Street food is ready-to-eat food or drink sold by a hawker, or vendor, in a street or other public place, such as at a market or fair. It is often sold from a portable food booth, food cart, or food truck and meant for immediate consumption. Some street foods are regional, but many have spread beyond their region of origin. Most street foods are classed as both finger food and fast food, and are cheaper on average than restaurant meals. According to a 2007 study from the Food and Agriculture Organization, 2.5 billion people eat street food every day.
Small fried fish were a street food in ancient Greece; however, Theophrastus held the custom of street food in low regard. Evidence of a large number of street food vendors was discovered during the excavation of Pompeii. Street food was widely consumed by poor urban residents of ancient Rome whose tenement homes did not have ovens or hearths. Here, chickpea soup with bread and grain paste were common meals. In ancient China, street food generally catered to the poor, however, wealthy residents would send servants to buy street food and bring it back for them to eat in their homes.
A traveling Florentine reported in the late 14th century that in Cairo, people brought picnic cloths made of rawhide to spread on the streets and sit on while they ate their meals of lamb kebabs, rice, and fritters that they had purchased from street vendors. In Renaissance Turkey, many crossroads had vendors selling "fragrant bites of hot meat", including chicken and lamb that had been spit-roasted. In 1502, Ottoman Turkey became the first country to legislate and standardize street food.
Aztec marketplaces had vendors who sold beverages such as atolli ("a gruel made from maize dough"), almost 50 types of tamales (with ingredients that ranged from the meat of turkey, rabbit, gopher, frog and fish to fruits, eggs and maize flowers), as well as insects and stews. Spanish colonization brought European food stocks like wheat, sugarcane and livestock to Peru, however, most commoners continued to primarily eat their traditional diets. Imports were only accepted at the margins of their diet, for example, grilled beef hearts sold by street vendors. Some of Lima's 19th-century street vendors such as "Erasmo, the 'negro' sango vendor" and Na Aguedita are still remembered today.
During the American Colonial period, "street vendors sold oysters, roasted corn ears, fruit, and sweets at low prices to all classes." Oysters, in particular, were a cheap and popular street food until around 1910 when overfishing and pollution caused prices to rise. Street vendors in New York City faced a lot of opposition. After previous restrictions had limited their operating hours, street food vendors were completely banned in New York City by 1707. Many women of African descent made their living selling street foods in America in the 18th and 19th centuries, with products ranging from fruit, cakes, and nuts in Savannah, to coffee, biscuits, pralines, and other sweets in New Orleans. Cracker Jack started as one of many street food exhibits at the Columbian Exposition.
In the 19th century, street food vendors in Transylvania sold gingerbread-nuts, cream mixed with corn, as well as bacon and other meat fried on top of ceramic vessels with hot coals inside. French fries, consisting of fried strips of potato, probably originated as a street food in Paris in the 1840s. Street foods in Victorian London included tripe, pea soup, pea pods in butter, whelk, prawns, and jellied eels.
Street food culture in China was first developed in the Tang Dynasty and continued to evolve over millennia. Street food continues to play a major role in Chinese cuisine with regional street food generating a strong interest in culinary tourism. Because of the Chinese diaspora, Chinese street food has had a major influence on other cuisines across Asia and even introduced the concept of a street food culture to other countries. The street food culture of Southeast Asia was established by coolie workers imported from China during the late 19th century.
Ramen, originally brought to Japan by Chinese immigrants about 100 years ago, began as a street food for laborers and students. However, it soon became a "national dish" and even acquired regional variations.
In Thailand, street food was commonly sold by the ethnic Chinese population of Thailand but it did not become popular among native Thai people until the early 1960s, because of rapid urban population growth, by the 1970s it had "displaced home-cooking." The rise of the country's tourism industry is also contributed to the popularity of Thai street food.
In Indonesia — especially Java, travelling food and drink vendor has a long history, as they were described in temples bas reliefs dated from 9th century, as well as mentioned in 14th century inscription as a line of work. During colonial Dutch East Indies period circa 19th century, several street food were developed and documented, including satay and dawet (cendol) street vendors. The current proliferation of Indonesia's vigorous street food culture is contributed by the massive urbanization in recent decades that has opened opportunities in food service sectors. This took place in the country's rapidly expanding urban agglomerations, especially in Greater Jakarta, Bandung and Surabaya.
