You can’t keep me away from a food festival. Whether it’s a food truck rally, a pop-up event, a farmer’s market, or a county fair, if someone’s selling food out of a stall or truck, I’ve got to check it out. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of the next local street food event.
Survey the Scene
If the event is any good, you’ll have plenty of amazing choices. Before you buy anything, make the rounds and check out what’s available so you avoid the hardship of finding something awesome while you’re already eating.
Divide and Conquer
If you’re there with a friend or in a group, consider sharing. If everyone gets something from a different vendor, you can mix and match and get to experience more of what the event has to offer.
Consider the Logistics
You’re eating outside, probably without a table, so consider what it will take to get the food into your mouth. Don’t get anything that will need to be eaten with a knife and fork. You’ll never manage it. Choose foods that can be eaten without utensils, preferably wrapped in some sort of carbs. Also consider the possibility of drippy sauces, as these can be irksome for both hands and clothes. There may or may not be plentiful napkins about.
Have a Balanced Approach to Price
The cheapest food might be amazing, or it might be awful or even make you sick. Conversely, the most expensive food probably has some sort of hipster tax attached because it’s served in a shovel or something stupid. Normally I say cheap is best, but when it comes to street food, it might be best to go more down the middle. Splurge for quality, especially when it comes to meat.
Bring Your Own Drink
I’ve seen food trucks that will try to sell you a jar of lemonade for $10. Even when you factor in keeping the jar, those lemons had better be made from liquid gold. Drinks can sometimes be overpriced at events and festivals, so throw your water bottle in your bag before you head out, just in case.
Food trucks and stalls have limited space, so popular items can sell out fast. Try to get there early if you can to make the most of the selection and avoid lines. This also means that if you want to, you can get out before it gets cramped and crazy.
Always Say Yes to Samples
There’s usually a lo to of competition at markets and festivals and such, so lots of places will be giving out samples. It’s free food, guys. Try everything. You might discover a new ethnic food you never even knew you loved. And if someone is selling packaged products rather than cooked food, they’ll probably let you try their wares before making a purchase. We once tasted 8 cheeses at one booth at a farmer’s market. It was amazing.
Keep It Clean
The restroom possibilities may be limited. If you think you might be heading into porta-potty territory, consider bringing some wet wipes along since you may not get a chance to wash your hands properly.
If you hear about a chance to get some street food, don’t miss it. Food trucks are so creative, so you’re almost certain to get something great. The impermanence of the whole thing makes it seem that much more special. Get out there and eat something awesome.