UG Talk: Street Vendor Foods
This is Underrated Gems series, round 2!
Whenever I’m in China during the summer, I love grabbing a fresh-off-the-grill snack from the bbq vendor outside the neighborhood I’m staying at – my favorite is bbq chicken on strewer sticks. Many street-side foods are irresistable because their heavenly smells waft to your nose from a thousand steps away. My uncle, a native Beijinger, is also subject to the food temptation – every afternoon passing the intersection from grandma’s house to the park, he treats himself to a wrapped egg-pancake filled with pizza ingredients. Like in China, food vendors are common to cities in Korea and in Japan. I’m hesitant to say this, but I think some parts of Europe, India and Mexico have variations of these street-side delectables. First, I have to say that I love that street-side food suppliers bring a regional/distinctive flavor that shapes our countries. And while I’m sure the convenience of these snacks are attractive to visitors and native people alike, you really have to wonder the health risks some of these foods might possess. Especially consider that since these vendors come from individual businesses and farmers, so they’re largely left unchecked by the government’s food safety regulations.
I’d advise against pigging out at too many outdoor vendors, despite the temptation! GL. However ice creams and popsicles at street vendors are another story (okay, in my defense, these are wrapped individual packages so they’re better)
On the flip side, do not hesitate to try 85 °C bakery cafe pastries anytime you are in Beijing or Taipei! Sure, there’s one of these bakeries if you live close to Irvine CA, but there’s nothing better than experiencing the most heavenly of cakes and other treats in Asia. There’s really no comparison when you try 85 degree’s pizza wrap or their mango puddings. My favorite thing about this bakery is their unique way you get things. Basically you go in and grab a plastic tray with a pair of tongs. Scoop all the foods you want on the tray, and the cashier/wrapper will package your dessert into paper bags. By the way, for the locations, I really don’t know much about Taipei (besides that this bakery originated from here) but stop by Xidan’s shopping district to see one of the largest bakery havens if you are in Beijing! I’m biased partially because I’ve actually gone here many times, so check it out.
Also, on a similar note, while you’re in the area, grab one of WeiTe Bakery’s cakes. I’m serious. All of their cakes are like the dream cakes you never imagined – so beautiful – quite unlike crappy American birthday cakes with a Happy Birthday scribbled on it last minute that I got every birthday. The ones I’m talking about at made with freshly whipped cream, topped with fresh strawberries and other fruit, and are custom-made! Here’s a picture of the one my mom got for her birthday… This cake was so delish and I like how it’s fluffy like sponge cake, but not too sweet. (it is fattening with the fresh cream, I will admit haha)
If you want more stuff on Asian eateries or details about my trip last summer to Beijing, like this post! Foodie pictures galore.