If you believe that street eats guarantee only unhealthy and boring food, then it’s time you fine-tuned yourself.
Street foods these days are getting past the predictable vegetarian menu, and becoming adventurous as they play with different ingredients while putting together some lip smacking food items. Love them or hate them but you definitely cannot turn a blind eye to a plateful of steaming juicy savory delight. It’s either love at first sight or it may take a while before you grow fond of those singing flavors and delicate textures. But once you get past your inhibitions, there is no dearth to discover and cheer about. Give your day a joyous spin with the punch of comfort foods that are packed with nutrients, have the knock to ignite your metabolism and give an edge to your diet regimen.
Besides it’s cheap, quick, accessible and tasty. It just couldn’t get any better than that.
You’re probably thinking…street food, is it safe? You’re not alone. Little apprehensions start doing rounds in your head. Is that infamous ‘Delhi belly” really true? What’s the worst that could happen? Food poisoning? Are road side eateries safe? If the food is cooked right, are all the bacteria really dead? Whatever… if you are not much of a foodie and listen to those voices in your head then you are missing out on some damn shiok food. “shiok-ness” of street food is pretty consistent and envied even by the five star dining restaurants. And the fact that it’s wholesome and cheap totally brings up the level of satisfaction. Sink your teeth into when you get the chance and you will agree that smorgasbord of street foods is better than any guidebook to safe snacking.
Think of a rollicking platter of butter fried bread (Pav) sporting lightly spiced sweet hillocks of finely chopped tomatoes (bhaji) on downtown Mumbai streets. Think of fried mantou (Chinese steamed bun) with chilli crab sauce on the wayward lanes of Shanghai – similar concepts but way cheaper and both packed with finger licking good flavors. Imagine the best curry in the world, laced with a dollop of butter, onions and lime to enrich your culinary experience and freshen up the party. Then what if you chance upon a buttery pan-fried bun that soaks up all its flavors like a good sponge, and bring all the goodness to your mouth intact. This is what miracles of street food are made of.
But street food doesn’t just mean an easy way to fill our bellies. It does two things for us- entertain us and create a healthy public space about the same time. It’s just as much about theatrics; from the fizz of a softly poured soda and the smell of mint while walking past a line of juice sellers, to the clanging sound of a steel masher of a pav bhaji stall to the soft buzz of people talking while standing in line at your favorite chicken roll joint.
Think of food and a faint tingle runs through your taste buds! A hot seitan roast stuffed with shitake and leeks could make you salivate. The idea of hot roasted peanuts would turn you ‘snacky’. Street food, then, is not just about food—it’s about the experience. And street side joints are ‘no strings attached ‘ places for public mingling where you could have conversations that give vent to your emotions so much better than those water coolers in your Office; probably the best place to take a break from those boring excel sheets! The joint near your college where instant noodles work as brunch for those with lighter pockets and even the excuse for a romantic interlude, are after all a busy public space- open to all at all times. You may not know the person digging into egg sandwich next to you or sipping tea while reading a newspaper for hours, you not even glance over to a guy rushing through his chicken rice before hurrying off to Office, but it’s just as easy to strike a conversation with them- and no holds barred!
Curry-licious and appetizing -Comfort foods that bring layers of happiness to your plate and are actually healthy!
People all over the world, however much they love meat, like veggies, greens and fruits adore snacking. Figure this out!! It helps if you interact more with your neighbours, but even if you don’t, you still learn a lot by frequenting street side eateries and exploring local food. Sometimes you just get lucky and get to taste what even mocks five star dining.
With vegetarianism and veganism no longer considered amateurish, a whole new genre of street eateries are now serving fusion food that could make even the most resilient of foodie go weak at knees. And not all of them run off the mill. Few of these novel ones serve mock meats (ones that have the texture of meat, but are made from mushrooms and/or vegetables), while others tow the line by having a wide list of comfort food on their menu and could get your favorite meal to your doorstep. Both ways, you get the best bang for your buck in the bargain!
