With the mobile food industry continuing to grow we are constantly on the look out to assist both the owner operators as well as the customers of these rolling bistros. From time to time we run polls to gain industry information that truck owners can use to help better their customer service and the options that they provide to the communities that they serve. Other times our polls are set to find out general information “we” want to know.
This week’s poll centers around social media and how food truck owners interact with their followers or fans. We asked this question to food truck owners a few weeks back, now it’s time to find out if food truck followers see it the same way.We want to know, Do Food Trucks Respond to Your Social Media Comments?
Please share your thoughts so we can compare to the results we have received from food truck owners. If you have any comments, feel free to add them in the comment section below.
For a while there, it seemed like there were food truck events every weekend here in the Inland Empire.
But it’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve had anything out this way.
The drought ends this weekend, with two events in Riverside County on Saturday.
Our friends at I.E. Gourmet Food Trucks are putting together an event in Riverside, while “Minister of Culinary Awareness” Cliff Young is curating an event in Temecula.
The Galleria Gourmet Food Truck Festival takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Galleria at Tyler, 1299 Galleria at Tyler, Riverside.
They’re planning on having 25 trucks, plus a Hangar 24 beer garden.
Advance tickets are $8 (plus $2.06 service fee) for general admission
and $13 (plus $2.41 service fee) for early admission. Tickets will be $10 at the door.
As a bonus, select Galleria at Tyler merchants will be giving special discounts to those wearing wristbands from the event.
The Temecula Food Truck Festival will take place from noon to 5 p.m. in the Macy’s parking lot of the Temecula Promenade, 40820 Winchester Road.
Tickets are $10 (plus $1.24 service fee) in advance, but a special friends and family four-pack is available for only $30 (plus $1.74 service fee).
For relevant links and lists of participating trucks, head to the Dine 909 blog.
Suite 106 Cupcakery is named one of the best
Cucamonga’s Suite 106 Cupcakery can put another big ostrich-sized feather in their cap.
They’ve just been selected as one of the top 50 cupcakes in America by The Daily Meal.
Cupcakeries were judged in three categories: Menu, cupcake design and frosting-to-cake ratio.
Their score garnered them 37th place on the list.
L.A.’s Sprinkles Cupcakes landed near the top of the list, at number 4, but other famous bakeries didn’t fare so well.
Georgetown Cupcake, home of the DC Cupcakes show on TLC, placed 43rd. And New York’s famed Magnolia Bakery only made it to 44th.
Congratulations to Suite 106 Cupcakery!
Suite 106 is at 12434 N. Mainstreet, Rancho Cucamonga.
Fast 5 Pizza’s new Colton site is fourth in chain
The small, Inland Empire-based discount pizza chain Fast 5 Pizza has opened its fourth location.
The new location is at 1141 N. Mount Vernon Ave., in Colton’s Plaza Las Glorias.
I stopped by and picked up a pepperoni pizza during the location’s grand opening last week, and was pleasantly surprised.
The Colton location joins other sites in Rialto, San Bernardino and Fontana.
The chain is also planning to open in Riverside and La Habra.
Still no word on if Vin Diesel does deliveries for them.
Original Pancake House is now open in Norco
We’re big fans of the Original Pancake House.
Unfortunately, the location in Riverside’s Adams Plaza was doomed by a dismal economy, a change of heart from a certain “neighborhood market” and a fickle university owner and closed at the end of 2011.
We’ve been waiting since August for the Original Pancake House to open in Norco, in a spot formerly occupied by Food Connection, and before that, Sizzler.
The restaurant, at 1750 Hamner Ave., finally opened about two weeks ago.
Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
This week, Hindus around the world celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights. But for those of us far from family (and those, like me, unable to grasp how to cook the native food), the next best thing is to grab a few friends, find an Indian restaurant and make merry.
The truck debuted earlier this month with a vegetarian (and mostly vegan) menu of North Indian street food: chickpea-and-chutney topped samosas (samosa chaat); spiced potato pancakes (ragda); and that hard-to-find holy grail of Indian food, dosa.
Chatpat (pronounced Chut-putt) makes two kinds of the lentil-and-rice-flour crepes to order, one stuffed with spiced potato ($8), the other brimming with spinach-and-cheese curry, a filling that’s not traditional for dosas, but who’s arguing? In the truck was Jawahar Shah, who owns Nirvana Express and the Chatpat truck with his wife Doler. He reminded me that a dosa is best consumed quickly, while it’s still crispy.