Street food vending is found all around the world, but varies greatly between regions and cultures. For example, Dorling Kindersley describes the street food of Vietnam as being "fresh and lighter than many of the cuisines in the area" and "draw[ing] heavily on herbs, chile peppers and lime", while street food of Thailand is "fiery" and "pungent with shrimp paste ... and fish sauce." New York City's signature street food is the hot dog, however, New York street food also includes everything from "spicy Middle Eastern falafel or Jamaican jerk chicken to Belgian waffles"
Street food in Thailand offers various selection of ready-to-eat meals, snacks, fruits and drinks sold by hawkers or vendors at food stalls or food carts on the street side. Bangkok is often mentioned as one of the best place for street food. Popular street offerings includes pad thai (stir fried rice noodle), som tam (green papaya salad), sour tom yum soup, various selection of Thai curries, to sticky rice mango
Indonesian street food is a diverse mix of local Indonesian, Chinese, and Dutch influences. Indonesian street food often tastes rather strong and spicy. A lot of street food in Indonesia are fried, such as local gorengan (fritters), also nasi goreng and ayam goreng, while bakso meatball soup, skewered chicken satay and gado-gado vegetable salad served in peanut sauce are also popular.
Indian street food is as diverse as Indian cuisine. Every region has its own specialties to offer. Some of the more popular street food dishes are Vada Pav, Cholle Bhature, Parathas, Rolls, Bhel Puri, Sev Puri, Gol Gappa, Aloo tikki, Kebabs, Tandoori chicken, Samosa, Bread omelette, Pav bhaji and Pakora. In India, street food is popularly known as nukkadwala food. There are several restaurants and QSRs in India that have also taken their inspiration from the vibrant street food of India.
In Hawaii, the local street food tradition of "plate lunch" (rice, macaroni salad, and a portion of meat) was inspired by the bento of the Japanese who had been brought to Hawaii as plantation workers. In Denmark, sausage wagons allow passersby to purchase sausages and hot dogs.
Because of differences in culture, social stratification and history, the ways in which family street vendor enterprises are traditionally created and run vary in different areas of the world. For example, few women are street vendors in Bangladesh, but women predominate in the trade in Nigeria and Thailand. Doreen Fernandez says that Filipino cultural attitudes towards meals is one "cultural factor operating in the street food phenomenon" in the Philippines because eating "food out in the open, in the market or street or field" is "not at odds with the meal indoors or at home" where "there is no special room for dining".
Walking on the street while eating is considered rude in some cultures, such as Japan or Swahili cultures, although it is acceptable for children. In India, Henrike Donner wrote about a "marked distinction between food that could be eaten outside, especially by women," and the food prepared and eaten at home, with some non-Indian food being too "strange" or tied too closely to non-vegetarian preparation methods to be made at home.
In Tanzania's Dar es Salaam region, street food vendors produce economic benefits beyond their families. Because street food vendors purchase local fresh foods, urban gardens and small-scale farms in the area have expanded. In the United States, street food vendors are credited with supporting New York City's rapid growth by supplying meals for the city's merchants and workers. Proprietors of street food in the United States have had a goal of upward mobility, moving from selling on the street to their own shops. However, in Mexico, an increase in street vendors has been seen as a sign of deteriorating economic conditions in which food vending is the only employment opportunity that unskilled labor who have migrated from rural areas to urban areas are able to find.
In 2002, Coca-Cola reported that China, India, and Nigeria were some of its fastest-growing markets: markets where the company's expansion efforts included training and equipping mobile street vendors to sell its products.
As early as the 14th century, government officials oversaw street food vendor activities. With the increasing pace of globalization and tourism, the safety of street food has become one of the major concerns of public health, and a focus for governments and scientists to raise public awareness. However, despite concerns about contamination at street food vendors, the incidence of such is low, with studies showing rates comparable to restaurants.
In 2002, a sampling of 511 street foods in Ghana by the World Health Organization showed that most had microbial counts within the accepted limits, and a different sampling of 15 street foods in Calcutta showed that they were "nutritionally well balanced", providing roughly 200 kcal (Cal) of energy per rupee of cost.
