malaysian curry made with coconut milk and spices, slowly simmered to allow the meat to absorb the flavors.

From that moment, I’m like a kid seeking out a sugar rush. 

Stomach space becomes precious. I obsess over where and when I’ll have my next meal.

My mission: to enjoy as many of the island’s famed dishes as possible in three days.

More on CNN: 10 best islands for a Malaysia holiday 

What makes Penang special?  

Nasi kandar restaurants are extremely popular curry shops. Most are open 24 hours and run by Indian Muslims. Penang-born Malaysian chef and restaurateur Norman Musa has written several books on Malaysian cuisine and hosted his own cooking show. 

He’s considered an ambassador of his country’s food, which he promotes through overseas food festivals and his UK-based restaurants in York and Manchester, called Ning.

“I agree 101% that Penang is the food capital of Malaysia,” he tells me.

Musa says it’s not just the food that makes Penang incredible, but the atmosphere. 

“Watch the food being cooked on the streets, the buzz, the smell, the sounds,” he raves. “That’s what you get in Penang. You can’t get that anywhere else in Malaysia. You don’t get the authenticity.” 

Penang-based Wall Street Journal street food columnist Robyn Eckhardt, who’s working on her first cookbook, explains what makes Penang’s food scene stand out from its Malaysian counterparts.

Char koay teow, a Penang must-try according to well-fed experts.

“This is a place where old trades still thrive – sign-making, rattan weaving, tin smithing, paper-effigy making, incense making.

“There are still craftsmen and artisans here who do work not to titillate tourists, but for the locals who create the demand for their work. Things are still done by hand, stocks are still made with chicken and seafood.

“There’s an asam laksa vendor who is boning anchovies by hand at his stall to place on top of his noodles!”

This “small-batch” culture carries over into street food, she says, noting that ingredients still produced on Penang, such as shrimp paste and soy sauce, “are made the old-fashioned way in barrels that ferment in the sun.”

More on CNN: Cameron Highlands: Malaysia’s enduring ‘Little England’

Advice for first timers

With all its choices, George Town can be overwhelming for a newcomer with limited time and only one stomach.

Eckhardt has a number of tips.

First, she says, if you’re new to Penang/Malaysian food, try not to get caught up in what’s “best.” Don’t become obsessed with hitting the most popular stalls or “thinking that you need to go where Anthony Bourdain did.”

She also points out that “street food here is safe — I’ve never heard of anyone getting sick — and so is ice.” 

On coffee shops: “Go into a coffee shop knowing how to order and pay — drinks from the shop owner, dishes from the individual vendors, everyone is paid separately. This will give you confidence.”  

A vendor cooks up a serving of Hokkien char, made with fried egg noodles and seafood. Hawker stalls are found in every corner of George Town. A grazing mentality is helpful.

“Many servings here are relatively small, which means you can try a lot of different dishes,” Eckhardt says. “And they’re inexpensive — so don’t feel obligated to finish everything.”

Also, be on the lookout for holes-in-the-wall.

Eckhardt even touches on the very issue I’d been flummoxed by. The dreaded hotel buffet.

“Get out of bed in the morning and skip your hotel breakfast,” she says. “Start walking.” 

Eckhardt says there’s plenty of great food to be had in the morning, and it’s worth keeping in mind that some dishes are more readily available at certain times of day than others.

“Asam laksa, for instance, comes out around 2 p.m. and stays around till 5 p.m. or so; it’s seen as more of a snack than a lunch or breakfast.” 

Eckhardt’s don’t miss dishes: Char koay teow, asam laksa, nasi kandar, thosai and/or roti (savory, it’s not served sweet as in Thailand), lor bak and koay teow th’ng. 

A few of Musa’s Malaysian favorites: Nasi lemak, beef rending, char koay teow, roti canai. 

You can find most of the above dishes on this list of Malaysia’s 40 top foods

More on CNN: Malaysia travel: 10 things to know before you go

Food tours and cooking classes

Sambal udang is a Peranakan dish created by descendants of 15th- and 16th-century Chinese immigrants.

For something personalized, Eckhardt offers private tours, which need to be booked at least five weeks in advance.

