December 27, 2016

Drawing Inspiration From Street Food

Fish and chips is a popular British street and bar food.
As you earn a culinary certificate online, you’ll be exposed to a broad array of cooking techniques and traditions. While there is much to be learned from the history of fine dining, great food is also sold in food trucks and market stalls around the world. Today, many of the country’s finest restaurants are serving dishes that show the influence of these uniquely satisfying items. Chefs are demonstrating that great flavor combinations can work in any context and introducing new street foods to American palates.

Southeast Asian flavors
Some of the most fascinating and delicious examples of street food prepared in American restaurant kitchens come from Southeast Asian cuisines. Cities like Bangkok and Hanoi are known for the speedy, yet irresistible, meals available from stalls. American chefs have paid tribute to that background while developing exciting variations.

“American chefs have paid tribute to Southeast Asian street food.”

Among the most acclaimed of these dishes are the ones created at Portland, Oregon’s Pok Pok. Chef Andy Ricker is famed for his takes on classic Thai items like kai yang, a chicken roasted over charcoal, stuffed with lemongrass, garlic, cilantro and pepper and accompanied by dipping sauces. The wings at Pok Pok come from a Vietnamese recipe, and they’re first marinated, then deep fried, tossed in a caramelized fish sauce and garlic, and served with an assortment of pickled vegetables.

At Uncle Boons in New York City, diners enjoy items like palo-muu, a stew featuring pork jowl, a marinated duck egg, orange and charred scallion in a soy anise broth. The selection of charcoal grilled dishes includes sai krok ampai, which is a sour sausage made with pork and rice, and kaduuk, a satay featuring roasted bone marrow served with toast, peanut sauce and pickled onion and cucumber. Eater declared the restaurant’s toasted coconut sundae one of the city’s perfect desserts for its combination of coconut milk gelato, candied nuts and whipped cream.

Students at culinary schools in Texas should make a point to stop into one of Houston’s excellent spots for the Vietnamese noodle soup, pho. The Daily Meal rated Pho Danh at the Hong Kong City Mall as one of the finest in the country because of its delightfully rich broth full of fresh herbs and meat.

Fantastic fish and chips
Fish and chips is a British takeaway classic, bringing together the comforting tastes of deep-fried cod or haddock and thick-cut french fries. At establishments like Big & Little’s in Chicago, chefs carry on the tradition of beer-battered white fish with fries, lemon and tartar sauce. Diners can also enjoy their fried fish in one of a variety of fish tacos, like the Samurai, featuring pickled jalapenos, lettuce, lime juice, sesame, a chili aioli and a soy-based sweet sauce.

Martins West Gastropub in Redwood, California steps up the old-school fish and chips with some intriguing ingredients. The exceptionally light and crispy Pacific cod is battered with the Little Yella Pils from Oskar Blues Brewery and served with a celery root tartar sauce. The fries are prepared in a blend of 16 tandoori-style spices.

Poutine is one snack that has inspired creative variations from American chefs.Poutine is one snack that has inspired creative versions from American chefs.

Poutine innovations
The beloved Canadian dish, poutine, has made substantial inroads to the south over recent years. After all, what late-night snacker can resist a combination of french fries, cheese curds and gravy? Some U.S. restaurants have gotten creative with this classic formula and achieved exceptional results.

P’tit Soleil in Los Angeles offers a menu full of excellent choices for poutine fans. Poutine Celine substitutes a Bolognese sauce for gravy while Poutine Christine has a cognac peppercorn sauce. Poutine Daniel pairs that peppercorn sauce with shredded duck, and Poutine du Pied de cochon brings together cheese curds, foie gras and a balsamic reduction cream sauce. If you can’t settle on just one, order the poutine flight to sample three.

Colorado culinary arts enthusiasts who don’t eat meat can still enjoy poutine, thanks to Denver’s City, O’ City. As Westword pointed out, the vegetarian gravy has the flavors of caramelized onion, garlic, sage and thyme, so even ardent carnivores will be satisfied. Vegans can request a dairy-free cheese substitute instead of the traditional curds.

Many street foods have proven to be great sources of ideas for chefs. Students in culinary academy can find their own ways to reinvent the flavorful items that have traditionally been served out of a truck’s window or a busy stall in the marketplace.