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Street Food

I'm interested in hearing about cities with growing food cart presence. I live in Portland, OR and am definitely seeing a growing trend in the number of food carts that are popping up. I used to live in NYC, where street food is prolific. But, other than the obvious cities, I'd love to find out where else you're seeing that trend. I've heard that Austin, TX has a pretty good street food scene. And I was struck when travelling cross country at the number of food carts in Madison, WI, of all places. I've travelled globally in the last year, to Morocco and Mexico, where street food is definitely part of the daily grind. It would be interesting to find out the trends here in the U.S.

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  1. Well, it's been my experience that the vast majority of 'street food' served here in the U.S. is hot dogs served in their many variations. Ethnic street food can often be found in ethnically diverse parts of metropolitan cities I would imagine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: crt

      Right. But I would like to think that we're becoming more imaginative than the hot dog. It seems to me that if street food is in fact becoming more popular in certain cities (such as in Portland, OR where I live) that there is a segment of the population that is interested in eating at these sorts of establishments. Let me know.

    2. New York's got a ton of different kinds, but my fave is Moishe's Falafel in Midtown Manhattan.

      1. If you can pursue your interest in Street Food overseas, I would highly recommend that you pay a visit to Taiwan - a tiny island with glorious street food culture, be it day markets or night markets - you can find good eats on every street corner!

        2 Replies
        1. re: formosalily

          In Sonoma/Napa, we have taco trucks....they make great tacos and burritos during the week then make "specialty" items, like tamales, on Sunday. Also there's a good Mexican butcher in Sonoma that grills halved chickens on Sundays.God, it's soo good.

          1. re: formosalily

            I SO miss guo tieh!!!!!!! Nothing, but nothing beats them in Taiwan. They are open-ended dumplings that are crispy ont eh bottom and amazingly pork-y ont he inside. Add a little hot chile paste and eat. My sister-in-law introduced me to the, They are now a daily ritual whenever we go back.
            My wife is a fan of BBQ'ed chicken feet. Never really got into those.
            My father in law goes for the sauasge on a stick (with a little head of garlic on top).

          2. Here in Vancouver, Japadog (Japanese-style hotdogs-- We of course have regular hotdogs all over town) and the Richmond Night Market food hawker stalls in the summertime. Richmond has truly excellent Asian food.

            I'd love to see taco trucks here.

            1. Chicago has plenty of Latino vendors hawking their wares in Spanish. I think few children in the more working-class neighborhoods of the Northwest Side could escape the allure of the paletas vendor or the women standing outside the L station selling hot, messy and dripping with flavor ears of elotes.

              1. I know NY and other citys have pretty good street food carts but the best has to be Phili. I've gotten the best and the widest variety of food from lunch wagons there. There is a spot near/in drexel campus that has a line of food trucks that sell some phenominal stuff. Also near the train station you can find my favorite food truck that serves really good carribean food (oxtail is consistantly good).

                1. Wow, before I even read your post I was going to mention the cities where I did my BA and my PhD - Portland, and Madison! I am always gobsmacked at the variety of carts in Portland; that lot near the Galleria is street food nirvana, so much variety. Madison, for those unfamiliar with it, has many vendors on the library mall on the uni campus, and every year they have a competition to determine who gets licences to sell their, with a priority on offering diverse cuisines. It's a spectacle.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: John Manzo

                    Do you know who holds the competition? Is it the city? I loved the carts in Madison. They were all painted bright colors and really well spaced out.

                  2. I live in Chicago and I wouldn't say are share of street vendors is too prolific, minus the occasional hot dog cart in the city.

                    But, I did just come back from a trip to The Netherlands and Belgium and they love their street food over there. Particularly, the grotemarkts (great markets) have huge selections of food carts to grab a bite from. The funny thing is, they ALL have the same thing!