A sampler of dispatches from the street-food universe. What this got to do with Ethicureanism? Well, unlike most fast food, good street food is made from fresh, real ingredients by independent sole proprietors. And it fascinates us because it's like the "farming in the middle" conundrum: how can talented cooks launch a successful real-food business in this economy? Sometimes a truck is a lot easier, and less risky, than a restaurant.
Josh Harkinson writes in Mother Jones about a lavish conference on Street Food at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa, California. Around devotees of the fresh, exciting flavors of global street food circled corporate scouts looking for the next big thing — perhaps a recipe for the freezer case, a new appetizer for the nationwide menu, or a plan for a fleet of trucks. harkinson also looks at what defines street food, and whether it can be made from sustainable ingredients.
Over at the Washington Post, Jane Black wades through the confusing and often self-contradictory tangle of red tape that can envelop those who make and sell street food or cook in mobile kitchens. The Local SixFortySeven truck in Virginia encounters rural agricultural zoning rules, business license confusion and more. The famous Kogi BBQ truck of metro-Los Angeles is another case study: the L.A. area is comprised of scores of cities, which seem to have different rules and permit procedures. Not all of the trouble is directly from the government, as exclusive contracts for caterers can keep trucks away from some places, while restaurant pressure on local governments can keep streets free of food trucks in other places.
How2Heroes share some of their food cart finds in Portland, Oregon, a city with over 400 carts and trucks. Grilled cheese, baked goods, hot soups, and much more grace the Rose City. Unfortunately, the How2Heroes team don't explain why Portland has so much street food and what lessons can be learned from its experience.