Tag Archives: Street Food

Ever had Koshari? It’s flavor fusion nirvana!

By Lakshmi:

During multiple trips to London, we’ve walked by Koshari Street, this tiny, narrow restaurant in Covent Garden that serves up killer “make your own” Koshari.  Koshari (also known as Kushari or Koshary) is an Egyptian dish that originated in the 19th century.

Given we were never at Koshari Street around meal times, we always gave it a skip, promising to be back at a future date.  On this London eatathon, we headed to Koshari Street to get a taste of a dish that is rated incredibly high across TripAdvisor, TimeOut London, Yelp and more.

As we walked towards the restaurant, my two teenaged travel companions wanted to know more about this dish.  I tried to explain it to them rather unsuccessfully.

Think of it as a Chipotle bowl; it originated in Egypt and is eaten by the rich and poor.  You start with a base of rice, pasta and lentils, top it with a tomato sauce, and then layer on spices and toppings.  It left them both confused.  Rice, pasta and lentils in the same dish? That’s weird they chimed.  They did not have a choice.  I had made up my mind and they were going to not just walk in with me, but try the dish as well.

As soon as you open the door to Koshari Street, the smell of the spices draws you in.  The friendly staff patiently explain how the dish is layered and you are able to build it to suit your palate.  Out came the bowl, in went the rice, pasta and lentils.  Next a healthy dollop of tomato sauce was spooned over the carb combo.  On went the chick peas, dukkah (a spice blend), veggies and the fried onions.  Aah the amazing fried onions which added the perfect crunch to this flavor medley.  The best news?  This entire meal was under five pounds.

As I savored the first bite of crisp onions, I got a little bit of the dukkah and tomato sauce. It was a lovely melding of flavors.  Next I blended the sauce with the rice, pasta and tomatoes and dug in.  It was truly a flavor fusion nirvana worth every bit of the five hundred pence I had paid for this meal.

And what did the teenagers have to say?  While they did eat it all, they said the combination of flavors was a bit confusing to them and they would have loved it more minus the dill!

If your travels ever get you to London and you want to have a frugal meal or snack, do head down to Koshari Street.  It is a very easy, delicious way to get introduced to the world of Egyptian street food.

 

 

The Biryani Cart- Delicious NYC Street Food

Biryani Cart NYC
(http://newyorkstreetfood.com)

By Siddhi: 

In a city whose street life is fashioned by at least two food carts a block that serve the same snacks and fall into overwhelming mundaneness, saying that one of the most authentic meals I’ve had in the New York was from one of these carts seems absurd.

The Biryani Cart, which has been nominated for Vendy Awards and took home the People’s Choice Awards two years in a row, is situated in front of Europa Café at 46th Street and 6th avenue in Manhattan. Its exterior is beyond deceptive, and other than the small newspaper and magazine clippings with elite critiques fastened to its metal walls, it looks like any other food cart in the city.

The menu consist of both vegetarian/non-veg traditional and distinct regional spices and flavors of the Indian subcontinent. You can look at the offerings here:

 http://menupages.com/restaurants/biryani-cart/menu

The Kati Rolls simply dissolve in your mouth with a genuineness that I’ve never tasted anywhere but home kitchens. Hot mint habanero sauce, mango pickle, and a wide selection of curries are among the additions to choose from to make your “dining” experience even more memorable.

As someone who has never been a fan of rice, the Vegetable Biryani blew my taste buds away. I don’t think I’ve ever loved rice that much, and growing up in an Indian family that cooks traditional meals on a near daily basis, that is a huge statement to make!

The only aftermath of the Biryani Cart experience is that the “fast food” greasiness of the meal yields a necessary lounge period while the food settles in your system. But hey, for a great meal, that’s a small price to pay.

So if you find yourself in Manhattan and want to grab a quick but delicious meal, check out the Biryani Cart.

It’s cheap (four to six bucks can snag you two rolls and a filled, content stomach), it’s convenient, and it’s too good. Could you ask more of street food?

Street Foods in Mumbai – These are a Few of My Favorite Things

 

By Lakshmi:

Anyone who has spent any time in Mumbai knows the joy of eating out!  Not just eating out, but eating off roadside stalls.  I know what you are thinking….am I recommending a sure way to get sick in India?  No, of course not.  But if you go to the right places, there is no place like these to snack and eat to your heart’s content for very little money.

Pani Puris:  How does one describe this?  The best way to describe it is little puffed balls of fried dough, popped open and filled with a mixture of pulses and veggies and served dunked in a tart tamarind sauce.  The crispness of the puris, the freshness of the veggies/pulses, the sweet and sour taste of the tamarind sauce make for a dish that hits at the taste buds from multiple angles.

Misal Pao:  This Maharashtrian food for the common man is a simple but potent combination of a simple peasant bread, accompanied by the most spicy sauce which includes an assortment of pulses and spices, topped with finely chopped onions, coriander and crunchy fried lentil strips.  Honest confession…the first time I had it, I did not realize the impact the hotness would have on my system.  Suffice it is to say, I had to spend the next day in some level of isolation.  But, every time I am in Mumbai, I still indulge and pretty much every small no-name place has it on the menu.

Vegetable Sandwich:  As the name suggests, there is nothing exotic about this meal.  It is two slices of bread with veggies served with ketchup.  Now, I don’t know whether it is the bread or the veggies or the sauce, but the taste of that quick pick-me-upper roadside sandwich is hard to replicate.

Vada Pao:  This very popular street eat could be called as a local burger.  A nice rotund patty of mashed potato and spices dunked in chickpeas batter and fried to perfection is sandwiched between two slices of pao (peasant bread) and served with the most garlicky coconut chutney.  How can a food-lovers trilogy of ingredients such as potatoes, bread and garlic produce anything but yummy food?

Hmmm….just writing this post makes me want to fly to Mumbai and indulge.  Unfortunately, there is a few months for that!