What is Street Food?

So, what is street food? This is a very good question! I was sure I had written this before, but it turns out was not so concise, nor for this website.

I’ll therefore don my Street Food Guy Hat and define it

After all I am one of the top 5 Street Food Blogs don’t you know.

Table of Contents

  • How to define what is street food?
  • What’s the difference between street food and fast food?
  • How popular is street food?
  • Tell me about the history of street food!
  • Why is street food so popular?
  • What is street food to the street food guy?
  • What is Street Food, a summary!

How to define what is street food?

Street food is cuisine that is served from a vendor, food cart, or person strolling around. It can be found in city centers on side streets, at fairs, from carts, or even booths.

This is a general analysis as in places like China, Vietnam, and Cambodia, but to name a few, restaurants will be open plan with seating outside. You could also sit inside. We would consider these to be street food.

Essentially you do not have to be 100% on the street to count as street food.

What is street food
Genuine street food guy

What’s the difference between street food and fast food?

There are clear differences, similarities and definite crossovers here. Fast Food tends to be of the franchise variety, you know KFC and the like. But you also have things like Fish and Chips, or a kebab, which can fall into bother categories. Most street food is fast food, but not all fast food is street food! Deep man!

To read about the correct way to eat fish and chips click here .

To read which countries do and don’t have McDonalds click here .

pukka pies
A pie can be fast food, or street food

However you define it though, there are an estimated 2.5 billion people that eat street food on a daily basis. Street food is huge business, but on a small scale. It not only feeds the masses, but also provides income, particularly in poorer countries for a hell of a lot of people.

Tell me about the history of street food!

Street food is no new thing! There are records of street vendors selling fish dishes going back to Ancient Greece. Since then it has been mainstay for every civilization from the Aztecs onwards. The aforementioned fish and chips were invented by a Jewish man in London and was initially very much a street food.

Even burgers and hot-dogs are thanks to street vendors in worlds best democracy of US and A.

What is street food
Fish and chips!

There are so many reasons why street food is popular and indeed so good, but there are a few main points that define street food.

  1. Cost of street food – Street food tends to be cheaper than dining in a restaurant and often times even cheaper than dining at home. Less staff, no building and often throw away cutlery. To many street food might be cool, but to many it is an economic necessity. n may rich places, such as Macao street food has been my saviour.
  2. Convenience – Much in the way fast food dominates in developed countries, in the developing world street food often fills that gap. Quite simply it is a quick cheap and easy way to get sustenance.
  3. Street food is the best way to learn about a countries cuisine – Go to any central square that has lots of street food. You will find locals surrounded by all the best different foods they have. One can easily stroll around trying different things form different vendors, whilst indulging in a healthy bit of local interaction. For me anyway this cannot be beat.
  4. Street food is raw! – Not in the sense of not cooked. Although I have had my share of rare street food in the Pacific. It is open, it is public, it is very very real. Busy and bustling and at breakneck speed.
  5. Street food is a social affair! – I remember when I was a teacher in Xi’an and there was one BBQ joint we would go to – we refereed to it as “the office”. meat on a stick and copious amounts of (bad) Chinese beer. These are lasting memories! Street food is all about socializing.

To read about street food in the Pacific read here

To read about Snow beer click here

What is street food to the street food guy?

I have written about this previously, which you can read about here. There’s a fair bit of melancholy to it as it was directed at single person. But I’ll do the cheerier version. It is covering great, weird and wonderful foods. It is embracing culture, whilst people watching, and interaction with locals. It is socializing with friends and it is often the cause of drunkenness. These are a few of my favorite things.

What is street food
What is street food?

What is Street Food, a summary!

Street for is fast food served either on a street, or near a street. It can be from a building, a cart, a trolley, a truck, a van, a tuk-tuk, or whatever. It feeds 2.5 billion people a year. And finally it is the best way to try weird and wonderful foods, at least in my humble opinion.

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