Street Food and Food on the Go
When I was brought into the Fiesta of Flavor project I had no idea it would be this exciting, live food demo’s, training classes, multiple vendors all over the place (indoors and outdoors) as well as games, chef’s pitching their talents against each other in live 30 minute rounds. It kind of makes your head run 1,000 miles an hour thinking this is amazing and there is so much to get involved with over the three days. But more to the point it really made me think about food, food culture and what food is to my stomach, and how does that differ from anyone here.
I have always had a passion for cooking and eating, however I must be frank I am relatively impatient when it comes to eating in a restaurant. That doesn’t mean I decide to hop-on-down to the nearest unhealthy fast food joint, but I want it all as soon as possible hahaha.
So really and truly what are my options instead? Well if you open up an internet browser and Google “quick food”, “fast food”, “food in the go” you come up with a plethora of answers and options, trust me when I say there is literally not enough time in your life to view all the possibilities. This lead me to wonder why for people who just want to eat we don’t just continue to do hand to hand food that is tasty, well presented and still incorporates our local flavours and the good old home cooked favourites.
Street food and food on the go deserves people’s attentions especially in a busy metropolis such as Lagos, Nigeria. Most people living here will understand when I say “We need 25th hour in all of hour days, just to achieve 1 thing”. So why aren’t there more outlets for someone to grab a sandwich, grab that all meat burger, grab that seafood or a simple salad when we don’t have time. Now don’t misunderstand what I am saying I think it is all good and well that I have a food “understanding” having had the opportunity to live abroad and experience these simple pleasures which we take for granted elsewhere (until we return home that is), but what about my fellow man and woman here who should have the opportunity to taste some Korean BBQ, Turkish Grilled Meat, Chinese Dim Sum the list goes on and on.
There is an insurmountable amount of taste combinations to try with hand-held food here and I think we need to be receptive to trying out nice and new flavours in Lagos at least. Live on the wild side and grab a burger that is beef, but not cooked in stew or in a soup, feast on some fish that isn’t prepared in pepper soup or fried to death in most cases. Learn to experience different textures and smells that we aren’t used to, and at the same time enjoy the buzz around street food and food on the go, It’s fun, it’s fast, it can be healthy or un-healthy so I give you that decision to make on your own, it can be a total disaster, but nothing beats that rush of walking past a street corner or park or van on the side of the road and experiencing that aroma that lifts your stomach up and places a pillow underneath her and says “Try Me”.
The definition of Street Food by www.heavy.vom – “Street Food: Yum-Yums Sold Where Cars Go or People Walk”, I think we deserve to treat ourselves every day with some fascinating and interesting combinations that young budding Chef’s or Home Cook’s (turning a passion into a career) decide to drum up for us to try. Exploring food has been a passion of mine for years, going back to my brothers teenage experiments of blending chocolate into ketchup for a sauce (which today I can most certainly live without), but with the right strange combinations of other flavours he may have been onto a Eureka moment… “who knows”
Pushing the boundaries of food on a basic level and sometimes quite complicated gourmet food is helping Chef’s with lowering the cost of opening a conventional restaurant and allows them to practice all sorts of scintillating types of food, or just remixing a classic such as in our case has Suya been changed in however many years it has been present or available to us in Nigeria. Street Food for us in Nigeria is like the Big Bang, we are waiting for those particles and atoms to collide and produce some unbelievable combinations of inspiration, birth of new food, a birth of talent, like watching the first animals and humans to walk the Earth, and I for one am looking forward to watching this space and seeing what people decide to come up with in the next few years.
The Fiesta of Flavor food festival has given us all an opportunity to view young talents operating in what would appear to be a street food setting, but I encourage every stand and I encourage you to have these very talented and risk taking Chef’s to wow the country and you even more by hitting the streets and cornering the lunchtime markets, and clawing back the right to eat good, hygienic and tasty food outside of a “fast food joint”, and even if it is Jollof Rice and Stew, I challenge Nigerian Chef’s to show us how you can remix our classic dish (and I know you are all thinking “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”) and give us something fascinating and new.
On that note I sign off and give you my definition of street food. Street food is the simplest form of perfection in one to five bites, you are mesmerized, toyed with and tickled with every single one of those bites which makes you keep coming back for more.
The Corner Food Truck