Her most popular excursion is on foot and hits George Town’s culinary highlights, taking two to three hours. Visit her website for more info. 

Another option is Penang Culinary Tour, which offers customized itineraries. Options include visits to a local wet market, hawker food tastings, Nyonya private dining and stops at heritage coffee shops, a traditional soy sauce factory and belacan (shrimp paste) factory.

To learn how to cook some of Penang’s most popular dishes, Nazlina Spice Station offers regular classes in a small shop house in central George Town. 

Sessions include a visit to nearby markets and last three to five hours.

Owner Nazlina (highly recommended by Musa) also does private dinners for two or more, by reservation only. Her website has information on days/times/menus.

More on CNN: Asia’s best street food cities

CNN Travel’s series often carries sponsorship originating from the countries and regions we profile. However CNN retains full editorial control over all of its reports. Read the policy.

Recommended Reading

Nov 15, 2013
Tim Lester

Take that, McDonald’s! Street food vendors create their own company to …

By
Neha Pushkarna

18:09 EST, 14 November 2013


|

18:09 EST, 14 November 2013

Tikkis and papri chaat will soon be pitted against pizzas and doughnuts in corporate space.

Eager to preserve the popularity of street food amid an ever-strengthening mall culture, street food vendors are set to float a company of their own that will carry out a systematic branding exercise for the hawkers and get them business.

With vendors as its major shareholders, the company is likely to be registered under the Companies Act by the end of November and will be promoted by the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI).

The company is an effort to preserve the popularity of street food

The company is an effort to preserve the popularity of street food

“There are big food joints in malls that serve fusion food as street food. But the charm of authentic street food is different and we need to preserve it,” said Ranjit Abhigyan, Programme Coordinator at NASVI.

“NASVI Street Food Pvt Ltd will be a holding company with a capital investment of Rs 50 lakh,” Abhigyan added.

NASVI is a network and advocacy platform comprising 740 street vendor organisations, trade unions and community-based groups across 23 states. Talking about the path ahead for the company, Abhigyan said following its registration, NASVI member food vendors, and even social entrepreneurs, can take an equity stake in it.

STREET FOOD FESTIVAL

Street food vendors can simply invest money and become eligible for benefits of an organised business structure.

NASVI plans to attract capital from institutions, private investors, employees and “like-minded” individuals to facilitate the growth of street food vendors.

According to NASVI, it would be a commercially viable and sustainable business model. To begin with, the company will undertake a branding exercise to ensure the vendors maintain a certain quality.

“This company will not be for profit, but for economic uplift of the hawkers. We plan to offer street food catering service through this company,” Abhigyan said.

He explained that if anyone wants a catering service in any area, they can approach the company, which would then get them in touch with vendors.

“They will get the best service, and the quality of food served will be assured. The company aims to reach out to newer sections of vendors and help sell their products,” he added.

In the first phase of their street food revamp crusade, NASVI is going to launch the company at the national level. If it proves successful, the agency will set up chapters in different states.

Starting a text message service or a mobile application is also on the cards to help consumers track the availability of good quality street food in their area.


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Nov 15, 2013
Tim Lester

Dozens camping out in Rocky River to win free Piada Street Food for a year …

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – Camping out is nothing new for people in northeast Ohio. But instead of making camp in the wilderness, dozens rolled out their sleeping bags Thursday night on the hard, cold pavement of a parking lot.

They’re pitching their tents in a pitch to win free food for a year from the Piada Italian Street Food restaurant, which opens Friday morning at 10:45 in Rocky River.

Overnight, more than 50 people camped out to wait in line, trying to be one of the first 100 to set foot in the new Piada. That’s who wins free food for a year–52 free entree cards, one for every week for a year.

The line began around 6 p.m. Thursday.

 

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Nov 15, 2013
Tim Lester

G Street Food to open third location with dinner service

When David Choi parted ways with Wall Street, not long after the subprime mortgage crisis threw us into recession, the former investment banker cold-called Mark Furstenberg and convinced the chef and baker to open G Street Food together in 2009. From the start, the street-food-themed operation struggled to find an audience, despite a quick expansion of the menu and despite engineering one of the best (if untraditional) banh mi sandwiches in the area.

