The first part in a call-to-arms against food truck pandering
By Alejandro Ramos Editor-In-Chief
Street food. Whether it was after a concert or during a road trip, I’m sure most of you have gotten a bite to eat from a truck or a cart on the side of the road. Chances are it was hot and greasy but hit the spot just right for only a couple of bucks.
Unfortunately, there’s a disconcerting trend that’s ruining street food for everyone everywhere.
Chefs across the nation are messing with the recipes of beloved classics — tacos, burritos, burgers, nachos, and more — to make them their own. The results?
Expensive bastard children that betray the blue-collar values of street food and cater to white-collar hipsters in search of a meal that’ll satisfy their need to look cool.
For chefs, it comes down to either making really good food or food that just looks really good.
The former tends to stick to simple and minimal ingredients that make their meals taste good while the latter tends to focus on making dishes that are pleasing to the eyes.
Most food trucks and carts focus on making really good food. These being the ones that people tend to go past while they’re driving through a “bad” part of town.
Unfortunately, these don’t come to mind when people talk about eating street food.
People tend to prefer the vendors that have flashy trucks and carts, cute and colorful logos, and dishes they share on social media for approval of their friends.
There’s nothing wrong with either of these. Both styles of street food have their quirks that make them great.
That said, the fact that most people tend to go for aesthetically pleasing trucks and food says a lot about our society. It shows that we don’t really like “street” food as much as we say we do.
We like the idea of it but we’re not willing to go into the “bad neighborhoods”. Or engage with the people within those communities to eat authentic street food.
Street food is great. I doubt anyone would deny that. Sure, it’s not exactly fancy or sophisticated but it’s not supposed to be.
It’s the food of the people. It’s for those that come home tired and defeated from toiling away at work.
It’s for those that just want a quick pick-me-up after a night on the town.
There’s no reason it should be fancy or expensive.
Don’t let it become something it isn’t.