Street Food Glossary
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
A quote from Gandhi may not be the first thing you expect to read on a street food blog, but here at strEAT we like to keep you on your toes. And honestly, there is a point.
For most stages of life there are educational tools to help you learn your way through problems and mysteries. These usually come in the shape of books. Or the internet. If you’re writing an essay you’ll probably want to invest in a thesaurus; if you’re learning Spanish prior to a cheeky trip to Buenos Aires you’ll need a text-book and if you’re going through a midlife crisis you might want to buy
a red convertible Mercedes a self-help book. But what if you want to learn about street food?
In an uncharacteristically altruistic gesture, strEAT has decided to demystify the street food snacks coming to a market near you. Welcome to the Street Food Gloss-cyclapedia!
These gloriously golden, breadcumb-coated, fried rice balls are Italy’s antidote to practically all life’s woes.
The prevalence of these stuzzichini or spuntini (that’s ‘snacks’ in Italian) is ever-increasing, but did you know that arancini is the plural of arancino? Or that they originated in Sicily in the 10th century?
The word arancino is Italian for “little orange”. Arancini are made from risotto rice and they’re usually filled with ragù (typically a tomato based meat sauce), mozzarella and/or peas, but fillings vary as do shapes and sizes. If there is a better way to use up leftover risotto I will eat my saucepan.
Foodie cousin: Supplì
Where can I strEAT it: Arancini Bros – 115 Kentish Town Road (Nearest tube: Kentish Town).
Recipe to make it at home: From the lovely Nigel Slater
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
The colonel introduced the masses to southern fried chicken through his franchise back in 1952. Rumor has it that KFC’s recipe is hidden in a safe, inside a vault, with walls two feet thick, in KFC’s Louisville headquarters. But the secret to orgasmically succulent and heart-stoppingly crunchy fried chicken is simple. Buttermilk.
The by-product of butter churning, buttermilk has many uses other than coating poultry and marinating red meat. It’s often used to make soda bread and scones, and is commonly used as a drink in countries such as Pakistan, India, and even the southern states of the US. Some even advocate bathing in the stuff for silky soft skin and to treat spots. If that’s not a multipurpose ingredient I don’t know what is.
Buttermilk is thicker than milk and it has a slightly sour, acidic taste. Marinating the chicken in buttermilk makes the meat moist and flavourful.
Foodie cousin: Buttermilk Fried Chicken is unparalleled. ‘Nuff said.
Where can I strEAT it: Spit and Roast – Follow them on Twitter to find out where they are, but they tend to frequent the East.
Recipe to make it at home: Anthony Worrall Thompson at BBC Food
A dosa, or dosai, is a fermented savoury pancake made from chickpea flour, or rice batter and black lentils. It is native to, and a staple dish of southern India, as well as being popular in Sri Lanka and some parts of south-east Asia. One of the most common types of dosa is the masala dosa which is filled with potatoes, onions and spices. It’s a breakfast dish as well as a street food treat and it’s often served with chutney.
Foodie cousin: Bit of a stretch, but let’s say French Galettes.
Where can I strEAT it: Dosa Deli
Recipe to make it at home: Jamie Oliver’s Dosa
Gangnam Style isn’t the only thing to come out of South Korea. Kimchi (also spelled kimchee and kim chee), is popping up on menus from London to Lowestoft. Okay maybe not Lowestoft, but it is gaining ground UK wide.
Kimchi is a staple Korean dish, which is principally composed of fermented cabbage, garlic, ginger and chilli. It is Korea’s national dish, and there are hundreds of varieties.
Koreans eat so much of the spicy dish that apparently natives say “kimchi” instead of “cheese” when getting their pictures taken. In Korea no meal is complete without a side of kimchi, and almost every restaurant in Korea serves kimchi as a free side dish, complete with unlimited refills. As a result Koreans supposedly consume more than 18 kilos of the stuff every year.
According to some reports it’s ‘one of the five healthiest foods in the world’. It is served either alone or mixed with rice or noodles.
Foodie cousin: Sauerkraut
Where can I strEAT it: Kimchi Cult – stalk them on Twitter to find where they’re hiding.
Recipe to make it at home: David Leibovitz
A macaron is a sweet, delicate treat made with egg whites, sugar, ground almond and food colouring. Macarons have a smooth top, and the ruffled circumference at the bottom of each half is referred to as the “foot”. It’s commonly filled with a ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two halves. Macarons are not to be confused with macaroons: the photo below says it all…
Supposedly macarons were originally called “Gerbet” or the “Paris macaron”.
One cannot mention macarons without mentioning Ladurée. The chain of pastry shops is considered by many the high altar of macarons and was established almost 150 years ago.
Foodie cousin: Meringues
Where can I strEAT it: On Cafe serve Japansese-inspired macarons, with flavours such as jasmine, black sesame and cherry blossom. Often found at the Real Food Market on Southbank (Nearest tube: Waterloo).
Recipe to make it at home: Don’t do it! More laborious to make than you could imagine.
The pleasure sustained from eating pulled pork should, under no circumstances, be compared to the calorie intake.
Yet another carnal delight from the deep south, purists barbecue the pork, usually the shoulder cut, extremely slowly keenly ensuring a smoky hit. Most advocate at least five hours. Usually the cut will be given by a thorough rub down by salt, smoked paprika and chilli. The result is a hunk of meat which becomes tender enough that it can be “pulled”, or easily broken off into smaller threads.
The preparation of pulled pork differs from region to region in the US.
Foodie cousin: Rilettes
Where can I strEAT it: Anna Maes do The Notorious P.I.G pulled pork sandwich. Follow them on Twitter to catch where they’re at. Pitt Cue Co was one of the founding fathers of street pulled pork, but can now be found in more permanent digs in Soho (Nearest tube: Oxford Circus).
Recipe to make it at home: The Guardian tells you how it’s done
Raclette is a semi-firm, cow’s milk cheese, most commonly used for melting. It’s usually found in the shape of wheels of about 6 kg. Confusingly, it is both the name of the cheese and the name of the dish.
A dish indigenous to Switzerland, the Raclette cheese round is heated, either in front of a fire, or by a special machine, then scraped onto diners’ plates. The word raclette derives from the French word racler, meaning “to scrape”, a reference to the fact that the melted cheese must be scraped onto the plate.
It’s partners in cheesy crime are usually small firm potatoes, gherkins, pickled onions and sometimes ham.
In Swiss canton Valais raclette is typically served with tea or other warm beverages. Another popular option is to serve raclette with white wine, such as the traditional Savoy wine. Locals caution consuming other drinks with raclette, suggesting that they will cause the cheese to harden in the stomach, leading to indigestion.
Foodie cousin: Fondue
Where can I strEAT it: Kappacasein Borough Market (Nearest tube: London Bridge)
Recipe to make it at home: From The Hairy Bikers