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Bill

Street Food

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What do you consider the best "street food" you have eaten?

First, a definition: Street Food is:

==> Inexpensive by local standards

==> Delivered to your hand in less than two minutes from the time you order it

==> Usually eaten while standing, walking, sitting in a doorway, on a bench, etc.

Some rules:

==> No chain establishments. (Let’s say a chain has more than 3 locations)

==> Describe the food if it’s not well known.

==> Describe the place where you got it (So the rest of us can find it if it still exists)

==> Indicate how familiar you are with the city/region/country where you had the food.

More than one entry is encouraged and extra points will be awarded for enhancing the travel experience of others.

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Churros (deep fried dough) from carts in Mexico City. Rodriquez formerly of Patria, now at Chicama NY has had chorros on the menu, but the ones I ate from carts in Mexico were much better as they were thinner, crispier and hotter.

Ham and cheese crepe from a Paris street stand.

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Tandoori rolls in calcutta

Paratha, smothered in Ghee and wrapped around shrimp, chicken or pomfret

fiery and cheap and a bit like playing russian roulette with you intestinal tract but with taste that good, who wants to live forever?

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At 86th St. and Lexington Avenue, in NYC, there is

sometimes a woman who impales huge, sweet mangoes on a chopstick and with a scary knife, carves the fruit into  luscious flowers.

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In no particular order and some of these may fail to meet one or more of your criteria. Also, some may no longer be available where I found them.

A good sized squid cooked sort or teriaki style and served on a skewer at the side of a very winding mountain road in avery rural part of Japan.

Alcapurrias and bacalaitos fritos at the beginning of what used to be a dirt road to Loisa Aldea from Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. As the best were deep fried fresh for you, these may have not made the 2 minute cut. Most, by the way, were wretchedly leaden, greasy and awful, but it's human nature to always live in hope that the next will be better. Also some of the stands grew into huts and there were often some tables and maybe even chairs or benches.

The steamed pork and cabbage buns that were reheated on a griddle under a wok top and developed a thick bottom crust. There were sold on the south side of Canal Street around Baxter and Mullberry. It's been a while since I've seen them anywhere in Chinatown. I've always blamed Rudy Giuliani's skewed vision of quality of life for their demise from the street. Nothing in the way of street food I've found lately in Chinatown compares, but my favorite baked char shu bao these days are from a little bakery on the south side of Grande Street between Mott and Elizabeth Streets.

Ice cream, gelato and frozen confections all over the world.

Nasi goreng and bami goreng. Balls of fried rice and fried noodle purchased from an automat-like window on the streets of Amersterdam.

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Chargrilled stingray & a cold lime drink over crushed ice @ 4am, somewhere in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Deliciously hot, sour & salty.

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Kulfi (India's answer to ice cream, made with condensed milk and oh so much sweeter) in Bombay (er, Mumbai, sorry).

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Stuffed Sea Cucumber in Singapore SG.

Crayfish Hor Fun in Singapore SG.

Garlic Fried Chicken pieces  at Impenema beach, Rio BR.

Sea Bass Cerviche at a roadside shack to Punterenas CR.

Reshami Kebabs outside Mahim Church Mumbai IN.

Donner Kebab by a stand at an open air Market in Berlin. DE

Ghoghoni served in a container made of leaves in Siliguri IN

Jerk Chicken in the middle-of-no-where stand between Montego Bay and Fisherman Bay JM.

This I could go on and on :-) Spore is the place for street food and Hawker stall side food. Closer to  home,  Beef Empenadas -- Washington Heights.

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Ohm'god!  So many streets, so little time!

Dim sum at any of 10 different shops on Clement Street in San Francisco.  (3/1.00 to .50 ea.)

Barbeque pork rolls at Little Paris, Clement Street, SF: barbequed pork, rice noodles, bean sprouts, mint, cilantro rolled in softened rice paper, served with fish sauce for dipping.  Ū.50 for 2 7"rolls

Lengua tacos (.50 ea) served with salsa, lime and jalapeno from the la Bamba tacomobile on the main drag in Lodi, CA.

Coctel mixtos (prawn, octopus, crab, avocado) at the Lainy College flea market, Sunday mornings.  ů.50  Puerco tamales from the same vendor  ũ.50

Super tacos at Tacqueria Zapata on 18th and Collingsworth in San Francisco. Made to order with your choice of beans, meat, salsa plus lettuce, white cheese, sour cream, guacamole, tomato, onion slices, cilantro: ū.25  Of course served with chips and all you can eat jalapenos, radishes and lime.

Fried clams at Woodman's in Essex, MA.

French fries from the french-fries-only stand at Renninger's Kutztown Antique Extravaganza, April and September.

Just about anything you buy from City Bakery on E.17th St. in NYC and scarf on the street.

Spinach and white cheese puff pastry tarts in Camden Town, London on Sundays. (I can hear my husband yelling at me that I am dripping butter down my good clothes; couldn't have cared less.)

Fresh mozerella and tomato pizza served from the brick oven at the marketplace in Gubbio, Italy.

Gyros (pitas filled with grilled mystery meat, lettuce, tomato, onion, tziztiki) from the store front on Athinas Street in Athens.  The place with the bells that jingle all the time.

