yes, it’s all the rage this week, so much so that it’s our first pancake of the week.
From the launch of KERBside street food on the 6th October to M&S’ modern Asian range, us Brits are going mad for food with a bit of gutter glamour.So what’s it all about?
Well, street food was widely found in Ancient Rome and China; the former for poor urban citizens with no kitchens while in the latter, servants would scurry down to the stalls to collect meals for their masters. African emmigrants in America sold coffee, biscuits, fruit and cakes while even in the Aztec marketplaces one could find a doughy gruel or grilled beef. Even the infamous French frie began it’s life as a street food speciality in 1840s Paris, while life in our own Victorian London saw tripe, pea soups and jellied eels; oh, weren’t we the foodie centre of the world?
Currently, 2.5 billion people eat street food every day. Whether it be for the cheap prices, the ethnicity and often quirky cuisines, or to meet the unstoppable rush of our locomotive lives, street food is one the rise; by 1970 in Thailand, it had displaced home-cooking. Today it is an artisan market; not the greasy chicken shop that is most-frequented by Brits, or even the burger van that does the midnight rounds, no, today, street food is innovative in its methods and ingredients but it’s also aspiring in quality.
So what’s the street serving up?
The great thing about street food is it’s global, fresh and forever-changing. In New York the business high-fliers swing from hot-dog stalls to jerk chicken to chunky Belgian waffles as easily as they navigate the morning rush. For something fiery and fishy you want to visit the Thai vendors while even in Hawaii you can see Japanese influences of the bento box in their plate lunch – rice, meat and macaroni salad.
For UK residents, here is a round up of the filling for this week’s pancake. There’s the Flying Burrito Brothers at Whitecross Street, Londonserving up slow cooked pork carnitas with full Latin-American flavours while at the Treacle Market, Macclesfield you can stock up on sweet and savoury scones by The Lonely Scone. At the Tobacco Market, Bristol Pieminister will be dishing out their mouth-watering selection of pies, including the new Free Ranger Pie – stuffed with chicken, ham hock, leek and cheese this is one you have to try! If London’s more your scene then why not get down to Eat Street, Kings Cross, to sample simple smoked delicacies from The Red Herring Smokehouse or for a real treat try You Doughnut’s original bite-sized doughtnuts with salted caramel sauce and toasted pecans – sweet, salty and suitably nutty!
Why is street food this week’s pancake?
Recently we’ve seen Britain embrace street-food. Autumn is a wonderful time to try out those spicy, sweet and warming international flavours, as well as savouring our own native dishes that street vendors often pull off with their own funky twists. We’re demanding little morsels of this and thin slices of that, no longer is the 3-course set meal in fashion; street food is sociable in a more casual and dynamic way. I’d even go so far as to say there’s something sexy about it, something so slightly dirty about those polystyrene trays, bursting burritos and juices that can’t be contained.
M&S’ modern Asian range attempts to capture what we love about street food with 26 dishes revolving around noodles, bento boxes, dim sum and curries; Waitrose has inspired it’s Good To Go range with flavours from Jamaica, Turkey, Vietnam and Morocco. Supermarkets are trying to capitalise not only the street food craze but on the pairings and combinations that street food vendors are throwing under our noses on every city corner we stumble around.
Are you a fan?