In the United Kingdom, the Food Standards Agency provides comprehensive guidance of food safety for the vendors, traders and retailers of the street food sector. Other effective ways of enhancing the safety of street foods include: mystery shopping programs, training, rewarding programs to vendors, regulatory governing and membership management programs, and technical testing programs.
Despite knowledge of the risk factors, actual harm to consumers’ health is yet to be fully proven and understood. Due to difficulties in tracking cases and the lack of disease-reporting systems, follow-up studies proving actual connections between street food consumption and food-borne diseases are still very few. Little attention has been devoted to consumers and their eating habits, behaviors and awareness. The fact that social and geographical origins largely determine consumers’ physiological adaptation and reaction to foods—whether contaminated or not—is neglected in the literature.
In the late 1990s, the United Nations and other organizations began to recognize that street vendors had been an underused method of delivering fortified foods to populations, and in 2007, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization recommended considering methods of adding nutrients and supplements to street foods that are commonly consumed by the particular culture.
Balık ekmek is a common street food item in Turkish cuisine. It is a sandwich of a filet of fried or grilled fish (typically mackerel, or other similar oily fish), served along with various vegetables, inside a bun of Turkish bread. It is typically served on the Eminönü square straight from the boat on which it is prepared.
The name is a combination of the Turkish words balık (fish) and ekmek (bread).Banana cue
A Banana cue or Banana Q (Tagalog: Banana kyu) is a popular snack food or street food in the Philippines. The "cue" in the name is an abbreviation of barbecue, which in Philippine English refers to meat cooked in a style similar to satay.Chebureki
Cheburek (Crimean Tatar: çiberek; via Russian: чебурек, romanized: cheburek, pl. chebureki), is a national dish of Crimean Tatar cuisine. Cheburek is a deep-fried turnover with a filling of ground or minced meat and onions. It is made with a single round piece of dough folded over the filling in a crescent shape. Chebureki are popular as snack and street food throughout Transcaucasia, Central Asia, Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, as well as with the Crimean Tatar diasporas in Turkey and Romania.Falafel
Falafel (or felafel) (, ; Arabic: فلافل, [faˈlaːfɪl] (listen), dialectal: [fæˈlæːfel]) is a deep-fried ball, or a flat or doughnut-shaped patty, made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Herbs, spices, and onion relatives are commonly added to the dough. It is a Levantine and Egyptian dish that most likely originated in Egypt, but is commonly eaten throughout Western Asia. The fritters are now found around the world as part of vegetarian cuisine, and as a form of street food.
Falafel balls are commonly served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as taboon. Falafel also frequently refers to a wrapped sandwich prepared with falafel balls laid over a bed of salad or pickled vegetables and drizzled with hot sauce or a tahini sauce. Falafel balls may also be eaten alone as a snack, or served as part of an assortment of appetizers known as a meze.Haleem
Haleem is a type of stew popular in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Although the dish varies from region to region, it always includes wheat or barley, and sometimes meat and/or lentils. Popular variations include keşkek in Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and northern Iraq; Hareesa in the Arab world and Armenia; Halim in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India; Khichra in Pakistan and India. Americans also have a similar dish called Farina.Hong Kong street food
Hong Kong street food is characterised as the ready-to-eat snacks and drinks sold by hawkers or vendors at food stalls, including egg tarts, fish balls, egg waffles and stinky tofu, according to the definition provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization. They can be found throughout the city, especially around Mong Kok, Causeway Bay, Yuen Long, Tsuen Wan, and Kwun Tong.Isaw
Isaw is a street food from the Philippines, made from barbecued pig or chicken intestines. The intestines are cleaned, turned inside out, and cleaned again, repeating the process several times; they are then either boiled, then grilled, or immediately grilled on sticks. They are usually dipped in vinegar or sukang pinakurat (vinegar with onions, peppers, and other spices). They are usually sold by vendors on street corners during the afternoons.
