To me, and this is according to my perception, street food is affordable food on the go which can be consumed as one drives, according to what we’re shamelessly proud of, walk down the street to the next job or meeting, or share with friends late at night or after midnight on the way back from the wild lavish Lebanese parties with the gorgeous girls we’re well-known for.
I’m not well-traveled, but during my three trips abroad, my favorite experience was to try street food. I wasn’t a fan of big fancy restaurants, mainly because the culinary specialties of the countries I’ve been to are popular foods that everyone has access to and loves; Rotti and egg rolls in Sri Lanka, Falafel, hummus, and knefe in Jordan, and grilled skewers and noodles soup in Thailand.
I’ve heard a lot about some food related events that are about to take place in Lebanon. And finally something happened. Three food related events with two about street food.
The first one I attended barely included any food that I would call street food, again, according to my point of view. The stands were many and the food was diverse; local Lebanese food, burgers with a twist, Mexican, Asian, and Italian. I didn’t feel like I was having street food, but rather food awkwardly consumed in a one of the lifeless districts of Beirut that is being pathetically heavily treated with electric shocks to bring it back to life. The atmosphere and spirit of the people was very positive, especially with the jazz festival musicians keeping a wonderful atmosphere, but as for the food, I was not impressed. An 8 dollar 2-tablespoon-worth bowl of gnocchi, where I felt most of the cost went to the fancy bowl and beautiful wooden forks. A 15 dollar chicken burrito that I had to wait 15 minutes for, served in a ceramic-like black plastic plate (I have to admit though that their efforts are appreciated, they were working too hard to serve the hungry crowds and they deserve some recognition despite all). I didn’t try any distinct things but these are my two cents.
After talking to one of the organizers, I was told that the festival is the launch of a weekly Street Food Market and many contacted food providers didn’t show up, especially the fava beans, boil corn, and shawarma stands; the ones that make up the REAL Lebanese street food. I’ll be visiting again and hopefully I’ll enjoy it.
UPDATE: I read yesterday night that it is canceled because of rejected venue permits. I’m sure they’ll find a better one and I wish it’ll be better.
The other festival is happening this week, and I have a tiny role during that.
I, cookin5m2, along with Lynn, bread on butter, will be kicking off the contest by serVme on their stand. Then, Lynn and I will try and be hospitable to give way to the instagram bloggers (yes, that’s the latest trend here) to see if they can cook, because that’s how it should be. Lynn, and Jean her husband, and I are known for the recipes we cook at home and share on our blogs. But let’s see what they have in their pockets.
Head over there to try what Lynn and I will be preparing.
To bring the street food spirit, I’ve prepared these samosa-like pastries from memory, according to what my taste buds could still retrieve from days of Sri Lanka last August. These were my loved ones! Egg rolls, rotti, and samosas dipped in red spicy sauce were a staple at any table in restaurants or at shops that bakes or fries them fresh.
Baked Potato Samosas
- 1 batch Basic dough (I used Jamie Oliver’s Basic Pizza dough)
- 4 medium potatoes
- 2 medium onions
- 3 tbsp oil + more oil for baking
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 2 tbsp curry
- 1 tbsp pepper flakes
- Cut the onions and potatoes in small cubes. Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions and potatoes until tender.
- Add the salt, cumin, curry, and pepper flakes and stir until fragrant. Set aside. The mix can vary in texture from chunky to almost mashed. Do it according to your own taste
- Roll out the dough as thin as possible and cut into 10 cm wide stripes with length of around 30 cm
- Fill each stripe with a tablespoon of the potato mix and roll the stripes diagonally into triangles
- Place into an oiled pan. Brush the triangles with more oil and bake in a 190º pre-heated oven until golden
- Serve immediately or leave to cool