Street Smarts: Discovering the Joy of Street Food

The greatest cooks aren’t always in restaurants. The thrill of finding that street stand with the perfect blend of flavors is a treasured moment of any trip. Here are four top spots to whet your appetite.

Portland

The nation’s brewpub capital is also a street food capital. Pods of food trucks dot the cityscape, dishing out gastronomic sensations for every taste. Top pods include 10th Avenue and Alder Street, where Nong’s Khao Man Gai serves Thai chicken and jasmine rice to die for, and Tidbit Farm and Garden, home to Smaaken’s waffles. The Mississippi Marketplace wows with fried catfish at Miss Kate’s Southern Kitchen, kimchi quesadillas at Koi Fusion and Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ. foodcartsportland.com

Ensenada, Mexico

One taste of the fish tacos (they were invented here) and elotes (crisp, juicy ears of corn roasted over a mesquite grill, served au natural or with picante sauces, mustard, honey or powdered sugar) leaves no doubt this port city is a street foodie mecca.

Avenida Juarez has the best fish taco stalls, from battered and lard-fried cazon (dog fish) on a sizzling corn tortilla with crèma agria, pickled veggies and salsa, to thin-cut, thickly battered mako shark topped with earthy chile de arbol.

And ceviche. Fresh-from-the-sea ground seafood topped with onions, cilantro and lime — simple and sublime.  discoverbajacalifornia.com

Trinidad

Pocket foods once eaten by sugar cane workers make Trinidad a Caribbean street food star. Head to Queens Park Savannah and St. James in Port of Spain for unique treats. Doubles, a sweet and spicy fried flat bread sandwich of curried chickpea stew, topped with tamarind chutney and pepper sauce. And corn soup — a sweet, salty, crunchy, smooth mixture of juicy ears of corn simmered in a coconut milk and split pea puree packed with garlic, spices and veggies.  gotrinidadandtobago.com

Suzhou, China

There are dumplings — and there are Suzhou dumplings — considered by many to be China’s most tasty, with a slightly sweet flavor. Pan fried, heavily flecked with cilantro and filled with pork juice, or with chive-and-egg, or crabmeat or veggies with pork are the specialty of this river city west of Shanghai. Then explore the numerous food streets for delicacies from slightly sweet Suzhou-style thin noodles to barbecue lamb and spun sugar candies in animal shapes. en.visitsz.com  

 

– Barbara Beckley, Tribune Content Solutions Writer

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