If you’re in search of some more of the city’s best Indian, check out this list of recently reviewed Indian restaurants, with recommendations on what to order:
Diners enamored of the crispy spinach appetizer at the two Rasika restaurants in the District might be surprised to learn that a handful of flash-fried copycats lurks on area menus. The crackling Kurkure Hariyali ($5.99) at Tandoori Nights has a heavier robe of sweet-and-sour tamarind and tart yogurt, but it’s otherwise satisfyingly close to the downtown favorite.
“This is a kitchen where no two sauces or curries taste alike,” wrote Tom Sietsema. “Pistachios, almonds and cinnamon lend their accents to the velvety gravy of the golden shahi lamb, while coconut milk, curry leaves and mustard seeds impart a sweet heat to the lamb masala. I got stung by the goat vindaloo — and I loved every pinch of it. Be sure to sop the sauces with some of the hot breads, especially the stuffed ones and the dome-shaped poori.”
“If I close my eyes in the new restaurant, attended to by chef Manish Tyagi, I could be dining across town,” wrote Sietsema in last month’s 2012 Fall Dining Guide. “The Mumbai native’s herby chicken kebab, peppery crab stacked on phyllo and smoky black lentils all pop with flavor.”
Inside the custom-built trailer that she parks on South Pleasant Street four days a week, Paris Valley is a one-woman operation, grilling up orders for waiting customers on the sidewalk.
Paris Ty’s barbecue arrives on the street Thursdays through Sundays by 11 a.m., when Valley places an “open“ flag over the window and works until 3 p.m.
“I love what I do … and it pleases me to see people really like it,” Valley said.
At the other end of downtown each weekday, Monday through Friday, the proprietors of New York Halal Food set up on the sidewalk in front of the Unitarian Universalist Church on North Pleasant Street.
Standing next to their portable kitchen, co-owners Elsayed Abdelglil and Ahmad Elsayed fire up several cooking surfaces around 10:30 a.m. and begin preparing the meals that include chicken and lamb gyros and several rich dishes. They finish up at 8:30 p.m.
“This is New York style. It’s designed to be on the sidewalk,” Elsayed said.
For Amherst College’s Homecoming Weekend, Gail McLaughlin-Toti’s Bite Me Please food cart served a Lord Jeffery Amherst special made of Monterey Jack, diced apple and fig on sour dough bread, part of a rotating menu of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.
These are three of four proprietors who have permits to operate mobile food carts on the streets and sidewalks of downtown Amherst. Both Paris Ty’s and New York Halal Food began serving Oct. 11, while Bite Me Please arrived in late spring. The fourth is Happy Hour Hot Dogs, run by Matthew Rathburn of Worcester.
While there has long been a demand for such permits, most have been for smaller, more casual operations, such as college students selling hot dogs to late-night weekend crowds.
These new food carts are more elaborate, virtual stainless steel kitchens on wheels, and are raising questions about whether a growing number will hurt traditional restaurants that have been the backbone of the business community.
The matter prompted the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and the Amherst Business Improvement District recently to issue a joint statement.
“… the direct competition with our downtown restaurants who are paying rent in Amherst’s main commercial district is, in our view, unacceptable and creates an unfair advantage for the mobile carts,” they wrote. “We have asked for a meeting, accepted by Town Hall, to address the issue and hopefully work toward a resolution.”
Tony Maroulis, executive director of the Chamber, said the lower-priced, grab-and-go options should be viewed as more than a passing fad.
“This is where things are trending,” Maroulis said. “Now that we have seen four come in, before we have 40, let’s have a policy.”
The problem from the Chamber’s point of view is that these food vendors can enter the Amherst marketplace simply by paying a $100 fee to the health department for inspections, securing a state peddler’s permit and getting approval from the Select Board.
“In general, I’m pro food cart,” Maroulis said. “But a main commercial district is not where you put them.”
He points to Austin, Texas, where the city has a specific location for such carts, away from the other restaurants.
Business Improvement District Executive Director Alex Krogh-Grabbe, striking a more conciliatory tone, said the vendors can fill a niche if they are providing different food choices. He also noted that some could eventually evolve into full-fledged restaurants.
Those who operate say they do their best to respect other restaurants, including not parking directly in front of them.
“We’re away from the other restaurants,” Elsayed said. “Let them do what they do and we’ll do what we have to do.”
