8 Tips for Awesome Street Food

8 Tips for Awesome Street Food

8 Tips for Awesome Street Food

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.

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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.

Let's Eat Glagow

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.

Farmer's Market Produce

Go Early

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.

Spicy Potato Cakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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Awesome in April

The hibiscus lady at the KCC Farmer's Market is super awesome!
The hibiscus lady at the KCC Farmer’s Market is super awesome!

April has come and gone and we’ve reached the end of our first full month of Awesome on $20. No idea how that happened. I’m so thrilled that a few people have found their way here. Isn’t the internet crazy? Indeed.

Here’s the awesomest stuff April offered up. Let’s do this every month! And let’s invent new words.

joy_art-280x280

Awesomest Way to Get Funny Looks at Work

My new obsession is the Joy the Baker Podcast. I’m honestly a little sad that this has been happening for two years without me. Luckily, when you subscribe on iTunes, you can get every episode, and then listen to two a day at work. There’s a strong chance you’ll burst out laughing while everyone is quietly clicking away in their cubicle, then everybody will look at you like you’re a freak. It’s okay. They don’t even know how awesome you are.

Joy and her sidekick Tracy of Shutterbean chat endlessly about “totally important unimportant things.” Sometimes they even talk about food and blogging. It’s reassuring, as a new blogger, to know that people as successful as these two once felt a bit insecure as well. I’m totally normal. Yeah, I’m totally not normal. Joy the Baker podcast. Get it. Laugh much too loudly. You won’t regret it.

The Steeldrivers

Awesomest Band You Never Skip When Your iPod Is on Shuffle

Do people even have iPods anymore? I’ve been using the same one since 2008, and I don’t think I’ve ever skipped over a Steeldrivers song. I’m always in the mood for their perfect brand of contemporary bluegrass. Alas, they lost their lead singer and songwriter, Chris Stapleton, a few years ago. I haven’t heard any of their recent stuff with the new singer, but that doesn’t stop me from singing bad harmony while driving my moped down busy streets. Their first two albums, plus “Live from The Station Inn” will always be worth listening to.

If you have Adele’s 21, and who doesn’t, then you already know one of my favorite Steeldrivers songs, “If It Hadn’t Been for Love.” I adore everything Adele does, but you really have to check out the original version. This song has a fiddle solo that just rips my heart out. Even if you think bluegrass isn’t your thing, I urge you to check out this band and have your mind thoroughly blown.

photo and recipe by Tracy of Shutterbean.com
photo and recipe by Tracy of Shutterbean.com

Awesomest Thing I’m Super Excited to Make

Whilst obsessively listening to the Joy the Baker podcast, I heard Tracy of Shutterbean talking about making her own amaretto. I immediately gasped (cue weird glances) and dropped everything to pin the recipe from her site. A few weeks ago I wanted to make a cocktail that called for amaretto, and the cheapest bottle at my grocery store was $25. What? I’m not paying that. When I looked at her recipe, I realized I already had everything except the vodka. How are we out of vodka? That needs to stop. I’m so psyched to try this out. I promise to let you know how it goes.

Clockwise from the top: pulled pork grilled cheese; pulled pork sandwich with smoky bbq beans and spicy mac and cheese, both from Tin Hut BBQ; mini sampler from Dolcita
Clockwise from the top: pulled pork grilled cheese; pulled pork sandwich with smoky bbq beans and spicy mac and cheese, both from Tin Hut BBQ; mini sampler from Dolcita

Awesomest Opportunity to Stuff Your Face in Honolulu

Since before I moved here, I’ve been saying I wanted to check out Eat the Street. That was a year and a half ago, and I finally went for the first time last week. Eat the Street is a monthly gathering of food trucks in Kaka’ako. They have around forty vendors, including beer and wine. There’s music and entertainment, and it’s all outside under the stars (depending on what time you get there, I suppose). Every month there’s a theme, and each truck creates a special dish for the event. April’s theme was bacon. How could I stay at home?

Next month is garlic Eat the Street. It happens the 4th Friday of every month. You don’t want to miss it. I don’t think I’ll miss out ever again. If you live in town, or you’re visiting my island, look for me. I’ll be near the cupcakes eventually.

What was the awesomest thing in your life in April?

Spam Mac and Cheese & Spam Jam Waikiki

Spam Mac and Cheese

On Saturday evening, we went to the Spam Jam in Waikiki. The what? Yes, Spam Jam. It’s a huge annual street festival on Kalakaua in the heart of Waikiki. Tents stretch for blocks with vendors selling their best recipes featuring Spam. I heard there were 25,000 people there. It was packed. Hawaiians love their Spam. I mean, you can get Spam, eggs, and rice for breakfast at McDonald’s.

This event also benefits the Hawaii Foodbank, an organization that is dear to me. I urge you to consider donating or volunteering with your local foodbank. Their work is absolutely vital to the community.

Twisted Spam Mac and Cheese from The Hard Rock Cafe

We decided to try the Hard Rock Cafe tent. I had the Spam mac and cheese, and Geoff had the Spam taco. When mine arrived, I was a bit… disappointed. It was not what I was expecting. This was my first time to try Spam, so when I had a huge scoop of ground Spam that looked and smelled like cat food on top of my mac, I was put off. I scooted most of it off to the side and just mixed a bit of the salty Spam into the mac. It was good enough, but I knew I could do better.

Spam mac and cheese

I switched out that soggy mess for crispy salty bits of Spam joy. It was a million times better. I also mixed the Spam throughout instead of just putting it on top. A hit of cayenne and garlic adds a lot of interest to the flavor. Spam is not a go to ingredient for me, and I’m not sure I’d work with it again, even if it is cheap. Yet I was pleasantly surprised that eating this Spam mac and cheese made me ridiculously happy. In fact, I ate it twice in one day. It was definitely awesome.

Spam mac

Spam Mac and Cheese
Serves 2
Salty crispy ham enhances a delicious and simple mac and cheese
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 oz macaroni
  2. 1/2 cup Spam, diced to small cubes
  3. 1 egg
  4. 6 ounces evaporated milk
  5. 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  6. 1/4 tsp cayenne
  7. pinch of salt (go easy, Spam is really salty)
  8. 4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 475
  2. In a medium pan, put your water on to boil. Add salt and macaroni to boiling water and cook for 6 minutes. Drain.
  3. In the meantime, cook your tiny Spam cubes in a small skillet over medium high heat. Once they are nice and crispy, they will start to jump and attempt to escape the pan. Transfer Spam cubes to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  4. Beat the egg and evaporated milk together, then add the seasonings, followed by the cheese and most of the Spam. Finally fold in the cooked pasta.
  5. Spoon your mixture into two greased ramekins which are resting on a baking sheet to catch any possible drips. Sprinkle the last of your Spam on top.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for at least ten minutes to avoid burning your face off.
  7. Dig in and learn to love the Spam.
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
http://awesomeon20.com/

 

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