While popular throughout the Philippines, isaw has taken on an iconic status as a campus staple at the University of the Philippines Diliman. The UP Isawan (an isaw stall) is used as a regular setting for comic book artist Manix Abrera's daily KikoMachine comic strip in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.List of street foods
This is a list of street foods. Street food is ready-to-eat food or drink typically sold by a vendor on a street and in other public places, such as at a market or fair. It is often sold from a portable food booth, food cart, or food truck and meant for immediate consumption. Some street foods are regional, but many have spread beyond their region of origin. Street food vending is found all around the world, but varies greatly between regions and cultures.Most street foods are classed as both finger food and fast food, and are cheaper on average than restaurant meals. According to a 2007 study from the Food and Agriculture Organization, 2.5 billion people eat street food every day.Mexican street food
Mexican street food, called antojitos (literally "little cravings"), is prepared by street vendors and at small traditional markets in Mexico. Street foods include tacos, tamales, gorditas, quesadillas, empalmes, tostadas, chalupa, elote, tlayudas, cemita, pambazo, empanada, nachos, chilaquiles, fajita and tortas, as well as fresh fruit, vegetables, beverages and soups such as menudo, pozole and pancita. Most are available in the morning and the evening, as mid-afternoon is the time for the main formal meal of the day.
Mexico has one of the most extensive street food cultures in Latin America, and Forbes named Mexico City as one of the foremost cities on the world in which to eat on the street.Pad thai
Pad thai, or phad thai ( or ; Thai: ผัดไทย, RTGS: phat thai, ISO: p̄hạdịthy, pronounced [pʰàt tʰāj] (listen), "Thai stir-fry"), is a stir-fried rice noodle dish commonly served as a street food and at most restaurants in Thailand.Papri chaat
Papri chaat, paapri chaat or papdi chaat is a popular traditional fast food and street food from the Indian subcontinent, notably in North India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Many various additional dishes throughout India are also referred to as papri chaat. Some restaurants in the United States serve the traditional version of the dish.Satay
Satay ( SA-tay, SAH-tay), or sate in Indonesian spelling, is a Southeast Asian dish of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce. It is a dish from Indonesia; and popular in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Satay may consist of diced or sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, fish, other meats, or tofu; the more authentic version uses skewers from the midrib of the coconut palm frond, although bamboo skewers are often used. These are grilled or barbecued over a wood or charcoal fire, then served with various spicy seasonings. Satay can be served in various sauces, however most often they are served in a combination of soy and peanut sauce. Hence, peanut sauce is often called satay sauce.Satay originated on the Indonesian island of Java. It is available almost anywhere in Indonesia, where it has become a national dish. It is also popular in many other Southeast Asian countries including Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. A key feature of Thai satay is the inclusion of pork as a meat option, and Thai-style peanut sauce. Meanwhile, Indonesian satay is often served with kecap manis - a sweet soy sauce, and is often accompanied with lontong, a type of rice cake. In Sri Lanka, it has become a staple of the local diet as a result of the influences from the local Malay community.Satay is a popular delicacy in Indonesia. The country's diversity (see Indonesian cuisine) has produced a wide variety of satays. In Indonesia, satay is a popular street food, it can be obtained from a travelling satay vendor, from a street-side tent-restaurant, in an upper-class restaurant, or at traditional celebration feasts.