Bulgarian yoghurt ice cream at the stand in the Tuillieres, just west of the Place du Carrousel in Paris.

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While I agree with Anil that Singapore is a great place for street food, it has become a lot more 'sanitised' over the past twenty years thus making the food much safer and slightly less interesting. But the congee with raw fish at the Maxwell Street food stalls is memorable.

My two fondest memories of brilliant, vibrant food flavours were both from Greece. Sue and I tried a charcoal-grilled lamb skewers at the central market in Thessaloniki (Saloniki) in northern Greece. They had been coated in coarse salt. The texture of the salt and the charcoal flavour were a perfect match.

Furhter along the coast in the wonderful town of Kevala we tried barbecued red mullet. Again simple, yet perfect - and so cheap!

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Hong Kong,  Noodles in a fish broth, with the pot of broth simmering there,  watching them dump the entrails and bones of butchered fish into it...for a few extra cents, they'll take two fresh shrimp , heads and all, dip them in  boiling water, and add it to your noodles.   About Ū. US

Also, at the 9th Avenue Food Fest in NYC, when they still called that area ####'s kitchen, about 15 years ago,  I had my first Bean sprout pancake.  Now,they are at every church carnival. but they were new to me then, and I still remember the taste...I've never found one so fresh, non greasy and filled witll scallion as that first one...with a sauce that ( here we go again about sweetness)  was fruity sweet, not duck saucy orangy sweet like they serve with it now.  Sorry for my ignorance..  these pancakes are Vietnamese, right?

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I forgot about street pizza. my NYC experiences are pretty forgettable, but in a small town in Gascony I had a slice from the back of a truck with a wood burning oven. In honor of our destination I chose a "Basque" topping of red peppers and chorizo. Sensational break between breakfast and lunch. The mistake was moving on to lunch.

Of course there are the impolite snacks. Maybe only a brash American would pick up eclairs and other French pastries obviously designed for eating with a knife and fork at an elegantly set table and scarf them down on the streets of Paris, as I did as a college student. I wish I could eat a bag of eclairs and tartelettes these days without ruining my appetite for the next meal. On the other hand, I can sit longer in a cafe for less money as I've finally learned to nurse a beer.

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Yesterday -- Crab salad sandwiches, fried clams and clam chowder in a sourdough bread "bowl" at a non-descript street vendor at Pier 8 on the Wharf in San Francisco.

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Preet, can you get great Kulfi in New York City or anywhere in North America. A reviewer here(Montreal) reviewed a Indian restaurant some time ago, that made home-made Kulfi. He commented that their Kulfi was awful.

Steve

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There is a "vanilla bean kulfi" on the dessert menu at Tabla. It is the closest I have tasted to what I remember from India although maybe not as sweet. It is of course garnished in an haute manner and not exactly comparable but the flavor is there. The kulfi I have had at a few other Indian restaurants here in New York has been bad.

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I've had the Tabla kulfi several times, including at a Beard House event where I told Floyd Cardoz and Danny Meyer that they should package it and sell it in stores. I think they thought I was nuts, and maybe I am, but I'm right on this one.

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Hey, I knew I wanted to post something to this thread.

Every time the NYT publishes something that mentions street food (I remember one recently about Mexico City and one about China) they get a nasty letter from somebody who seems convinced that if you eat street food you will immediately die from multiple pathogens.  Why the Times keeps printing these letters I don't know;  at least they continue to recommend street food.

I really wish there were a way to get accurate data on the risk of a serious illness or death resulting from the street food of various cities, because then you could compare it to the risk of a major casualty during a short car trip in the concerned letter-writer's hometown.  I'll bet the comparison would be illuminating.

Obligatory link to my Bangkok street food article, which I'm proud to note includes a couple of things that I've never seen mentioned elsewhere.  I didn't make them up.

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po' boy sandwiches from about a dozen different excellent vendors on carts in New Orleans, and if your definition of "street" includes fast places NOT on carts, most especially the po' boys at Mother's Restaurant at 401 Poydras.

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in the vuccirria, Palermo's market district...

this guy had a sort of wok-like pan that could've been an old hubcap sitting on a propane burner...thin slices of raw beef (it could've been veal) were piled up on the high side, and a pool of olive oil bubbled at the bottom...he slid some of the meat into the oil, cooked it briefly, piled it onto a hard roll, and squeezed a half-lemon over the whole thing...mmmm

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Falfel in Tel Aviv.  Pick a stand - they were all pretty good....

Cheesesteaks from Jim's on South Street in Philly...

Rita's Water Ice in Philly....

Taco Loco on South Beach in Miami - it's all about the Guac...

####, I'm hungry now...

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Well, I don't have exotic international stories to tell, but I do like the coconut juice you can get from one of many carts on Canal Street on a hot day. It's in the original coconut shell, and they hack a hole in the top for your straw with a cleaver.

Also, there is a woman named Stella in Jackson Heights who sells a container of this brown dulce de leche (caramel) along with a stack of Communion wafers the size of 45-RPM records (remember them?) called "obleas". You slather the obleas with the dulce de leche and make a thin sandwich. (A place called Mosaico here in Manhattan used to have them, but the wafers, I was told when I asked, are too fragile to transport.)

I made the trek to Stella's cart over three years ago, so I don't know if she's still there. Anyone know?

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