Street Food

Street food and I have this thing. I grew up eating hot dogs from the guy in front of the post office where I grew up and it has only gotten worse from there.  If I’m honest, it probably borders on obsession.

The Boy on the other hand is very, very weary of any street food anywhere. This made for a lot of interesting travel photos and videos of me eating street food and him saying something to the effect of “here’s Amanda getting ready to crap her guts out” or “here’s Amanda about to get Delhi belly.” All the while he was puggin double cheeseburgers or Chicken Maharaja Macs and getting those bellyaches we are all familiar with after a meal at Mickey Dees.

I have yet to get sick from street food.

Here’s a brief look at my street food escapades.

The two girls I taught with in China in 2006 and I went every single day or every other day to our favorite “meat on a stick” vendor.  Okay, the real name of the style of food is Xinjiang BBQ, but you’ll never hear me call it that. For the three of us it always has been and always will be “meat on a stick”.

This is the first “meat on a stick” place I introduced my boyfriend to during our trip last year while walking through a park in Kunming. This is an extremely basic setup, but delicious nonetheless.

Here’s a prime example of the difference between what we consider “food” and how just how excited I can get over a few sticks.

What was left of the food from that night by the time I made it back up to the room.

“Just looking, give me a couple minutes” in Beijing. At least a dozen different animals and two dozen kinds of veggies are available in addition to a half dozen different kinds of rice products – all speared with a stick, covered in spices and oil and BBQd right in front of your eyes.

In Xi’an introducing his mom to meat on a stick from the place it originated! No, she didn’t try it. He managed to convince her of its evils too. Sigh.

Double fisting – what’s left of my Xinjiang hamburger, rou jia mo, is in my left hand and lamb sticks are in the right – I came to sit with them while they ate dinner at Pizza Hut. Seriously.

While China is my all time favorite place to get street food, I have a couple of honorable mentions from India as well.

Ordering a chili lime fruit bowl from an ocean side vendor in Kochi.

This is also one of my favorite Mexican street food dishes, so I was really excited to try it Indian style. He knew there was no keeping me away.

He really couldn’t believe I was about to eat something from that stall. He was laughing so hard at how sick I was gonna be in a few hours. I was laughing at (and secretly appreciating – more for me!) his fear of deliciousness.

The following pictures document the ultimate questionable street food for him. He truly gave up on me after this.  We were up in Munnar, a hill station in India. We trekked through tea plantations and had just arrived at a waterfall when I saw a stall with cartons of tiny eggs. Of course I had to find out what was cookin!

Turns out it was quail eggs. They scrambled them with some “secret sauce” and served it up with a nice helping of roti.

Here goes nothing!

Verdict: delicious!

I’ll look for the video of this one. It’s great. He captured the roadside stand, the remoteness of our location and my (in his opinion) total obliviousness to my impending doom.

Seriously western world, street food is not as bad as our media makes it out to be. Make safe choices (if it smells like sewage in the vicinity, don’t eat there) and let a little culinary adventure into your life.  Mickey Dees and Pizza Hut are lovely to have in a pinch, but they should not comprise a majority of your diet in third world countries. Eat the food. Everyone else eats it too and they’re not dead. You’ll be fine. Trust me.

Bon appetit!

Love you. Bye bye.

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5 thoughts on “Street Food

  1. Your boyfriend’s a chef, right? He should be all over this stuff, with his mind wide open! If his culinary inspirations are no more original than Mickey D’s and ‘zza, well… that’s kinda sad. It certainly affects the range of foods he’s willing to prepare.

    If something’s been fried or thoroughly boiled, it’s very likely sterile unless it’s been sitting out in the sun for several hours. Most street food sells faster than that. I’ve gotten food poisoning in Korea, but I don’t think it was ever from street food.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep. He just doesn’t do Asian food really. Doesn’t eat much and doesn’t prepare. French and Italian street food was acceptable all over – most of Europe, come to think of it. But in any second/third world he just doesn’t trust it. :/ more for me!!!!

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      1. Maybe the secret to easing your man into the world of Asian (street) food is to challenge him to put on his chef’s toque and to think of a way to spin such food in a European direction. Can a certain Chinese fish dish be done en croûte or en papillote, for example? Can this meat-on-a-stick be placed inside puff pastries and drizzled with a sauce that complements the meat’s flavor, all while sitting on a bed of Euro-styled Asian veggies?

        Asian and Euro flavor profiles are sometimes miles apart—figuratively and literally—but there have been plenty of successful fusions. Anthony Bourdain has sung the praises of Korean budae-jjigae, one of my favorite stews to make. It’s a fusion of typical spicy Korean stew and fatty American junk meats that add so much flavor and richness to the broth: hot dogs, spam, and hamburger. Amazing stuff. I blog about my own budae every few months (a photo here, for example). American-style Chinese food is arguably fusion in that it’s been bent away from the original Chinese concepts (great TED video here re: how Chinese food has morphed depending on which culture it encounters). French chefs teaching at the Cordon Bleu in Seoul have created French soups using Korean dumplings. I’d say the sky’s the limit and your guy—who I’m sure is talented—would be up to the challenge.

        OK, enough sermonizing. One last thing: I like your site! I hope it garners a ton of readers and commenters. Especially commenters. Visitors are nice, but visitors who react are even nicer.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Mmmm. This made me hungry. One day we’ll some visit you and hopefully I’ll get to taste this broth of champions.

        Thanks so much for the encouragement and well wishes. You’re one of my blogging heroes – I can only hope to have 1/10 of your wit and style!

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