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Best street food city in the US (other than NYC)?

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SNAPCaroline Apr 15, 2014 07:36 AM

Hi all. Currently working on a TV series about street food in different cities around the world. Which US city, other than New York, would you say has the best street food and why? We're looking for somewhere with plenty of variety and lots of home-grown treats using local ingredients.

Thanks very much in advance for your thoughts and advice!

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  1. c oliver RE: SNAPCaroline Apr 15, 2014 08:07 AM

    Could you define "street food" please? Are you talking about food trucks and sidewalk vendors?

    1 Reply
    1. re: c oliver
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      SNAPCaroline RE: c oliver Apr 15, 2014 08:21 AM

      I would tend to go with quite a broad definition so as to include as much good food as possible - street stalls and trucks; markets with prepared foods; 'holes in the wall'; food shacks and huts; informal eateries with outdoor or very basic seating; take-away venues with food that can be easily eaten on the street etc.

    2. c oliver RE: SNAPCaroline Apr 15, 2014 08:40 AM

      Thanks. Then off the top of my head, I'd say Grant Avenue, Mission Street and Clement Street in San Francisco. What about Arthur Avenue in the Bronx?

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        Virginian RE: SNAPCaroline Apr 15, 2014 10:25 AM

        Austin, Texas with its extraordinary fleet of food trucks.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Virginian
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          SNAPCaroline RE: Virginian Apr 16, 2014 02:36 AM

          Thanks Virginian. Austin looks really promising too!

        2. ChefJune RE: SNAPCaroline Apr 15, 2014 10:30 AM

          There are lots of cities with great street food, but when I saw your question my thought turned immediately to Portland, Oregon. They have a food truck culture that is truly amazing. It's possible to get almost any kind of food at any time of day at one or another of Portland's many food trucks. Amazing diversity and quality.

          7 Replies
          1. re: ChefJune
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            calumin RE: ChefJune Apr 15, 2014 12:57 PM

            I would agree with that.

            1. re: ChefJune
              enbell RE: ChefJune Apr 15, 2014 09:33 PM

              Yup, Portland was my first thought as well

              1. re: enbell
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                SNAPCaroline RE: enbell Apr 16, 2014 02:28 AM

                Thanks very much - Portland looks great! I think our challenge in the US (as it would be here in the UK) is that it could be easy to get too international, if that makes sense. (Eg we'd probably want to save Asian foods for episodes filmed in Asia so we don't end up with too much repetition)

                We'll want our presenter to be able to try some dishes that feel very local or, at the very least, very American. Would Portland have many street foods that would reflect the traditional food of this part of the US?

                1. re: SNAPCaroline
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                  calumin RE: SNAPCaroline Apr 16, 2014 01:06 PM

                  I think a challenge you may have is if you focus too much on the "American" theme you might end up with a regional focus or at least find yourself mostly in the middle of the country. Which might not be bad. But in much of America, and on the coasts especially, "American" is inherently international.

                  1. re: calumin
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                    MagicMarkR RE: calumin Apr 16, 2014 01:38 PM

                    Agreed. In my opinion, the best "street food" in the US is found in communities populated by large numbers of immigrants. This is true I think even in the middle of the country. The wrong approach would be to think of it as repetition. The better approach would be to think of it as adaptation.

                    A thought on food trucks: although literally "street" food, I have a hard time thinking of them as such --at least the ones in the SF Bay area. They are usually so over-priced for what you get, in my opinion, that the spirit of what identifies street food is somewhat lost. And if I see one more food-truck pulled pork sandwich...

                    Now, if "street" food is anything that is informal --well, good luck to you. (So I guess, even after reading through these posts, I still don't quite get what the parameters are for "street" food.)

                  2. re: SNAPCaroline
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                    Chowrin RE: SNAPCaroline Apr 16, 2014 01:09 PM

                    Pittsburgh's got a decent row along The Strip.
                    Probably makes good filming, at least.

                    1. re: SNAPCaroline
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                      jpc8015 RE: SNAPCaroline Apr 16, 2014 01:30 PM

                      A lot of what goes on in Portland is what I would consider fusion cooking. There are a lot of places that will take what is traditionally an Asian ingredient and use it in a different way. Korean tacos come to mind.

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                  cgarner RE: SNAPCaroline Apr 15, 2014 10:47 AM

                  Philadelphia - in addition to the variety of really good food trucks all over the city, we also have John's Roast Pork, DiNic's Roast Pork, all things Pork, Banh Mi, all over the damn place and each place you get it is as good or better than the last... Rival Brothers coffee! Soft Pretzels on every corner... and pizza! (Pizza's a street food, right)
                  Philadelphia has excellent pizza, at the Mom and Pop shop level all the way up to gourmet!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cgarner
                    JTPhilly RE: cgarner Apr 16, 2014 01:15 PM

                    yep an amazing variety of food trucks and walk up windows - street food is part of Philly's way of life from the working man's grease trucks to the trendy/artisan carts.

                  2. s
                    SNAPCaroline RE: SNAPCaroline Apr 16, 2014 02:12 AM

                    Thanks all for the great tips! Please do keep them coming!

                    1. s
                      SNAPCaroline RE: SNAPCaroline Apr 16, 2014 02:38 AM

                      Can anyone advise on the street food scene in Miami, by the way? I'm excited by the thought of exploring the Cuban food scene but is there much else?

                      1. hill food RE: SNAPCaroline Apr 16, 2014 02:44 AM

                        it's not a street or a city but a beach on an island near Puerto Rico.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: hill food
                          hill food RE: hill food Apr 16, 2014 06:19 PM

                          sorry, to clarify - a double line of kioskos serving up 20 kinds of pastellitos made to order, sofritos, mofongo, roast chicken, various skewers etc. (and yes if you must, burgers and pizza)

                          1. re: hill food
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                            cgarner RE: hill food Apr 18, 2014 11:32 AM

                            "pastellitos made to order, sofritos, mofongo, roast chicken, various skewers etc"

                            ... or you could just call that my own little idea of heaven.

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                          Colleenscooking RE: SNAPCaroline Apr 16, 2014 05:14 PM

                          You should check out Minneapolis. They have tons of Foods trucks, a very diverse population of Somalian, Hmong, Laos and Vietnamese as well as some awesome coal fired pizza places. If nothing else who would think all of that would be in Minnesota of all places

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                            JoeBabbitt RE: SNAPCaroline Apr 18, 2014 03:38 PM

                            Temple University in Philly is kind of famous for lousy food in the cafs & terrific food in the trucks which are all over campus. There used to be (early 80's) a Chinese food truck right outside the Psych building that had the best egg rolls ever.

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