STREET FOOD- A BINOCULAR TO CULTURE

Somewhere I read, ” Food is the gateway to learn about the culture of a place”. The international chain of fast foods or restaurants, will not give you the feel of the culture or taste of that country or place.  Street Food is one of those travel experiences one can find in cities and towns all around the world. It is convenient and cheap, and it will create far-reaching impacts on you. An advise to a bride goes like this” If you want to bring your husband to your side, cook good food for him.”

Street food is simple, delicious and gives an opportunity to sample some local cuisine. Evenings are the best time to have a stroll around the city/ town or village gully’s to get the best out of it. People may doubt its cleanliness and hygiene. But as long as the kiosk is crowded and the food is fast moving you can count on its dependability. Joining locals around the bustling little street stalls can open doors for memorable happy hours.

During a short visit to Sri Lanka, myself and my wife Mary, met a couple from Italy while having food in one evening from a street vendor. The couple gave us every detail of Tuscany and in the very next year, we landed over there. They told us not to miss tasting panino with prosciutto, salami or mortadella. Also porchettaro ( Roasted Pork).

The local cuisine is different from our regular food. Always make it a point to have your dinner in a local restaurant or from a street vendor. There you can mingle with local people, know more about them, listen to their music, and enjoy their local culture.

We love to go to villages rather than going to a city. When we visited Italy, we didn’t go to Rome, Vatican etc but spend most of our time in Tuscany and its surrounding villages. Even in the Czech Republic, we traveled deep into the villages and had a taste of locally cooked port knee. In Switzerland, we enjoyed the taste of Cheese fondue. Whether you’re a typical foodie or not, you may find that your search for great street food turned out to be among the best experiences of your trip.

You will find a variety of street foods more in Warmer countries. Local markets are best places to wander and you can taste different foods from stalls to stalls, both hot and cold. In some countries, experiencing street food means experiencing their culture as well.

If you are bored of eating the same things day in and day out, give these traditional breakfasts from Kerala a try. Travel and Leisure’ the leading travel magazine in the world has ranked Kerala’s traditional breakfast among the Best Breakfast in the World. The magazine has declared ‘Puttu ( Steamed rice powder) and Kadala’as the Best Breakfast dish in the world. Other combinations include Appan and Stew, Rise noodles, Dosa ( Pan Cakes made out of rice and dal) Idly, Kerala Parotta. All these are available in local restaurants. You may google and find the variety of street foods available in each country.

It always advisable to have a little study on how other people eat; i.e. some are with hands, some with spoon and fork, others with chopsticks. Otherwise, you will be a ‘showpiece’  and the food will go all around except in your mouth.

Once you know what to look for, pay attention to what locals eat and when, then you are on your way to successful, delicious meals that serve as experiences as well as dinner.

Today street food has become an art, a synonym for tradition, something both genuine and authentic.  It has become quickly one of the best ways to guarantee eating real local and traditional food, with local and fresh ingredients in a familiar and friendly atmosphere. It is a binocular to view the culture of a country, closely.

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