Close analogues are yakitori from Japan, kǎoròu chuàn from China, shish kebab from Turkey and the Middle East, shashlik from the Caucasus, and sosatie from South Africa. It is listed at number 14 on World's 50 most delicious foods readers' poll compiled by CNN Go in 2011.Sev puri
Sev puri is an Indian snack and a type of chaat. It is a speciality that originates from Mumbai, Maharashtra.In Mumbai and Pune, sev puri is strongly associated with street food, but is also served at upscale locations. Recently, supermarkets have started stocking ready-to-eat packets of sev puri and similar snacks like bhelpuri.Shawarma
Shawarma (; Arabic: شاورما) is a Middle Eastern meat preparation based on the döner kebab of Ottoman Turkey. Originally made of lamb or mutton, today's shawarma may also be chicken, turkey, beef, or veal, cut in thin slices and stacked in a cone-like shape on a vertical rotisserie. Thin slices are shaved off the cooked surface as it continuously rotates. Shawarma is one of the world's most popular street foods, especially in Egypt and the countries of the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula.Street food of Indonesia
Indonesian street food is a collection of ready-to-eat meals, snacks, fruits and drinks sold by hawkers or vendors at warung food stalls or food carts. Street food in Indonesia is a diverse mix of local Indonesian, Chinese, and Dutch influences. Indonesian street food are usually cheap, offer a great variety of food of different tastes, and can be found on every corner of the city.Most Indonesian street food is affordable, with prices usually less than a US dollar (13,150.80 rupiah). However, there are also some street foods that are priced more than 20,000 rupiah (1.52 US dollar). Indonesian street food often colloquially called as kaki lima (Indonesian for "five-feet") or jajanan kaki lima ("five-feet buys"), which refer to five foot way pedestrian sidewalks along the street that often occupied by street hawkers selling food.In 2015, the Cooperatives, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Trade Agency recorded that Jakarta has around 56,000 street vendors and the spaces available for them reached just 18,000. The rest occupies the city's kaki lima pedestrian's sidewalks. The agency noted that the actual number is a lot bigger.Indonesian street food often tastes rather strong and spicy. A lot of street food in Indonesia are fried, such as assorted gorengan (fritters), also nasi goreng (fried rice), mie goreng (fried noodles) and ayam goreng (fried chicken), while bakso meatball soup, traditional soto soups and fruit rujak are also popular. Most of Indonesian street food has something to do with peanut sauce; steamed siomay fish dumplings, skewered and grilled chicken satay, asinan, ketoprak and gado-gado vegetable salad are all served in Indonesia's favourite peanut sauce.Street food of Mumbai
Street food of Mumbai is the food sold by Hawker trade hawkers from portable Market stalls in Mumbai. It is one of the characteristics of the city. The city is known for its distinctive street foods. Although street food is common all over India, street food in Mumbai is noted because people from all economic classes eat on the roadside almost round the clock and it is sometimes felt that the taste of street food is better than restaurants in the city. Many Mumbaikars like a small snack on the road in the evening. People of Mumbai cut across barriers of class, religion, gender and ethnicity are passionate about street food. Street food vendors are credited by some for developing the city's food culture. Street food in Mumbai is relatively inexpensive as compared to restaurants and vendors tend to be clustered around crowded areas such as colleges and railway stations.Street food of Thailand
Street food in Thailand brings together various offerings of ready-to-eat meals, snacks, fruits and drinks sold by hawkers or vendors at food stalls or food carts on the street side in Thailand. Sampling Thai street food is a popular activity for visitors, as it offers a taste of Thai cooking traditions. Bangkok is often mentioned as one of the best place for street food. In 2012, VirtualTourist named Bangkok as the number one spot for street food—the city is notable for both its variety of offerings and the abundance of street hawkers.There are many areas in Bangkok that are famous for as a street food center such as Yaowarat and nearby area (Talat Noi, Wat Traimit and Chaloem Buri), Nang Loeng, Sam Phraeng, Pratu Phi, Bang Lamphu, Yotse, Sam Yan, Tha Din Daeng, Wongwian Yai, Wang Lang, Talat Phlu etc.Tokneneng
Tokneneng is a tempura-like Filipino street food made by deep-frying orange batter covered hard-boiled eggs. A popular variation of tokneneng is kwek kwek. The main difference between the two lies in the egg that is used. Kwek kwek is traditionally made with quail eggs, while Tokneneng is made with chicken eggs. Due to their similarities, the two are often confused with some people calling tokneneng "kwek kwek" and vice versa.
Tokneneng is usually served with a spiced vinegar-based dip.The name "tokneneng" originated from the 1978 Pinoy komiks series Batute, illustrated by Vic Geronimo and created by Rene Villaroman. In the main character Batute's language, tokneneng means 'egg'.Vada pav
Vada pav, alternatively spelt vada pao, wada pav, or wada pao, is a vegetarian fast food dish native to the state of Maharashtra . The dish consists of a deep fried potato dumpling placed inside a bread bun (pav) sliced almost in half through the middle. It is generally accompanied with one or more chutneys and a green chilli pepper. It originated as cheap street food in Mumbai, but is now served in food stalls and restaurants across India. It is also called Aamchi Mumbai burger in keeping with its origins and its resemblance in physical form to a burger.
Category: Street food
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