So, if this happens to be one of those days when you crave for something that tastes bold and is preferably veggie, it’s time you took a stroll down that cobbled street right next to that chaotic weekly market and you will get hit by that mesmerizing smell of potato croquette simmering in butter over a large flat griddle-the patties that are deep-fried to create a crispy outer layer while still remaining melt-in-your-mouth-soft on the inside. A little further down and you could lose yourself drooling over the king of street food- the mouthwatering spicy roadside Momos. Running riot at roadside stalls to food centers and food courts in all hot-shot Malls, these tangy spicy red sauce and steaming hot dumplings loaded with veggies or chicken are simply irresistible. No matter how fussy you are about street foods, but when it comes to these spicy delights almost every day temptation becomes difficult to reign in.
But which one of this colorful fusion of flavors dishes is truly healthy and tasty? No worries–you are not the only one who gets intimidated easily. There are so many people who fancy street foods but occasionally run short on ideas to match their diet regimen.
If you are on the run and hungry and a quick bite is your only choice, then reach out for some mouth watering street foods without worrying about your waist line. These are not only fast but usually hit the spot each time. Besides, they are cheap, tasty and above all not a diet minefield!!
Here are 10 such finger foods that are refreshing and healthy and could let you escape an expensive restaurant each time you rush out for a bite! These must try amazingly addictive street foods are real delights and could actually keep your diet plan intact. So, dig in, experience the sips and slurps of flavors and ‘ruin’ yourself like never before.
No eggs? No problem. This easy vegan French toast is a delicacy made out of almond milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple, nutritional yeast, and a little bit of flour. Chia seeds aren’t just a thickening agent in this breakfast classic. Packing in a nutritional punch of proteins, calcium, fiber and omega 3s, this fluffy yet chewy nosh becomes irresistible once you top the toast with peanut butter, blueberries and sugar syrup or an airy coconut whipped cream!
Avocado melt sandwich with Coconut bacon
This scrumptious avocado melt sandwich is filled with roasted red peppers and a zesty cilantro-lime avocado mash. Packed with creamy avocado and savory coconut this vegan sandwich is crispy and grilled to perfection! Mashed avocado browned in a skillet not only gives this sandwich its “melty” factor, but beef up its nutritional value with fiber, potassium, and monounsaturated fats. ‘Coconut bacon’ (essentially seasoned and toasted coconut flakes) add the crunch and morphs the dish into a unique and wholesome eat. Eat it not to miss the fun!
Chickpea flour omelet
This vegan, soy free chickpea omelet is one lip smacking dish that is loaded with protein, dietary fibre and nutrients. A silky chickpea flour batter once flavored with ginger, garlic, spinach, onion, tomatoes and bell peppers turns into a crispy on the outside but buttery inside pancake when slow fried on a flat griddle that resembles an omelet and makes a great vegetarian option for those who do not consume eggs.
Looking no less than a greasy-spoon staple, this fresh, veggie-packed street food is actually gluten free and masquerades beaten eggs so well. Get it customized with anything from spinach and mushrooms to onions and tomatoes. Sure, this doesn’t taste exactly like a typical omelet, but with its subtle crunchiness and savory bite, this is a tasty lunch time treat in its own right. This could be your eat if you have got 20 minutes and no more for your nosh.
Nothing cries comfort more than a platter of this ultimate vegan brunch dish that proves that you really don’t need dairy to glue all the ingredients together. With greens, tomato slices, tempeh bacon and spices all cooked to perfection, the dish is drenched with a dairy free hollandaise sauce (which is an emulsion of egg yolk, melted butter, and lemon juice usually seasoned with salt, and white or cayenne pepper).You can have it topped with a slice of avocado for a pop of green or a little bit of homemade cashew “cheese” for a healthy fat. Enjoy this quintessential street side brunch delight when you are running short on time and yet crave for a meaty bite.
