I stress the "ready-to-eat" because I'm not talking about anything you fix up nice at home to please yourself or impress your guests. I'm talking about what you get at the supermarket or the newsstand or from a street cart and start stuffing in your face nibbling as is.
This is about potato chips/crisps, peanuts, olives, beef jerky, street crêpes, ice cream cones, fried squid on a stick and that kind of stuff.
I like olives, potato chips, tortilla chips, popcorn sometimes and most recently I have been appreciating the Thai cans of wasabi peanuts made by Koh-Kae.
But I'll eat just about anything, even though I am not a major snacker and actually this stuff doesn't enter my mouth very often. Out on the street, I just about never buy or eat anything and wait patiently while friends attend to their urgent needs. For example, I don't think I have had a crêpe from a crêpe stand for more than 10 years. And you?
Reply #50 here. The "Mas" brand salted peanuts are just like homemade, and a great temptation for me. There are lots of local products such as this, some of them made on a smaller scale, but still nicely presented in cellophane. There's a woman at the Parque Consati market who sells her candied peanuts -- the kind called "Boston Baked Beans" in the US -- that way, and fine, fine little yummies they are, too.
Every once in a great while I'll succumb to churros, sold three to a bag by roving vendors. Also, pedrazos, dried bread moistened with a vinegary mixture and some pickled vegetables can be tempting. The two snack things I'm most likely to buy on the street are nicuatole, a sort of blancmange that I'll get to hold me over until I can have a real meal, and grapefruit, because I love it and it's such a thrill to get it all peeled and segmented.
Do tacos count? It's street food, but I think of them more as meals than snacks.
I don't usually eat in the street (except as a meal, like bixa's tacos, or fishy stuff when in Amsterdam in lieu of a meal if I'm near a market and not somewhere near where I'm staying, but I do confess I like snack foods. Pretty much the same ones as K2, because I like savouries, not sweets. Try to restrict their consumption to parties etc but occasionally I do give in to the urge.
I also like Italian taralli (sort of like a breadstick or pretzel-shaped bready thing made with olive oil and different flavourings: fennel (not for spindrift), hot pepper, garlic etc.
I love those Southeast Asian chips one fries, made of shrimp or crab powder (or whatever) and tapioca starch...
I snack on a lot of stuff as I generally only eat one main meal a day. Cheese with crackers or bread,fresh fruit (mostly bananas),potato chips (we have a local brand called Zapp's),love,love anything with wasabi flavor...hard boiled eggs is another. God,I know I'll think of more. Oh,yogurt is another.
Yes, those are very popular here too. I like them in a mix, but find more than a few of them a bit overpowering.
spindrift, I like crisps always, but only eat them occasionally, for rather obvious reasons. The attempt to make them non-fattening with olestra was a disaster in its own right! (No, I've NEVER eaten those).
casimira, what is special about Zapps? I tend to prefer the so-called natural or premium ones, not because they are any less greasy or salty, but because they tend to be made with better-quality oils and have fewer wierd chemical flavourings that tend to make me not feel very well. Do Zapps have any typically NOLA flavours?
I'm craving some nems right now, but we have a cold snap today and I don't feel like cycling over to the shop where they sell them.
No street food in England? Did they then very recently pass a law removing the vendors in London who were selling from carts chestnuts, sausages on sticks, sausage sandwiches, pasties, roasted nuts and candies by the British Museum and ice cream by the Thames, I don't even remember what all else street food we saw. Or do you mean just not in small towns?
We don't have much street food in small towns here, either, at least not as a regular thing, other than perhaps Tamales. Too many drive thrus I guess. Even our very good Chinese place does more of a trade in drive through than anything else.
As for snacks, love those wasabi peas. I'm kind of anti-chips after the wonderful thin crisps we enjoyed in London a year ago, seems like most commercial chips here are a thicker slice, but then I rarely eat chips anyway. Some local favorites we get at fairs and the snack bar at football games are frito pie (Frito chips dumped in a paper bowl, smothered in chili, and topped by sharp cheddar if the place is gourmet, processed cheese-like dayglo yellow substance if not), nachos (corn chips in paper bowl topped by aforementioned dayglo cheese-like product and pickled jalapenos), and deep fried dill pickles. I admit, if they use real sharp cheddar I do enjoy a hot, fresh frito pie along about third quarter of a football game. Popular fair food includes the above, plus cotton candy, candied apples, grilled sweet corn, and turkey legs.