The new G Street location has not yet named its opening-day chef. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

The new G Street location has not yet named its opening-day chef. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

Within weeks of opening, Choi and consultant Furstenberg went their separate ways. Furstenberg’s now in the process of opening Bread Furst on Connecticut Avenue NW, which could debut as early as February. Choi is in the process of opening his third location of G Street Food on 15th Street NW, which he hopes to launch in mid-December.

Clearly neither man suffered, or suffered much, from the split four years ago.

“At the end of the day, I think Mark provided us with valuable skills that we wouldn’t have learned otherwise,” Choi says during a phone conversation today. “He is an excellent baker and an excellent chef, and I appreciate the relationship we had, despite the differences…I give him all the credit for being the food artist that he is.”

The third location will be G Street’s largest yet. The 5,400-square-foot space at 1030 15th Street NW (within sniffing distance of The Post!) will also be the most ambitious: It will expand its menu, its operating hours and even its drink offerings to include beer and wine, perhaps even local beer and wine.

Unlike the other two G Streets, which close in the late afternoon, the new location will stay open until 10 p.m. or so, Choi says. Beyond breakfast items, crackly homemade bagels and an international line-up of sandwiches, the 120-seat spot on 15th Street will serve a dinner menu of tapas, paella, steamed mussels, stir-fries, steam buns and other dishes.

The evening menu, in other words, will feature “a lot of items that obviously are difficult to serve at a quick-serve” lunch spot, Choi notes.

Choi has been interviewing chefs for the new gig and may have already found the perfect hire. But the owner is not ready to name names. “I don’t think D.C. in general would recognized the person’s name,” Choi says, “but the person has a ton of experience.”

So what was the key to G Street’s success after Furstenberg walked off into the sunset? Interestingly enough, Choi says the key has been change itself. G Street has not been afraid to adapt — and adapt quickly — as demand calls for it. G Street has added menu items, and taken them off, as a dish’s popularity waxes and wanes. “Variety and change,” Choi says, “that’s what keep people coming back.”

If it sounds like G Street Food is headed toward Sweetgreen territory — a homegrown chain with an eye toward rapid expansion —you might not be far off the mark.

“I would like to [add more locations]. I’m not sure how many more G Street Foods that we could pop up in downtown D.C. because the rents are so high,” he says. “Not just for me, but I think it would be awesome for more local companies to grow and expand their footprint.”

G Street Food, 1030 15th St. NW. Expected to open mid-December.  

Recommended Reading

Nov 15, 2013
Tim Lester

George Town, Penang: Asia’s greatest street food city?

It’s 8:30 a.m. 

I’m facing down an incredible breakfast buffet at one of the hottest luxury hotels in George Town, Penang — the Eastern Oriental.

Cheese, pastries, curries, French toast, beef sausage, dim sum, fresh fruit.

The problem is, I don’t want any of it.

I’m preoccupied with what’s waiting for me outside — some of the finest street food in Asia.

Eater’s paradise

Shophouses built from the early 20th century have been carefully preserved and most are still run by relatives of the founders.Penang food is a mix of traditional Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes, as well as fusion cuisines such as Baba Nyonya, or Peranakan, which incorporates regional ingredients and Chinese and Malay cooking methods.

All of it can be found in hawker centers and shop houses throughout George Town.

Combine this with the city’s collection of historic buildings in various styles, from old English colonial mansions to classical Chinese shophouses and Islamic mosques, and you have a city made for walking and eating. 

My first meal in the city is a plate of lamb rendang, a traditional Malaysian curry made with coconut milk and spices, slowly simmered to allow the meat to absorb the flavors.

From that moment, I’m like a kid seeking out a sugar rush. 

Stomach space becomes precious. I obsess over where and when I’ll have my next meal.

My mission: to enjoy as many of the island’s famed dishes as possible in three days.

More on CNN: 10 best islands for a Malaysia holiday 

What makes Penang special?  

