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Apr 15, 2014 07:36 AM

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

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: c oliver

      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. 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?

      1. Austin, Texas with its extraordinary fleet of food trucks.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Virginian

          Thanks Virginian. Austin looks really promising too!

        2. 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

              Yup, Portland was my first thought as well

              1. re: enbell

                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

                  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

                    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

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

                    1. re: SNAPCaroline

                      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.

                2. 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

                    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.