Food For Thought: Street Food

There is no better way to discover the soul of a country than to eat your way around the landscape and embrace the local food.

There is no better way to discover the soul of a country than to eat your way around the landscape and embrace the local food. I once met a person who while on vacation in Bangkok, only ate pasta at their hotel due to a fear of what would be on offer in the bustling streets below. One could argue, why travel? What’s the point of visiting a country if you can’t taste what life is like for the people who call it home? For me, discovering new cities is all about the food and the people that line the streets serving it. Street food instantly makes most of us think of Asia and the food served on the lively streets of India but in fact, in one form or another, street food is present in all cities around the world. The abundance of eels in the River Thames during the 18th century were put to good use with the creation of the original street food of London, the humble pot of jellied eel. Due to its popularity, mainly in the east end of London it started the eel, pie and mash revolution. However, the demand for jellied eels has since significantly declined, resulting in only a handful of small vendors still serving this signature British street food. Wieners graced the shores of America in the 1800s with the influx of European immigrants and one of the most famous American street foods was to follow. Wieners were sold from Dog Wagons all along the eastern coast of America and with the addition of a bun and condiments the humble wiener is now the iconic American hotdog. Would a trip to the Big Apple be complete without one? Large shallow pans full of chickpea batter are baked in wood ovens all along the Côte d’Azur and are enjoyed by the locals from Nice to Pisa. The variations along the coast highlight the local produce found in abundance; thinly sliced artichokes or onions, wild rosemary and in its home town Genoa served with crispy whitebait. There is no doubt that food is a universal way of connecting and although sometimes confronting, once embraced is an amazing way to break down cultural barriers. Forget the restaurants when in a new city, hit the streetsand find out what the locals are eating.

Socca Recipe

This is an excellent gluten free dish for warm summer lunches. Top the chickpea crepes with any salad of your choosing but tomato and mozzarella is a particularly delicious combination. Ingredients • 1 Cup chickpea flour (organic does make a difference) • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil • 1 ¼ Cup of water • Salt Method 1. In a large bowl combine the chickpea flour, olive oil and a large pinch of salt. 2. Whisk in the water until you have a consistency similar to pouring cream. 3. Cover the batter and leave in the refrigerator for six hours or, if possible, overnight. 4. Heat a crepe or non-stick pan with shallow sides to a medium heat. 5. Spray with olive oil spray or add a tiny amount of olive oil 6. Add a ladleful of the batter to the pan and tilt to evenly coat the pan. 7. When bubbles come to the surface and it starts to shrink away from the pan around the sides, it is ready to turn. 8. Cook for a further three-to-five minutes until slightly golden brown on both sides. 9. The first one never works so have a taste and check the seasoning, adjust as required. 10. Eat warm with a light sprinkling of sea salt and cracked pepper or serve with a light salad.

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