- Food and Cooking
Best Street Food & Festival Food
Street food has come out of the closet and into the realms of being a gourmet treat - with an increasingly fabulous array of great comfort food, convenience food, special diet food and gourmet selections being seen on the streets of towns and cities and turning up at festivals, street fairs, fairgrounds and markets across the country. The industry's push to re-invent food all the time's raised the bar, giving you the biggest selection of food to eat on the go than ever before.
I've always been partial to a nice, juicy hot dog - if I even think of visiting a market or festival my first thought is always to get a hot dog, covered in fried onions and with a good dollop of tomato ketchup or a speciality sauce. It's a real treat that then becomes the very reason I'm at the venue at all. Given two shiny coins and a large market, I'll be found gripping my coins while looking around at the stalls, offers and shows .... knowing I'll be hot footing it to the hot dog van at the end.
But then life changed and now there's a lot more choice available out there - and, to be honest, it's giving me a dilemma as I can't decide what is the best street food to choose any more!
Food Festival Street Food
I recently attended one of the largest food festivals in the UK and was overwhelmed by the street food scene. There was everything from freshly cooked spicy dishes, through to handmade gourmet treats tied with ribbon in jaunty cello bags.
There are also some great Street Food books that are proving very popular with foodies - showing you a feast of delights to be found in street food around the world. Two samples below each have a "look inside" feature so you can check them out easily before adding them to your collection.
Hot Dogs and Bratwurst
Hot dogs and bratwurst get my first mention as the best street food to choose, simply because I have a long-standing love of a hot dog at the fair, or when attending markets.
But these days, a simple hot dog or burger isn't the only street food on offer. Gone is the old-fashioned pot of slimy burgers and hot dog sausages simmering in brine, then served in reguar finger rolls, now you can find a range of organic meats and specialist meats, cooked over hot coals in front of you.
Hot dogs have now morphed into monster-sized and large bratwurst and other sausages, cooked over a new style of circular hanging grill.
Hogroast served in freshly baked bread, or 1/4 roasted chickens served on a plate with salad are now the norm for street food.
Hot Chinese Buffet Food on the Go
The Chinese style of cooking is perfect for street food vendors. Cooking just 4-5 dishes in woks, which then top up the display utilising paella dishes, it's a feast for the eyes long before the belly gets a look in!
Chinese buffet food on the street can typically offer you a choice of rice or noodles, with a generous helping of a Chinese curry or sweet and sour chicken. The colours look amazing, the smell pulls you in and at a fixed price this street food has a fast-moving queue of eager punters who simply can't pass it by.
Thai Street Food at Festivals
Thai has gained great popularity in recent years and is regularly seen for sale at festivals across the country. The colours and smells are exciting - and the Thai food stalls are certainly very popular, with a long snake of eager customers queueing patiently for their turn.
Thai street food will typically offer a variety of Thai curries, noodles, rice and pancake rolls.
Thai food is a blend of spices, without necessarily being hot spices. The spices tend to be more fragrant and soft. There's usually also a great selection of marinated meat, served on skewers, to eat on the go.
Some of the Thai food vendors are solely festival food vendors, while others will be local Thai restaurants show-casing their food to a wide audience.
Street Noodle Bars
Noodle bars were an early adopter of street food, a simple to cook dish, with minimum waste and maximum taste they've proven to be popular at informal and formal music festivals and food festivals for decades.
Noodle vendors will offer a range of flavours and ingredients, mixed with the basic staple noodles.
I love noodle bars, at home I'll knock up some easy instant noodles often enough, but you really can't beat that freshly cooked taste straight from the wok, mixed with a blend of spices you probably don't usually keep at home.
Create The Street Food Taste at Home
Street food's high quality now rivals our favourite restaurants and takeaways. It's fast, it's tasty and it's moreish..... but you don't have to leave your house to get your fix of street food any more, since Kenny McGovern put together his famous, and Amazon top-selling book, called The Takeaway Secret.
Contained within its pages are all the treats you'd normally head for - and there are now two editions, spanning an even greater range of our favourite takeaway foods.
Probably the most authentic tasting recipes to be found anywhere.
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