Get Out and Go: Eat off the Street

Rewarding travel demands an open heart, an open mind, and an open stomach. While “street meat” may be unappetizing to a fledgling traveler, more adventurous visitors consume their calories from the stalls, stands and vendors selling the best tasting (and cheapest) treats.

The fast growing food truck and pop-up industry in Seattle is an indication that more often people are thinking with their stomachs and embracing this common global past time. Whether you are on this continent or overseas, eating off the street creates a new dimension of openness and camaraderie with local folk.

Chaiwala, India

Travel in India is like stepping into a dream or another dimension. Upon arrival the rest of the world seems to shrink away into a tiny speck of near nothingness as the hubbub of traffic, cows, smells, and newness of every moment overshadows personal identity and thoughts of home.

With street food for sale on every corner sitting on the curb and enjoying a samosa for a few cents is the best way to soak it in and let the mind process. Chaiwalas, or chai tea makers, have a long tradition in India, brewing tea with aromatic spices.

While treating drinking water is required for foreign visitors, chai tea can be enjoyed on the street as the water has been boiled. Every chaiwala makes their tea slightly differently. Some use more cardamom, giving a bit more of a kick, some more milk and others make it sweeter.

Having a seat, drinking a chai, and chatting is the best, and truly unique, Indian experience.

Ddukbokki, South Korea

The nightlife in Seoul makes New York look like a teenager with a curfew. Nori Bang, or karaoke, starts off the night with “bring your own beverages” followed by a series of nightclubs that do not seem to close. To power the rambunctiousness, street food is in abundance. Ddukbokki (pronounced “Duck Bokie”) is one such common late night snack. The meal of rice cakes and tomato sauce tastes a lot like a spicier version of Chef Boyardee and packs enough calories to keep things dancing. Stalls with street meats, fried things on sticks and tofu are packed with hungry customers.

Lowcountry Lemonade, Charleston, South Carolina

Founded by world traveler Desiree Hunter, Lowcountry Lemonade serves healthy, homemade juice and freshly brewed teas to locals and tourists. Inspired by juice and tea stalls in Morocco, India, and elsewhere, Lowcountry Lemonade believes that street beverages should be fresh, fast, and accessible. Made to squeeze orange juice in the markets of Marrakesh, for example, serve the community and creates a culture around juice and healthy living. Lemonade with ginger, basil, rosemary or mint and tea with peaches or hibiscus are just the beginning. All of the tasting the owner has done around the world has helped perfect her recipes. Word on the street is Lowcountry Lemonade makes the best Moroccan Mint Iced Green Tea in the south. Located at the historical City Market and at the Marion Square Farmers Market, stopping by Lowcountry Lemonade on a hot and humid day will quench your thirst and nourish your spirit.

Burger Theory, Adelaide, South Australia

Adelaide (affectionately termed “Radelaide” by Aussies) plays hosts to churches on every corner, wide streets, beautiful beaches, wineries in the surrounding hills, poisonous spiders and two visionary sociologists who decided not only to think from their stomachs but to live by them. While the city didn’t have the legal framework to support a food truck or pop-up industry, the founders of Burger Theory took the chance as 300 days of sunny weather make it a perfect place for the growing global trend.

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Serving American burgers and fries the menu is simple, leaving the focus on high quality ingredients and products. In preparation of designing their business, the founders traveled around America in search of the best food trucks, emulating the social media use for attracting attention and customers. The first of its kind in South Australia, Burger Theory is well on the map.