Street Food Revolution

10 Jul

When I think of street food, my imagination conjures up memories of the street-side food sellers in Ubud (Bali), serving freshly roasted Babi Guling (roasted suckling pig with a variety of fiery spices, coconut and jackfruit) from their little portable grill usually covered with a piece of wrought iron roofing. My senses are deliciously carried away by the mix of intense varied sweet and sour smells, visual aspects of both the food and the setting of where the street seller is serving from and the noise from the street, the sizzle of the pan and the seller gabbling away in broken Indonesian-English. ‘You like? You try?’

But today I am not in Bali. I’m standing in the Purple Grape kitchen (no wrought iron roofing insight) and watching the chefs expertly prepare Coca cola duck which will be served with fragrant rice, steamed bok choi and grilled pineapple, at tonight’s event. This evening we’re serving street food, from individually dressed stalls, to guests who will be able to go to each stall and select which items they want from the wares each has to offer, served into little white take away boxes.

According to The Food People (www.thefoodpeople.co.uk), street food is consumed by a whopping 2.5 billion people per day. Over the last couple of years celebrity chefs such as Gary Rhodes, Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver have travelled further afield to get fresh ideas and incorporate street food tastes into their own recipes. This has made street food more accessible and understood, getting people to be less wary about trying foods different to what they are normally used to.

There is a real desire in London, branching out to the rest of the UK, for getting fresh, delicious food quickly for the generation on the go. Everyone wants to ‘discover’ a new taste, a hidden secret of tasty convenience, before other people cotton on to it, encouraging a boom in little independent street food sellers popping up all over the capital selling anything from Tacos to Chat, Gyros to Roti. More permanent establishments have also put down roots, such as Mexican street food restaurant Wahaca, where you can go and get your ceviche tostada (scallops and prawns tossed with diced cucumber, chilli and lime), served in the comfort of their ‘Tequila shack’ restaurants.

Whilst being a fast way to get alternative food to what restaurants and cafes can provide, it also provides an incredibly social aspect for consumers. It’s a fun way of going to get a bite to eat and provides almost an interactive experience with the food. With this in mind, you can really see why everyone wants street food at their events. Its less formal, provides unusual options to the normal canapé provisions and really gets the guests interacting with each other.

So whilst tonight’s event is not actually in an East Asian market or a Mexican Tequila shack, with street sellers competing over each other to get the guests to try their food, we’ll work our hardest to give the guests a similar experience, from the variety of street food served, to the stalls dressed in swathes of bright material and pots of spices complete with staff in traditional East Asian dress. With the scene set, the food will provide an interactive experience for the guests to really get stuck into and hopefully, for a moment they will feel that they really are in a little corner of the world, off the beaten track, discovering a hidden gem in street food.

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