Elsayed and Abdelglil said they chose their spot because there is plenty of room for customers to gather without interfering with passersby. Abdelglil said he hasn’t heard any complaints. They plan to increase their hours to seven days week sometime next year.
McLaughlin-Toti said she has heard some comments about parking her cart downtown.
“I make a point of not parking in front of restaurants, but would be happy to partner with them in any way,” she said.
She doesn’t understand why there should be concerns.
“If you can’t take the competition, you shouldn’t be in the business,” she said. “These restaurants don’t have a lock on the public.”
Valley hasn’t been as fortunate in her reception.
Because she has to park on the street, and take up two spaces with the trailer and the vehicle that pulls it, she is required to fill parking meters.
“Some restaurants are calling the cops,” said Valley, pointing out that town has a prohibition on meter feeding to extend parking time beyond two hours. “They’re literally watching me when I come.”
This has led to frustration for both her and her customers, as when two hours are up, she must begin searching for new spaces, or else draw tickets from the parking enforcement officials.
“Sometimes there’s no parking so I have to go home,” she said.
Valley has sent a letter to the Select Board asking that meters be bagged for her vehicles, something she would be willing to pay for. “It is impossible for me to comply with (parking enforcement’s) request to move every two hours. To do so would totally destroy my right to exercise my license,” she said. “I don’t want to cause trouble.”
For Valley, coming to Amherst to serve food is a return to her hometown after extensive experience in the food business. She ran a barbecue and seafood restaurant in Pembroke, N.H., with her former husband before starting the food truck in 2008.
The 14-by-10-foot trailer took about a year to build, with help from vocational school students.
She is now a veteran of food festivals in New Hampshire, including in Manchester, N.H., and has parked at the Budweiser plant in Merrimack, N.H.
“I love going to the people instead of waiting for them to come to me,” Valley said.
Inside, she has a grill to prepare her food, with the most popular being a barbecue sandwich. She simmers the pork for 12 hours at 165 degrees, makes her own barbecue sauce and then makes each sandwich as it is ordered.
She has four sinks, a refrigerator, a cooler and plenty of preparation space. Occasionally her 7-year-old daughter, Ty, helps out.
Valley disputes the notion that she is at a competitive advantage, noting that overhead includes the high price of gasoline needed to drive the trailer from her home in North Amherst.
“I’m no different from them, except I’m mobile,” she said. “It’s just like a restaurant, except I’m allowed to be on the street.”
Elsayed and Abdelglil came to town from Jersey City, N.J., where they continue to live, on the advice of a friend who was a student at the University of Massachusetts.
They say business is steadily growing.
New York Halal Food’s 3-by-10-foot cart has grills, a steam table, a gyros machine, a burner for rice and a fryer. The cart is adorned with orange and yellow umbrellas and lights for nighttime service.
McLaughin-Toti of Longmeadow, who works as vice president of sales for a technology company, was traveling on the West coast when she noticed the prevalence of food carts.
“The more I looked at it the more I became intrigued,” she said.
She then put together an 8-by-10-foot stainless steel cart that rolled out this spring. Inside are four sinks and a 34-inch grill. She has three chefs.
The cart has been appearing mostly at farmers markets in Amherst, but also on the Amherst College campus and at private events and parties.
Amherst may be the first to see the rise of the mobile food carts in the area, but other communities will likely have them soon.
McLaughlin-Toti is already going to Holyoke and Springfield for events, and she was at the Brimfield Fair and the Hodge Podge Festival in Hartford, Conn.
Valley said she is seeking permits to bring Paris Ty’s to South Hadley Mondays through Wednesdays, possibly setting up near the Mount Holyoke College campus.
Abdelglil said he is eyeing expansion to Northampton and the Boston area.
“At the end of the day you’ll find the community in general really likes us and we’ve been very well received,” McLaughlin-Toti said.
The internet is full of fabulous facts about everything from current events to the history basket weaving. Because of this, as we research for our daily content on food trucks, food carts and street food, we stumble upon some items of knowledge that we just did not know. We have decided when these fun facts pop up, that we would share them with our readers in our section titled “Did You Know?”
For today’s Did You Know fun food facts we will look at Fast Food.
The Facts: The 1st McDonald’s restaurant was created in 1948. Back then, their hamburger cost around 15 cents and became the restaurant’s main staple.
- Every month, 9 out of 10 American children visit a McDonald’s restaurant
- November 16th is National Fast Food Day
- French Fries are the most popular fast food in America
- Although McDonald’s made the drive thru public, it was Wendy’s who first thought of the idea around 1971.