As regards the UK and street food, whereas in many countries there is a culture of street food eating by the locals, that is not something that happens in the UK now. Whereas in many countries the locals just going about their normal day to day life will stop and pick something up, that doesn't happen in general in the UK. The only time you tend to see street food, apart from the ice cream van which doesn't count, is at or near tourist sites or a special occasion and stuff that is bought by those not from that area.
There are exceptions but the general difference is that in countries where there is a lot of street food, it is bought by the locals, but if there is any in the UK it tends to be bought by the visitors.
Street food gets rarer here as health and safety laws make it harder to manage on a street cart. We still had an old gentleman pushing a cart with ice cream here last summer, but it has been outlawed in many Texas cities as apparently sometimes they have difficulty keeping the ice cream cold enough or with keeping the freezers properly clean. The gentleman here never lets anyone else reach into his case and the whole thing is always awfully clean considering he pushes it round the streets all day.
It's funny, because I don't consider France to have a street food culture, but Paris sure as hell does -- I think that it is mostly for tourists. Even though I haven't had a crêpe from a crêpe stand in at least 10 years, on all of the travel sites, people rave about them non stop and appear to eat 4 or 5 of them a day -- in addition to normal meals.
Not much of a street-food culture in Italy either, as I recall. Well, there is pizza al taglio, kind of a local fast food, but more often in the little shops, standing up or on stools.
What is very popular in Italy is all sorts of sagre - local or even neighbourhood food festivals, religious festivals, and festivals organised by various political and social organisations of all stripes, with simple food. But I remember most often sitting down at tables or benches.
Kerouac, there are merguez-frites and sandwiches tunisiens stands where people usually take away (even those kebab places, but sometimes people eat in, as in other fastfood joints). I've never eaten a crêpe on the street in France. I prefer sitting down at a crêperie - often relatively inexpensive eateries by Parisian standards.
I had street food in Calais last night, but not as a snack -- it was my dinner. I was unable to eat more than about 30% of it, not because it wasn't good, but because there was enough to feed a family of 4. (I'll post the photo shortly on 'What's for dinner'.)
None of the South Asian ones I've had are sweet. At one point I liked the Japanese version, but now I find them far too sweet. Some South Asian junk has the slightly redeeming quality of being made from chickpea flour. So it does contain protein, but it is still too fat and salty, like most junk.
I love pappadams! We discovered that a good way of heating them without adding any more oil is in a microwave oven.
Yes, the Japanese crackers have a sugar glaze on them. I used to really like the Singapore cracker mix which also contained little dried fish, but it has disappeared -- even in Singapore, and I looked really hard for it! There must have been something unhealthy about it.
It is easy to find little dried fish though, in Asian markets. A Filipina friend fries them - they get all crunchy and make wondrous snacks. Since they are protein, not starch, they absorb very little oil.
I was introduced to dried fish a couple of weeks ago. Fried with little hot chilis in oil. Insidious, actually. I cooked eggs in the oil flavored with fish and chili- there were lots of little fish scales floating around in the oil- I think that was the best part.
Mick, are those chickpea based? The color reminds me of sev. Last January we bought a bag of plain sev, which at the time I'd never heard of but I needed it for something I was cooking. I loved them, even though they were just plain chickpea flour. Add chili and lemon and I can see that they'd be irresistible. I'm a potato chip addict, particularly Utz brand--in fact, only Utz--but the sev scratched the same itch and were healthier. Now I'm hungry.
I am using my greasy fingers to type that I am eating churros right now. They're still warm, greasy, & sprinkled with sugar. This is the down side of living in a place where carts go by playing a recorded ditty and announcing their treats through a bullhorn. I'm sharing with the dogs. We'll all have hardening of the arteries together.