Street food’s popularity is continuing to skyrocket, and it’s easy to see what makes this type of food a crowd favorite. Quick and convenient, street food often provides a simple, accessible way for customers to experience unique ethnic cuisines.
Because many food truck operators celebrate ingredients and foods that are off the beaten path, patrons tend to view their offerings as cutting edge, according to a recent issue of Datassential’s FoodBytes e-Gazette. Datassential goes on to say that many street food vendors are “bringing more ethnic flavors and items onto their menus than non-ethnic, brick and mortar restaurants.”
While some of the global flavors found in street food might be new to consumers, some menus also contain ingredients they’re quite familiar with. In some cases, these components have long been included in ethnic cuisines.
For example, pork has been used for centuries in Mexican and Spanish cooking in dishes such as tacos prepared “al pastor” and Iberian pork sausage. Attack of the Killer Carnitas, a food truck serving the Los Angeles area, incorporates pork into its menu by including carnitas (pork that is braised, then sautéed) in all but one of the dishes it offers.
Additionally, pork—particularly pork belly—is featured prominently in traditional Chinese, Korean and other Asian cuisines. Fun Buns NYC, a food truck serving New York City, features a pork belly bun or baguette topped with pickled mustard greens, crushed sugar peanuts and cucumber.
Datassential notes that many restaurateurs could benefit from a little street-food inspiration, even if they don’t operate food trucks. Street food’s inventiveness and its natural fit with ethnic cuisine make it an easy entry point into the overall global flavors trend.