Throughout history and across the globe street foods are foods that reflect what is simple, cheap, tasty, easily cooked and very accessible. Traditionally, street foods are small dishes that locals love to eat; It is honest, authentic food from the home and from the heart.

“Street food is food that is prepared on the street or in an outside space like a marketplace or “hawker centre.”  The food is prepared and cooked in front of you, then eaten on the spot. Portable tables and chairs are set up alongside the transportable kitchens, and everyone from business people in their fancy suits to grandmas in their p.j’s will sit down to eat together.

Asia has always had a strong street food culture. Satay from Indonesia, noodle soup from China, char kway tao from Malaysia, all bustling side by side. Everyone is there to enjoy the specialty dish of that particular food stall, but to also enjoy the atmosphere of street life. All kinds of people mixing and mingling and eating together, taking in the sights, sounds and tastes of street food and street life.

 

Back in the late 70’s, I was lucky enough to spend a year living in Singapore. This tiny country is food heaven as it lies at the crossroads of Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia & China. Its street food reflects all this and more. It’s a melting pot of some of the best food in the world.

I have to admit I only cooked at home a handful of times over that whole year! All I needed to do was walk out of my front door, call out “noodles” and someone carrying noodles, sometimes literally on their shoulders, would set up and start cooking. I remember the buzz of “Newton Circus” a very famous, but now closed “hawker centre”. By day a huge car park, but by night fall, it transformed into one of the busiest and best hawker centres in the region. It happened too that I had a new baby during this year and instead of hustling for space with a baby and a pram, I soon discovered that there were no shortage of “aunties” willing to take care of her whilst I got on with the serious business of eating.

Street food is very sociable and creates a real sense of community.

This traditional hawker style of eating has definitely spread across the world – to Australia too. Stalls coming together so you can eat a range of meals “under the one roof”.

Food trucks, market stalls, local pop ups, festivals and farmer’s markets are all venues serving the best Australian street food. These places are revolutionising fast food and championing ethical and sustainable values in the hospitality industry. They are redefining how food engages customers through real and shared experiences. 

5 reasons to eat street food:
  1. It supports small scale businesses and boosts the economy – Selling street food provides an income for those who would otherwise be unemployed. By buying from street sellers you are supporting businesses with ethical and sustainable values
  2. Price – It’s much cheaper than eating in a restaurant
  3. The food is fresher, cleaner & healthier – Because you watch it being cooked, you know exactly what goes in to it
  4. It’s authentic – It’s a fun activity to watch and a wonderful way to experience the food of the country
  5. Socialising with the locals – You get to have a conversation with the lovely people who made it for you as well as meet some new people at your shared table.  You can also try out a diverse range of street foods in the one location

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