Monday, September 9, 2019

History of Street Food

Korean Food, Korea, Cuisine, DeliciousThroughout history, people have eaten street food, made and sold by independent vendors.  No one is exactly sure when people began selling food on the streets but there appears to have been people selling fried fish to the poor.

There are records showing that the poor ate food prepared by venders on the street because tenement housing did not have cooking facilities available.  There are also records of street food being available to the poor in China but the wealthy people sent their servants to purchase food for them to eat in the privacy of their own homes.

In fact, street food was really the first fast food sold because venders could make good, filling, food for great prices so people could pop out, get food, before heading back to work.  People could stop in and get hot fresh food without ever entering a building so this type of eating fit in well with trying to eek out a living.  Almost every culture and civilization has had street food venders.

In 14th century Egypt, one could easily purchase Lamb Kababs, rice or fritters while in Colonial America one was more likely to purchase oysters, tripe, roasted corn, fruit, or sweets.  The ancient Aztecs enjoyed Atolli ( a gruel from maize) and a variety of tamales stuffed with different meats and in 19th century Paris, one could purchase strips of fried potatoes thought to be the forerunner of French fries.  Even street venders in Transylvania had sold cookies, corn mixed with cream, and bacon. Londoners could enjoy tripe, pea soup, pea pods in butter, prawns, and jellied eels.

In Indonesia, street food is sold from carts and bicycles rather than motorized trucks as is done in the United States.  In Bangkok, 20,000 street food venders feed around 40% of the population.  In Brazil, the most popular food sold is the chips or a small baked cheese flavored roll.  Mumbai, India has over half a million street food venders to serve the population.  The Polish sell a bread grilled with mushrooms, cheese, and some sort of meat called Zapiekankas while the most popular street food in the United States is the Hot Dog. The pizza sold by street venders in Italy is sold with a thick base that is baked and then sold in squares or rectangles.

In case you wonder, street food is not more contaminated that that sold in restaurants.  One thing, to know is that in some cultures it is considered rude to consume your street food while walking.  There is an estimated 2.5 billion people who eat street food every single day.  The thing about street food, is you can see it being prepared so you know if you want to try it.

From a entrepreneurs point of view, this type of business is easy to start since it requires a much lower investment than going the route of a restaurant.  In Fairbanks, many people begin with stalls at the local farmers market or set up a food truck to build clientele before investing in a restaurant in a building.  Furthermore, it allows venders to be more competitive and offer food that is usually cheaper than the same foods sold in a restaurant.

In some places such as Hawaii or Portland, there are blocks where people park their food trucks to sell foods.  I love that so many different foods can be found in such a small area for a reasonable price.  I admit, I often stop at street venders to purchase foods rather than going to sit downs because I like the foods I've found and I've done it in several countries because it gives me a better variety of choices.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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