Vegan BLT Sandwich
Thinly sliced eggplant masks so well as bacon for a meat-free version of this deli classic!! The rest comes together quickly and easily. Mayo or hummus on the toasted bread slices ride with one piece of eggplant or coconut bacon. Onion and tomato make up for a sandwich that’s forgiving and flexible, but still so, so good. This BLT is a delicious simple lunch or dinner for those who are always on the rush, half-walking half-running and at best could only stop at the next food cart for a quick morsel.
Mashed Chickpea salad sandwich
Nothing beats a simple but fulfilling sandwich for lunch and this one- reminiscent of a brown-bag staple, more than fits the bill for it’s cheap, easy to reach and tops the menu in most street side eateries. The low-glycemic chickpeas are mashed with hummus or tahini, carrots and celery for a filling that’s both smooth and crunchy at the same time. If you fancy satiety, ask for an extra generous layer between slices of thick whole-wheat bread for a hearty finger licking good midday meal.
At street stalls, you’ll find staggering variety of kebabs that are aflame with tangy spices like nutmeg and cloves. You could try those most favored satin-soft kebabs made from lamb pounded with lentils that’s boiled, then ground with onions and mint, shaped into patties, and finally pan fried. Be wary though!! These flavor bombs don’t go easy with your diet plan and could bulk you up in no time.
Other most indulgent varieties are an ingenious combination of grounded veggies, seasoned, delicately spiced, griddle fired and served wrapped with whole wheat paratha lightly oiled and crunch fried off the back of an inverted tava (griddle). Served with mint and tamarind dip and spicy pickles, this wrap tastes heavens and wouldn’t let you stop at one.
Surly Chipotle burritos are bae, your favorite snack and all that, but have you ever bitten into a Kathi roll in the middle of lunch hour on the side of a busy intersection? Kathi rolls might be considered a close equivalent of a burrito or Frankie or even the shawarma. The flavor of a Kathi roll is truly a savory sensation with its flat bread exterior enveloping tender pieces of seasoned and spiced soy chunks or paneer or chicken in addition to toppings from scrambled eggs to mixed raw/cooked vegetables. The final garnish before everything is wrapped up, is a variety of sauces, a squeeze of lemon or lime and a sprinkle of snack spices. Every time you sink your teeth into this mélange of flavors you get to taste a bit of culinary nirvana.
If you could remember that one deep-fried dish your mom used to make all the time growing up that you watched from the sidelines, salivating as you eyed those mouth watering sauce dripping oomph pieces, waiting for them to cool enough to gorge on, you are somewhat close to the flavors this dish carries.
Originating as an Indian street comfort food, this vegetarian version of Sloppy Joe is a blend of mashed vegetables in a tomato-based gravy cooked on a tava (flat griddle) and served with a buttered bread roll. A spicy mashed vegetable dish, served piping hot with a dollop of butter, diced red onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime; this is a perfect finger food for anytime anywhere snacking. Variations could carry ground meat and/or paneer.
The Tibb’s Frankie is an egg-washed paratha that’s tightly wrapped around craggy pieces of chicken or mutton if you love meat and paneer, or vegetables, spangled with onions, chilies, chutneys, and the secret Tibb’s spice mix that elevates it all. It has much in common with the Kathi roll, but meat in the latter comes wrapped in a paratha of refined wheat flour, while Frankie uses whole wheat and the masala mix is wetter than that used for Kathi roll.
Off beat yet an appetizing delicacy meant exclusively for you!
All this bounty means that a truly comprehensive catalog of street food could actually fill up several encyclopedias about the vibrant street food culture around the world. There’s just so much to experience across the street with so many food options! These ten delicacies are merely like skimming through one single page of a colossal street food catalogue! There’s so many more delicious eats that stall holders will yell at you to – “Take it, and Go”.
Whatever…fuss-free and flavorful, street side snacking is an adventure and it sure makes that rush to food cart all the more satisfying for a tummy that’s been on a roll for a while
Besides who would want to miss a crunchy road side re-treat to tummy-licious food anyways?