- Drive-thrus led to installation of cup holders in vehicles
- There are over 300,000 fast food restaurants in the United States
- Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products are sold in all but one country. North Korea is the lone holdout.
- McDonald’s is the largest purchaser of beef, pork, and potatoes in the world.
- Kentucky fried chicken is the largest purchaser of chicken in the world.
- 96% of all Americans have visited McDonald’s at least once
- In 1952 Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) sold the first paper chicken bucket.
- Americans consume over 216 liters per person of soft drinks annually.
Photo by ep_jhu
Public comments on the District’s proposed food truck regulations were due Tuesday, and among the ideas submitted by the food truck lobby is one that would allow mobile food vendors to buy parking permits that would free them from the burden of having to constantly feed the meter.
Che Ruddell-Tabisola, the executive director of the Food Truck Association, says his group proposed that rather than having its members constantly leave their customers waiting while they hop out of their trucks to replenish parking meters, they purchase permits that would be good for about four hours a day.
Currently, food trucks that line up in crowded downtown spots like Franklin Square or Farragut Square live on the ticking hand of the parking meter. When time expires before the lunch shift ends, food truck operators must either hop out and make their customers wait or risk getting slapped with another parking ticket.
Such permits would make it “much more efficient for us to operate,” Rudell-Tabisola says. “Allows us to pay a reasonable premium.”
A similar concept is listed in the latest version of proposed food truck regulations, says Helder Gil, a spokesman for the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Merchants wishing to operate in so-called “Mobile Roadway Vending Locations” would be required to obtain permits from the District Department of Transportation that would be renewable every three months.
But the dimensions of those vending locations is still a raw sticking point between the food trucks and regulators. DCRA’s proposed rule-making repeats the status quo provision that food trucks only operate where the sidewalks are at least 10 feet wide. At some of the busiest locations for the industry—Farragut and Franklin squares, L’Enfant Plaza, George Washington University—the sidewalks are narrower. And Rudell-Tabisola contends that food trucks are singled out in the enforcement of that requirement.
“It’s not unusual for a sidewalk cafe to get a waiver and be on six feet of sidewalk,” he says. “There is no kind of sidewalk restriction for the souvenir trucks,” referring to the vendors that line the streets around the National Mall.
“It’s completely anti-competitive.”
Meanwhile, food trucks appear to be racking up as many parking tickets as ever. A passerby on the 13th Street NW side of Franklin Square yesterday shot video of a parking enforcement officer slapping multiple trucks with tickets:
Earlier in 2012, Jing’an Villas – a square, block-sized 1930s-era housing area in the heart of downtown Shanghai – survived an ironic plan that called for permanently relocating all of its 3,000-plus residents in order to better “preserve” the historic neighborhood. Luckily, the plan was shot down in a party committee meeting. For now, at least, Jing’an Villas remains the perfect setting for trying longtang cai, simple, home-style alleyway food that features local favorites. After all, food doesn’t get any more homemade than when it’s being cooked out the back door of someone’s living room.
Sandwiched among the skyscrapers in one of Shanghai’s most upscale office and shopping neighborhoods and easily accessible by subway, Jing’an Villas is comprised of 183 subdivided three-story units that were built in 1932. The architecture of the area was partly modeled on European-style row housing but also incorporated Chinese concepts of common space, resulting in a unique hybrid style of houses found only in Shanghai. This lilong, or neighborhood lane style, represented a new way of life for middle- and upper-income families; the dwellings usually featured indoor plumbing, an inner courtyard, a sitting room and an indoor cooking area in a quiet, secure neighborhood. It is thought that at the height of the lilong era, Shanghai had more than 9,000 such housing complexes.
As housing shortages in Shanghai became more acute around WWII, landlords shifted to renting out individual rooms, and communities became increasingly dense. Today, the subdivided housing pattern continues, and many different units are available for rent, ranging from tiny 7 sqm rooms that go for about RMB 700 (about $112) a month to much larger units for RMB 9,000 (about $1,440) and more. Across the city, such neighborhoods are disappearing quickly. Thankfully, Jing’an Villas is safe for the time being and this thriving and evolving neighborhood continues to serve as a predominately residential area, with a few businesses and (mostly unlicensed) cafes and food stalls housed in the first-floor units.
