How does one follow up the last couple of Street Food posts in this space? The ones on The Best Street Food City in the world and The Best of the Best? Seemed logical to ask around about what the so-called experts think will be topping the grab-and-go charts next…
A Foodney: Motor Scooter-based mini food truck. Perfect for
crowded, narrow streets and tightly-focussed menus.
Purpose-built Street Food vehicles
We’ve touched on this sprouting phenomenon before, but it bears a little more elucidation. Vehicles designed and built specifically for Street Food production and vending are beginning to take over the serious Street Food high-end.
Waste-minimizing food trucks: Are starting to appear, mainly at industry trade shows, at this point. But they’re a great idea, especially in undertakings like street food pep and sales that make extensive use of disposable containers and implements.
Space-saving food trucks: I was surfing around Googling ‘street food innovations’ earlier, when I came across an item about a truck designed to sell only one menu item (albeit, in several variations) and is built on the chassis of an Indian jitney (motor scooter-based taxi). Perfect for Asian and other urban environments where streets may be narrow and traffic heavy.
Specialized food trucks or stalls: We’ve seen that this idea is often embraced in locales where hundreds of separate street foods – in thousands of versions – are offered. It follows that grill-equipped, steamer-equipped, fryer-equipped or even vertical rotisserie-equipped vehicles would keep capital costs low (by eliminating expensive gear that might never be used by specific vendors) and concentrating on high-efficiency, fuel efficient appliances to keep costs down an emissions low.
Sales-only food trucks: Strategically located and kept stocked by roving delivery vehicles bringing centrally-prepped dishes from ghost kitchens. Those, in turn, could be dotted around town in multiple locations to ensure food is hot and fresh.
When you think about it, the idea of purpose-built street Food vehicles would be sort of a throw-back to the old Ice Cream trucks and Hot Dog stands of yesteryear. Just proves that really greats ideas don’t die; they just keep coming back in new, updated duds making the best possible use of the latest technological and business-model innovations…
Another article I found, in QSR Magazine, focuses on Street Food menu item trends…
Otherwise known as Myanmarian, these days. Interest in traditional Southeast Asian dishes continues strong. And Burmese cuisine, in particular, has been getting a lot of chatter in Street Food circles:
- Coconut Chicken Curry – one great concept, many variations.
- Tea-leaf Salads – kits for which are already being sold in Myanmarian markets.
- Chicken fingers – served with a sweet coconut sauce or other traditional Burmese flavours. Makes me think of ‘boneless Wings’ envisioned in a new way…
- Chick Pea Fries – already a growing trend in their home market.
- Bara: From Trinidad and Tobago. Bara puffs up when fried and effectively becomes a hollow carrier ideal for stuffing. But it could also be a novel yet perfectly suitable vehicle for a hamburger, hot dog, or fish fillet.
- Jerk: That uniquely Jamaican flavour tradition that’s starting to attract wider interest. Potential for mashups and crossovers with other Caribbean dishes is endless.
- Cubano: That Cuban sandwich they absolutely adore in Miami and environs. Deserves wider attention, and a broader variety of ingredients and combinations. Let the Pork shine in!
- Traditional garlic steak: with hot egg and pepper strips begs crossovers and mash-ups –
- How about a burger patty with fried egg and seasonings such as garlic and peri peri?
- How about a fajita-like presentation, with sweet peppers?
- Tapas: – But with the traditional ingredients and flavours of other, complementary (European and North African) cuisines?
Other crossovers currently being dabbled with
- Kimski: A Chicago-based phenomenon that crosses Polish and Korean cuisines
- French Empanadas: The classic Spanish pocket pastry, stuffed with French specialties for grab-and-go convenience
- Korean – American Fusion Barbecues: Just what it says. A world of possibilities!
- Mexican – Korean – Indian Fusion: Taking what they have in common (spicyness, flatbreads, sauces, traditional meats and veggies) and crossovers where complementary ingredients suggest them
The future is now
Many of the above notions are already on offer, or are in active development. All are, I think, valid ideas about where Street Food can and probably should go next. All that’s required is that we open our minds and listen to our palates when something new is suggested. The age-old principles still apply: traditional flavours and ingredients will always appeal when they are presented in ways we know (from long experience) work. The trick, as has always been the case, is to successfully adapt them for take-away, out-of-the-hand dining…
~ Maggie J.