Food Trippin’: Famous Street Food Cultures

A foodie’s adventure is marked by variety and that range depends on their propensity to travel to literally have a taste of other people’s culture through their food. In many cities around the globe, food is a vibrant part of daily life and is incredibly affordable and easily accessible, often through sidewalk vendors, night markets, and food hubs.

 Image source: behindthefoodcarts.com

Singapore would always come to mind with its bustling and ubiquitous hawker centers where tourists and the working class converge for Pan-Asian, cross-cultural (Chinese, Malay, and Indian) varieties, classics being the Hainanese chicken rice, chili crab, garlic tiger prawns, duck rice, steamed pork buns, and curried noodles.

Similarly, Bangkok has countless sois—small neighborhood streets with food stalls and open-air cafeterias lined up side-by-side. On your must-try list would be pad thai, sticky mango rice, Thai milk tea, and tom yum.

As soon as the sun sets, you can enjoy couscous, shawarma, kebabs, or deep-fried sesame cookies in Marrakesh, Morocco, as the heaping bowls of olives, cumin, turmeric, saffron and ginger lend a heady, fragrant air to the marketplace setting.

Image source: yourkamagraguide.com

And then there are places like Portland, Oregon that just brings all of the world’s best street foods in one place with hundreds of food carts on the streets on any given day, selling Brussels’ frites, Rome’s gelato, or Spain’s churros.

I am Naman Wakil and I am a food blogger. Like this Facebook page for more ideas on gastronomic adventures.

Hummus: This Dip’s Serious History

Hummus is a popular dip and staple in any Mediterranean fare. Yet, for all its popularity, many people remain unaware of its history. To be fair, I only recently discovered a few facts about this chickpea spread myself and I was astounded by several new things. In an instant, hummus became more than what I imagined and I found myself enjoying it more. I decided to share some of my findings.

Image Source: Wikimedia.org
Image Source: Wikimedia.org

No one knows where it began, but everyone’s doing it: Strange, isn’t it? Many regions claim to be the birth place of hummus, but officially speaking, no one really knows where the dip began. This is because hummus has been around for quite some time and comes in many variations. Still, it is largely believed that it began somewhere in the Mediterranean, as the main ingredient – chickpeas – is abundant there. Another fun fact is that while most of the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean counties claim hummus as their dish, there is not much difference in variety. The other real difference among the hummuses is the amount of cumin and tahini used in them. Some substitute the butter for olive oil. But the dish is essentially just chickpeas, sesame paste, lemon juice, and garlic.

Image Source: bostonmagazine.com
Image Source: bostonmagazine.com

Hummus was serious business: Many arguments are made as to which hummusia makes the best hummus. It seems like a small matter, but many food enthusiasts still fight over which variety is actually the best. How much of this ingredient makes a difference? Furthermore, each variety supposedly has varying aphrodisiac properties. Some chefs call hummus a surprising love potion, since chickpeas are filled with iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium – all known to increase sexual functions and boost physical energy.

This, for me, proves, that there really is more to everything than initially meets the eye. Even “small” dishes have their own history and fun facts. I can’t wait to learn more!

I am Naman Wakil and I am proud to be part of the community that eats, lives, breathes, and loves food. Join me on my food quest by following this Twitter account.