For a bowl of midday noodles, visit stall #107, tucked away at the end of a quiet alley. Here, a small army of ayis, or “aunties,” serves up bowl after bowl of noodles to the lunchtime crowd. You’ll have to come early for their famous soup wontons; if you come at lunch, you’ll likely be offered a bowl of scallion oil noodles. Shanghai residents prefer their dishes on the sweet side, and these do not disappoint. Bowls of springy noodles flavored with a touch of Shanghai scallion oil broth lingering at the bottom of the bowl are a good start for a midday nosh. To make the meal a bit more filling, ask to have your noodles topped off with a stewed hard-boiled egg, a veggie “chicken” (素鸡, sùjī) filet made from tofu, or a fried pork chop (猪排, zhūpái). The ayi gives your change with a smile and even a bit of English, a friendly reminder that you’re not really in a restaurant, but are more like an invited guest.
For a taste of the classics, check out stall #15 near the entrance at Nanjing Xi Lu. This is the place to go if you’ve just snacked your way around the lanes, cafes and small shops in the area but are hungry for something more substantial. There’s a catch here, something we’d never seen in Shanghai before: you’re going to have to write down your order yourself. Luckily, your friendly Shanghainese co-diners are more than likely to speak a little English and will help you slip your order to the one-woman-cooking-show out front. Like a pilot in a standing cockpit, this ayi has everything imaginable at ladle-distance. She’s fast, but if there’s a line, this may not be the best place for those who are in a hurry. The Shanghai classics – everything from pork wontons to fried rice, fried noodles and sliced stir-fried glutinous rice with greens (炒年糕, chǎo niángāo) – are on full display here. You may even get a crash course in writing by copying Chinese characters from the red display menu.
For the perfect cup of milk tea, stop by stall #128. Denny House (named after its owner, Denny Wong) is just a to-go window that opens out of a first-floor living room turned tea shop. It’s hard not to be charmed by the lack of a menu and the fact that you’ll be getting the same thing everyone else in line is having: Hong Kong-style milk tea. The house mix of tea leaves is brewed in the traditional manner but steeped for a longer than usual time in a large pot lined with a long cloth filter, which so resembles a lady’s undergarment that the beverage has been given the nickname “silk stockings milk tea” (絲襪奶茶, sīwà nǎichá). The sturdy cloth allows high-volume tea shops like Denny House to get a lot of mileage from a filter while also better handling the high temperature, longer steeping time and repeated use.
With a strong tea the need arises for a welcome balance of sweetness, which comes from a long pour of evaporated milk. Like just about everything else in Hong Kong, milk tea is a fusion of British and local traditions, and the result is a refreshingly smooth, rich cup of black tea to take you through the rest of the afternoon. Hong Kong-style milk tea is also the basis of the bubble tea craze that is spreading around the world. But you’ll need to add your own tapioca balls if you’re coming to Denny House – he’s not fussing with that.Address: Jing’an Villas, 1025 Nanjing Xi Lu Stall #107 Telephone: +86 21 6215 4718 Hours: 7am-2pm Stall #15 Telephone: No phone Hours: Early morning to midafternoon
Denny House (stall #128) Telephone: +86 21 6258 5031 Hours: 11am-7pm (photos by UnTour Shanghai)
Read all about it. It’s 2012 and London is awash with astounding street food — no kidding.
The British capital finally has a mobile food culture worthy of the name and we’ve been on the trail of seven of the very best.
The stalls and vans featured below are essential stops for any self-respecting modern glutton, but how did a city once known only for fog, finance and bad seafood become a gourmet paradise?
Sustainable, cheap, tasty
Kelly Parsons, of restaurant network Ethical Eats, thinks street-food caterers — with their focus on quality ingredients but lower overheads — have raised the bar in terms of what you can eat affordably in the capital.
“Mobile caterers buy ingredients in a more flexible way, so they are in a great position to support local producers, to design menus to reflect what’s in season and generally to take a more sustainable approach,” says the ethical foodie.
Parsons also cites the example of Tongue n’ Cheek, one of our current favorites, a street-food stall that focuses on showing how tasty forgotten cuts like, well, tongue, cheek and heart can be.
New flavors, cheap, sustainable, organic, locally sourced and way tastier than many of the showy (and costly) Michelin-starred haunts in West One. It’s not a hard sell.
In fact, the only real question must surely be: what did Londoners eat before the street-food revolution?
