Are we in the middle of a street food renaissance?
Tuesday, October 02, 2018
You can usually trust California to lead innovation and change. The Golden State legalized street food vending in September, a move that may soon be reflected elsewhere. Street food has been a fixture of the state’s landscape for decades.
Cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco are known for their food trucks and eclectic street foods, popular with both locals and tourists. But it was not an easy road to popularity for these businesses.
While food carts and, later, food trucks have been the mainstays of Californian street corners, vendors have had to pay fines for illegally conducting business. Some even faced misdemeanor criminal charges and the threat of deportation.
Activists and city officials, especially in cities like Los Angeles, have pushed to legalize street food vending for years now. They have sought to raise awareness about the plight of street vendors and help these microbusiness owners.
California’s decree heralds a new era for street food. Two decades ago, street food probably meant a greasy burger at a late-night joint. But, we are going through a cultural sea-change and a street food renaissance is at the forefront of culinary innovation.
From celebrity chefs to social media stars, there are a considerable number of shows focused on exploring street foods of the world. Cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are homes to many of these.
So, what’s propelling this growth? It’s a new generation of foodies. They often buy street food, and they like exploring different kinds of cuisine but are not hung up on fancy restaurants. They also feel that street food, like many hole-in-the-wall eateries, offers a more exciting, authentic and high-quality style of food.
An exciting aspect of this trend is that you get to taste not just foods from different parts of the world, but also their regional variations. Another tendency in this area is to merge different cuisines that excites our palates and create new fusion dishes. Globalization and diversity work hand in hand to create a melting pot of flavors.
Now, fine dining restaurants are rushing to mimic the flavors of street food, and retail brands are trying to do the same as well. They are bringing the most iconic street food dishes to their diners and consumers.
With their street food-inspired products and dishes, these businesses aim to tap the high-value foodie audience. Street food innovations also include creating an outdoor street food market indoors, such as within a mall or grocery store. The vibrant atmosphere will give diners an open-air food market experience without being outdoors.
Hotel restaurants are not too far behind. Radisson Red, a lifestyle hotel brand, announced the opening of its upcoming second U.S. location in Portland, Oregon. One of its restaurant will offer guests a menu inspired by global street foods.
Cities and towns that don't sport a line of vendors selling street food every day are not letting their interest in street food wane. Food truck festivals are organized on a regular basis to satiate their cravings for exotic and comfort foods.
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