Nasi kandar restaurants are extremely popular curry shops. Most are open 24 hours and run by Indian Muslims. Penang-born Malaysian chef and restaurateur Norman Musa has written several books on Malaysian cuisine and hosted his own cooking show. 

He’s considered an ambassador of his country’s food, which he promotes through overseas food festivals and his UK-based restaurants in York and Manchester, called Ning.

“I agree 101% that Penang is the food capital of Malaysia,” he tells me.

Musa says it’s not just the food that makes Penang incredible, but the atmosphere. 

“Watch the food being cooked on the streets, the buzz, the smell, the sounds,” he raves. “That’s what you get in Penang. You can’t get that anywhere else in Malaysia. You don’t get the authenticity.” 

Penang-based Wall Street Journal street food columnist Robyn Eckhardt, who’s working on her first cookbook, explains what makes Penang’s food scene stand out from its Malaysian counterparts.

Char koay teow, a Penang must-try according to well-fed experts.

“This is a place where old trades still thrive – sign-making, rattan weaving, tin smithing, paper-effigy making, incense making.

“There are still craftsmen and artisans here who do work not to titillate tourists, but for the locals who create the demand for their work. Things are still done by hand, stocks are still made with chicken and seafood.

“There’s an asam laksa vendor who is boning anchovies by hand at his stall to place on top of his noodles!”

This “small-batch” culture carries over into street food, she says, noting that ingredients still produced on Penang, such as shrimp paste and soy sauce, “are made the old-fashioned way in barrels that ferment in the sun.”

More on CNN: Cameron Highlands: Malaysia’s enduring ‘Little England’

Advice for first timers

With all its choices, George Town can be overwhelming for a newcomer with limited time and only one stomach.

Eckhardt has a number of tips.

First, she says, if you’re new to Penang/Malaysian food, try not to get caught up in what’s “best.” Don’t become obsessed with hitting the most popular stalls or “thinking that you need to go where Anthony Bourdain did.”

She also points out that “street food here is safe — I’ve never heard of anyone getting sick — and so is ice.” 

On coffee shops: “Go into a coffee shop knowing how to order and pay — drinks from the shop owner, dishes from the individual vendors, everyone is paid separately. This will give you confidence.”  

A vendor cooks up a serving of Hokkien char, made with fried egg noodles and seafood. Hawker stalls are found in every corner of George Town. A grazing mentality is helpful.

“Many servings here are relatively small, which means you can try a lot of different dishes,” Eckhardt says. “And they’re inexpensive — so don’t feel obligated to finish everything.”

Also, be on the lookout for holes-in-the-wall.

Eckhardt even touches on the very issue I’d been flummoxed by. The dreaded hotel buffet.

“Get out of bed in the morning and skip your hotel breakfast,” she says. “Start walking.” 

Eckhardt says there’s plenty of great food to be had in the morning, and it’s worth keeping in mind that some dishes are more readily available at certain times of day than others.

“Asam laksa, for instance, comes out around 2 p.m. and stays around till 5 p.m. or so; it’s seen as more of a snack than a lunch or breakfast.” 

Eckhardt’s don’t miss dishes: Char koay teow, asam laksa, nasi kandar, thosai and/or roti (savory, it’s not served sweet as in Thailand), lor bak and koay teow th’ng. 

A few of Musa’s Malaysian favorites: Nasi lemak, beef rending, char koay teow, roti canai. 

You can find most of the above dishes on this list of Malaysia’s 40 top foods

More on CNN: Malaysia travel: 10 things to know before you go

Food tours and cooking classes

Sambal udang is a Peranakan dish created by descendants of 15th- and 16th-century Chinese immigrants.

For something personalized, Eckhardt offers private tours, which need to be booked at least five weeks in advance.

Her most popular excursion is on foot and hits George Town’s culinary highlights, taking two to three hours. Visit her website for more info. 

Another option is Penang Culinary Tour, which offers customized itineraries. Options include visits to a local wet market, hawker food tastings, Nyonya private dining and stops at heritage coffee shops, a traditional soy sauce factory and belacan (shrimp paste) factory.