That’s another issue, of course, but right now, they sure seem to be chowing down on a lot of Mexican food, in particular. Which leads us nicely to our first pick …
Tacos, burritos: Luardo’s
Street food has become popular for one blindingly obvious reason, according to Luardo’s founder Simon Luard — because the food on offer is of such a high standard.
“Four years ago this wasn’t the case, but in the last two or three years a new wave of traders has come through and some of the food they’re making is incredible,” he says.
“Also, it’s fun and there’s a buzz to it. You go down a busy lunchtime food market and it must feel like such a contrast to the office environment. People need this!”
And sales suggest east London’s office drones cannot get enough freshly made, quality burritos — prices start from under £5 (US$8.15).
Luardo’s secret? Boring, old-fashioned hard work.
“We made our name selling burritos at Whitecross Street Market,” says Luard. “We get down there at 7 a.m. and make everything fresh that day.
“Plus we constantly work on making the food taste better.
“We’ve got customers who have had our food two or three times a week for the last five years, which is pretty ridiculous!”
Meatballs: The Bowler
“Getting food on the streets from vans and pop-up stalls has been on the rise,” says The Bowler’s Jez Felwick.
“That’s because Londoners are seeing passionate people working hard to get quality food out there.
“No longer do you have to sit down and pay £10-£15 for a main course. It’s now possible get as good, if not better food, for half the price and meet the people making it,” he says.
“The selection on offer at some of the markets also means you can try a few different things on a single evening.
“I’m thrilled people like my balls. I like to think it’s good honest food, simple in concept, quality in its ingredients and a comforting meal.
“I put a lot of time into making the sauces and meatballs and I think people can taste the effort. Obviously, everyone loves to stroke a grassy van too.” Prices start at £2 per meatball.
The Bowler, eat.st, Kings Boulevard, London N1C; check the blog for schedule; www.thebowler.info
The first Freebird opened in Exmouth market back in January 2007. The burrito-rolling kings of Farringdon now have four pop-up shops around London with prices from around £5.
“London has seen a huge Mexican food explosion since 2008,” says Freebird founder James Howland.
“When we started trading in 2007, we were just the second burrito stall in London.”
“We love what we do and we didn’t want to sell out to corporate backers,” he says.
“We are, in fact, the only street trader that has also made it to the high street [at 24 Liverpool Street, EC2M 7PD, opposite Liverpool Street Station] and, unlike corporate-backed shops like Tortilla, Chipotle, Chilango and others, we have grown organically without any outside financing.”
Freebird, stalls on Goodge Street, Rupert Street and Exmouth Market; opening hours vary; www.freebirdburritos.com
Burritos, tacos: Wahaca’s Mexican Street Kitchen
In a perfect circle of postmodern food industry trends, Thomasina Miers won reality-TV show “MasterChef” in 2005, became one of the United Kingdom’s most feted celebrity chefs and brought Mexican street food to a lavish west-end restaurant setting.
She then bought an old 1950s Citroen HY van to serve up freshly cooked burritos and tacos to the good people of London’s Southbank. Prices start at under £4.
“We love what’s happening with street food in London at the moment,” says Wahaca’s marketing manager, Oli Ingham.
“It’s opening us up to a wild variety of different cuisines, served in brilliantly creative ways.
“There’s nowhere for poor-quality dishes to hide — if your offering is no good, people can see that straight away.”
Wahaca has two Mexican Street Kitchens:
An airstream trailer parked up under the trees in Canada Square Park, London E14 5FW; open from 11.30 a.m.-2 p.m. on weekdays and evenings when it’s sunny.
Also, a 1950s Citroen HY van parked alongside the river next to Waterloo Bridge, Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX — open from 12 p.m.-11 p.m. every day; www.wahaca.co.uk
Traditional British: Eat My Pies
Restaurant-quality food at a fantastic price, made by people who care dearly about what they do.
This, for Eat My Pies chef Andy Bates, is what street food is all about.
“You just can’t beat that! You get to deal directly with the people who cook the food, it’s fresh and it doesn’t get left standing out on a plate to go cold until someone decides to pick it up,” he says.
“I really believe that we have the best street food in the world, here in London.
“There are some forgotten British classics that I feel so passionately about. Pork Pies, Scotch Eggs, Sticky Toffee Pudding, the list goes on.” Prices from £3.
Paella: Jamon Jamon
“I have no idea why street food is suddenly so popular,” admits Nick Friedman, founder of Spanish specialist Jamon Jamon.
