Nezasa’s destinations offer a wide range of delicious food, local dishes and exotic snacks. Every traveler knows that food is an essential part of a country’s culture. This is why we focus on street food in our destinations Vietnam, India, Thailand, and China in this article.
When thinking of Baguette, Paris will come to one’s mind immediately. French colonisation brought “the long thin loaf of bread” to Vietnam where it remained to play an important role in Vietnamese cuisine up to this day. Bánh mì, which is also referred to as “Saigon Baguette” is Vietnam’s street food number one.
Bánh mì are most commonly sold by street stalls and are offered with a wide range of toppings for every customer to choose individually. The Vietnamese favourites are peppers, lettuce, carrots, white radish, cucumber, ham, shredded meat, and mayonnaise. To get the true Vietnamese flavour, you don’t decide on just a few toppings, but you rather combine most of them in one sandwich. A sandwich costs between 12’000 and 30’000 VNĐ, which is around 0.60$ and 1.40$. This rather low price for Vietnamese people certainly adds to the popularity of the “Saigon Baguette”.
Street cuisine in India has a long tradition. Numerous vendors have been selling Indian street food for several generations. These roadside eateries are called “Thattukadas” and are widely spread across this huge country. Indian street food is especially known for its delicious snacks, one of them being chaat.
There are countless variations of chaat, but all of them are based on fried dough. Typically, it is combined with potato, chickpeas, spices, Indian chilli, fresh coriander and yogurt. Papri Chaat (also Padpi Chaat) is a very tasteful variation of this dish.
For Papri Chaat, you have a cracker (papri/padpi), add chaat (mashed boiled potato, boiled chickpeas), one or two spoons of your favourite chutney, Curd (Indian cheese) and or sweetened yogurt (Dahi). On top of that, you sprinkle some freshly chopped onion and so-called Omapodi (fried chickpea and rice flour dough). And if you wish, some coriander leaves. Sounds complicated, looks delicious, tastes even better!
Thai food is amongst the most popular and widest spread cuisines worldwide. Many Thai dishes are served in restaurants all around globe. Only few people, however, know that their origins lie in the streets of Bangkok. Most of them are either noodle dishes, fried rice, satay or curries.
Pad Thai is one of my personal favourites! This stir-fried rice noodle dish is served in countless varieties. You combine the noodles with fish sauce, lime juice, garlic, egg, chicken / seafood / tofu, and, very important, chopped peanuts. Delicious!
There is an interesting historical fact about this dish. During the 1930s and 40s, its popularity was stimulated by the government, seeking to reduce rice consumption in Thailand. Because the Thai economy was extremely dependent on exporting rice, the Thai rice consumption should be cut down to increase rice exports. Since then, the Pad Thai has been one of Thailand’s national dishes and has gained worldwide popularity.
Chinese people have their own expression for street food: Xiaochi. It translates to “small eats” and stands for a huge variety of different meals and snacks. Xiaochi are usually sold in markets or street stalls and are highly local. Different regions or even markets have become famous for their typical Xiaochi.
When thinking of Kebab, China usually does not come to one’s mind. Chuanr (or Chuan) is a Chinese Kebab and originated from the north-western province of Xinjiang. In recent years it spread across the whole country and has become a very popular street food especially in Beijing. Chuanr is part of the Chinese Islamic cuisine, which is influential in western China due to its large Muslim population.
Like most Kebabs, Chuanr are small pieces of meat on a skewer which is traditionally roasted over charcoal. In earlier days, a Chuanr was made of lamb but with its increasing popularity chicken, beef, pork and even seafood varieties have become more common. The meat is generally pretty spicy due to its marinade of cumin seeds, dried pepper and sesame. In more touristy areas, one can even find Chuanr with exotic animals like scorpions, bugs and other insects!
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