International Street Food Festival: Well-Traveled Food
Sometimes a food is so good, it just can’t be left behind.
When Mexicans moved to the US, they packed some fabulous recipes. Now some of those dishes are sold from taqueria trucks all over the States.
When the Greeks traveled through Europe, they carried meat rolled in pita bread. On the streets of Paris, French students now enjoy the delights of the kebab.
And when the Greeks went to the US, they took some home-grown entrepreneurialism, mixed it with some New York sophistication, added a hot dog bun and a variety of meats and came up with a street food so good it brings a tear to a crusty old biker’s eye.
But others tell these stories better than me. Let me introduce Ben Voigts, brother to Jessie Voigts of Wandering Educators, Tiphanya from Avenue Reine Mathilde (in her first-ever blog post in English) and the ruggedly handsome Glen from Travelin Gringo.
Welcome to day two of the world’s first online International Street Food Festival here on The Dropout Diaries, another day of street food and inspiration from amazing bloggers from around the world.
Street Food Sensation: Mexico’s Adobada In Seattle
In the US, especially in larger cities, taqueria trucks abound. They are a treasure trove of goodness – all kinds of authentic Mexican cuisine, at reasonable prices.
One of my favorite dishes is adobada, which is meat (most often pork), simmered with red chilies, vinegar and oregano. Once the meat is cooked until it’s tender, it’s shredded and served on tacos, a torta or in a burrito.
In this burrito, the shredded meat is layered with rice and beans, lettuce and chopped onions. The burrito was quickly heated on the grill, so the outside was crunchy. As is common, the burrito was served with a side of fresh, crispy tortilla chips, a pickled jalapeno and a small container of salsa rojo (red sauce).
This burrito was hot, mouthwatering and enticing. The adobada was flavorful and delicious – a great combination.
Nominated by: Dr Jessie Voigts …
.. who bases all of her travel around either food or water (you’d be surprised by how often they coincide). For this article, Jessie tapped the expertise and tastebuds of her brother, Ben, who lives in Washington and frequents many a taqueria. Jessie and her husband Ed are the brains behind www.wanderingeducators.com.
Read: Touching my Father’s Soul: A Sherpa’s Journey to the Top of Everest by Jamling Tenzing Norgay. Jessie says: “It’s a true glimpse into a culture, location and event that everyone thinks they know – but as always, there are deep cultural meanings that are important to understand.”
Street Food Sensation: Greek Döner Kebab in France
“On s’fait un grec?” is a common phrase uttered by French students. Literally “let’s do a Greek” … but a less racy translation is “let’s eat a döner kebab”.
Honestly, for nearly the same price, who would choose a sandwich jambon beurre, the cold French sandwich, over this hot sandwich full of meat, sauce, tomato, lettuce, onions and fries? We can even pretend it is a healthy meal! All for only 5€ on the streets of Paris.
This Turkish/Greek/Middle Eastern sandwich can be found in just about every French town. The shops (I can’t call them restaurants) all have a couple of tables and chairs for people to eat inside. But I tried the dine-in option once, and let me tell you, the kebab doesn’t taste as good when eaten in a fog of frying smell. A dine-in kebab is a pretty masculine affair, popular with men aged 40 to 50.
But don’t be deterred, go into a kebab place and get ready to answer the question “salade, tomates, oignons?” (you can leave out any of this ingredients) and then “ketchup, mayo, sauce blanche, samouraï?”. Then take your kebab and find a nice place to sit and enjoy it.
The kebab only really has one drawback for French students – how can they concentrate after such a hearty lunch?
Nominated by: Tiphanya …
.. who blogs (in French) at Avenue Reine Mathilde
Street Food Sensation: New York System Hot Weiners
It’s a real Coney conundrum. For an authentic New York System Hot Weiner, you’ve got to go to Rhode Island. They simply don’t exist in New York.
Hot Weiners have been a unique part of Rhode Island’s food culture since the middle of the last century, developed by Greek restaurateurs who apparently used the description “New York System” to impart an air of big-city sophistication to the recipe.
A hot weiner is not a regular hot dog, oh no, no, no. It starts with a special-recipe frankfurter, usually comprised of pork, beef, and veal, which is plopped into a soft, steamed bun and then slathered with mustard, special meat sauce, diced onions and celery salt.
The blend of flavors has to be tasted to be believed – it’s heaven on a bun, in my humble opinion.
There are lots of places to get Hot Weiners in Rhode Island; most of them are family businesses, run by descendents of their Greek immigrant founders. One of my favorites is called Wein-O-Rama (how could you not love a place with a name like that?) at 1009 Oaklawn Avenue in Cranston, Rhode Island.
Wein-O-Rama has been operated by the same family since 1962. Look for George Sotirakos – one of the two brothers who co-own the restaurant – behind the counter. At 6’ 8” tall, he claims to be the tallest short-order cook in Rhode Island.
Tell him the Travelin’ Gringo sent you.
Nominated by: Glen Abbott …
… a freelance travel writer/photographer based in New Orleans, LA. He writes for Harley-Davidson’s HOG magazine and other motorcycle and travel publications, and never misses the chance to sample “regional cuisine,” usually of the street food variety, when he’s on the road. Glen blogs at www.travelingringo.com.
“Go for it, now! You’re not getting any younger, buck-o. You’ll only have this one chance, and who wants to have regrets? Once you’re dead, you don’t get a do-over (although that may depend upon your personal beliefs, of course).” Glen’s advice for people who have a dream but are a little scared to jump into it.
Tune in tomorrow for day three of the first-ever online International Street Food Festival. Wednesday’s menu features some unusual eats, including a meat dessert and a dish nominated by a blogger famous for windiness.
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