“I’ve been doing it for eight years and it’s now become flavor of the month,” he says, definitely referring to his excellent paella (from £5).
“It’s maybe something to do with social media, helping to find London’s great street food and creating a buzz about it. All the food’s great, but only now is it suddenly getting more press.”
Friedman particularly loves the fact that Londoners are now more than happy to wait for fresh food to be prepared and cooked.
“From empty pan to finished dish,” as he describes it.
Jamon Jamon, Stall 89, Portobello Market; open Saturday 11:45 a.m.-6 p.m.
Korean fast food: Kimchi Cult
“I think that one of the reasons street food has become so popular in recent years is the social aspect,” says Korean fast-food vendor and Kimchi Cult owner, Danny O’Sullivan.
“One of things I like most about eating and serving street food is the connection you get between customer and trader.
“I also really enjoy it when complete strangers strike up conversations while eating around my stall; sharing food is a great way of breaking down barriers.”
“Our kimchi is probably the reason people keep coming back,” he says.
“Kimchi is quite a niche product and it can be hard to find outside the handful of Korean shops and restaurants in the capital.
“All of ours is handmade with fresh ingredients weekly, then carefully stored and fermented for up to two weeks.
“By the time it hits a burger or torta it is the perfect mix of tangy, spicy and salty.”
Sounds a bit like a snapshot of the London street-food scene, if you ask us. Prices start at £5.
Kimchi Cult, eat.st, Kings Boulevard, London N1C; open Thursday 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Also, Street Feast Dalston, Opposite Dalston Junction Station; open Friday 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Chatsworth Road Market; open Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; www.kimchicult.com
Today is National Fast Food Day, and while we don’t classify the menus in mobile food industry as “fast food” fries are one of American’s favorite foods to order when eating out. The recipe we are sharing today are Belgium style fries from Portland, Oregon’s Potato Champion food cart.
Pommes Frites with Tarragon-Anchovy Mayonnaise
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons (packed) coarsely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 2 tablespoons (packed) coarsely chopped fresh dill
- 2 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
- 2 pounds large russet potatoes (about 3), peeled
- Peanut oil (for deep-frying)
- Coarse kosher salt
Place mayonnaise, tarragon, dill, and anchovy fillets in processor. Process until herbs are finely chopped. Transfer to bowl. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut potatoes lengthwise into scant 1/2-inch-thick slices. Stack 2 to 3 slices at a time and cut lengthwise into scant 1/2-inch-wide strips. Place potatoes in large bowl of cold water for 10 minutes to remove starch; drain and pat dry.
Add enough oil to heavy large pot to reach depth of 4 inches. Attach deep-fry thermometer to side of pot; heat oil to 325°F. Working in batches, cook potatoes until tender, occasionally stirring with slotted spoon, 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Using slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to parchment-lined sheet. Let cool 30 minutes. Reserve oil.
Heat oil to 375°F. Working in 2 batches, cook potatoes until golden and crisp, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer fries to paper towels to drain.
Sprinkle with coarse salt and serve immediately with mayonnaise.
Link to this video
There’s a food fight on the streets of Chicago. Food truck owners say the city is blocking their way to customers. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.
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A public interest law firm filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the City of Chicago in an effort to force officials to loosen the restrictions on mobile food trucks.
“Consumers are with us. We know that. Food truckers know that. They want us, and I feel the city is just not giving me and my fellow food truckers a fair share,” said Greg Burke with Chicago Schnitzel King.
The Institute for Justice and three food truck operators, including Burke, filed the suit in an effort to remove the city’s ban on the operation of a food truck within 200 feet of a brick-and-mortar restaurant and a requirement to install GPS devices so their whereabouts can be tracked.
“If food trucks could park anywhere they wanted to, just like a car, it would be a lot easier,” said Laura Pekarik with Cupcakes for Courage.
Last month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a plan earlier this year that allowed food truck operators to cook on-site, and set up 23 new designated stations from which the businesses could operate. Some criticized the locations because there were only two in the Loop and its high foot traffic during the day, and a lack of locations on the city’s South Side.
“Whether your business succeeds or fails should turn on how good your product is, not who you know at City Hall,” said attorney Robert Frommer.
Others view it as a win for food truck operators because some of the locations Emanuel picked out are within the 200-foot zone and allow the trucks to roam into new neighborhoods like Lakeview and Wrigleyville.
Some traditional restaurant owners oppose the food trucks because they’re competing with businesses that don’t have to pay property taxes.
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