To learn how to cook some of Penang’s most popular dishes, Nazlina Spice Station offers regular classes in a small shop house in central George Town. 

Sessions include a visit to nearby markets and last three to five hours.

Owner Nazlina (highly recommended by Musa) also does private dinners for two or more, by reservation only. Her website has information on days/times/menus.

More on CNN: Asia’s best street food cities

CNN Travel’s series often carries sponsorship originating from the countries and regions we profile. However CNN retains full editorial control over all of its reports. Read the policy.

Recommended Reading

Nov 14, 2013
Tim Lester

Street Food festival

Frome’s first Street Food Festival will be arriving in town on Saturday, November 30 and Sunday, December 1 at The Silk Mill.

Some of the best street food in the UK will be making an appearance, opening at noon on Saturday, until 11.30pm, and Sunday from 10am until 5pm there will be live music, and DJs a licensed bar, serving real ale, Somerset cider plus the iconic Rum Bar, serving up some hot spiced rum punch as well as the best Mojitos in town!

Organisers say: “Hugely popular in London, the street food movement is now sweeping across the country, a casual form of dining bringing, the best of flavours, all unusual, exotic, and mouth-wateringly delicious.

“A number of street food stalls will be appearing, for the first time in Frome, including Katie and Kim’s Kitchen, winners of the National Street Food Awards this year, ‘Dorshi’ with three kinds of hand-made dumplings and warm Dorset fried rice, ‘Asian Grub Foundation’, with Samosa chat and Moong dhal fritters, are just a handful of culinary artists making an appearance.


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“This will coincide with the fantastic December Frome Supermarket on Sunday, so you can forget about Saturday dinner or Sunday lunch, meet up with friends at The Silk Mill, bring an appetite and a smile and make this weekend one to remember.”

Admission is free.


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Nov 14, 2013
Tim Lester

Vendors Aim to Legalize Street Food in L.A.

street_vending_facebook.JPGLos Angeles Street Vendor Campaign/FacebookThose bacon-wrapped hot dogs outside the club, that fruit from a cart on the corner, the ice cream from the bell-ringing pusher down the block? They’re all illegal, which as the great Jonathan Gold might tell you, is probably the best kind of food anyway. Edibles sold on sidewalks in L.A. are verboten, no matter how good they taste.

See also: The Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog: So Good It’s Illegal.

The thing is, cart-based street food in this most Mexican of American cities is a way of life, a part of our culture. The bacon-wrapped hot dog is said to be the official hot dog of L.A. Now there’s an effort at City Hall to legalize it, and the Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign is cheering it on:

The group will stage a rally from 3 to 8 p.m. outside the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 770 at 630 Shatto Place in Koreatown to support the proposal by Councilman Jose Huizar to legitimize and legalize street food in L.A.

The organization says in a statement:

With an estimate of over 10,000 vendors currently operating within the County of Los Angeles, the legalization of street vending can provide an opportunity for long-term job creation, an increase in healthy food options for low-income neighborhoods, improved public safety, and a valuable asset to urban life in Los Angeles.

Group spokeswoman Isela C. Gracian told us the street chefs want three things out of the ordinance:

bacon_wrapped_street_vending_Facebook.JPGLos Angeles Street Vendor Campaign/FacebookA push for healthy food in the barrios where street vendors are popular. A “smooth process” for permitting vendors. And detente with some of the brick-and-mortar restaurants that have been opposed to the carts in the past.

Legalization won’t see the light of day until at least 2014: The City Council voted recently to seek input from the vendors and city lawyers to come up with a draft of rules that would apply to them. That process is expected to take at least 90 days.

One idea: Street vendors might be limited to certain areas, such as MacArthur Park, where they’re already popular, Gracian said.

On top of the coming city rules, street vendors will have to contend with the L.A. County Department of Public Health, which mandates, for example, that food trucks have to be tied to establishments with working restrooms so that food handlers can wash up regularly.

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Gracian said she expects that the rule will also apply to street food vendors.

That’s one of the pieces we’ve been talking to folks about. Anybody selling food would need to meet public health department regulations.

Maybe that’s bad news for the street food critic, but it’s one small step for mankind.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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