AS we travel locally or in foreign land, we always want to taste popular food specialty offered by locals. And did you know that most street foods Filipinos love are popular traditional street foods in its country of origin?
* Kebab and shawarma. Grilling a vertical spit of stacked meat slices, and cutting it off as it cooks, first appeared in the 19th century in Ottoman Turkey, where it was known as döner kebap. This food was first presented by Turkish immigrants in Berlin in the 1970s. The rotating kebab with ingredients of sliced lamb, beef, or chicken, is slowly roasted on a vertical rotating spit. Shawarma is one of the world’s most popular street foods, especially in Egypt and the countries of the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula. Today’s shawarma may also be chicken, turkey, beef, or veal.
* Fried noodle ala-HK. Also known as Pad thai, the stir-fried noodle is listed at number 5 on the “World’s 50 most delicious foods” poll compiled by CNN Go in 2011. It’s basically stir-fried rice noodles prepared with tofu, eggs, fish sauce, dried shrimp, garlic, tamarind pulp, palm sugar, and chili pepper, and it’s served with lime wedges and chopped roasted peanuts (ingredients may vary).
Pad thai originated during World War II when Thailand suffered a rice shortage because of the war and floods. To reduce rice consumption, the Thai Prime Minister promoted people to eat noodles instead. Now it’s the main street food in Thailand and popular food cart business among Filipinos.
* Poutine. Asians would call this cheesy fries, this Canadian dish originated from Quebec, and it is made with French fries and cheese curds and topped with brown gravy.
Poutine originated in the Centre-du-Québec area in the late 1950s. Several restaurants from the area claim to be the inventor of the dish, but no consensus exists. It has become almost a cultural marker and an adored junk food in the whole of Canada.
“Poutine” is now part of Filipinos’ street food cart business.
* Pirozhki. Filipinos call this meat empanada, Pirozhki are small versions of “pirog,” the Russian word for “pie.” The origin of the word comes from the old Russian “pir” (“feast”), and this demonstrates that any feast and celebration should involve eating pirozhki.
These small pies are now sold everywhere, usually in small cafeterias and shops. The stuffing can be anything from meat, fish, and eggs to vegetables and fruits.
* J+ zhu (chicken claws). “Adidas” to Filipinos, especially to beer or wine drinkers during drinking session in bar cafes. Locals in China believe that “adidas” is good for their health, and it reduces wastage. A typical Chinese street food, flavors can be added to it, usually pickled chili or barbeque sauce. It can be salted or fried, but it’s always spicy.
* Pastel de nata. “Egg tart” to many, Pastel de nata is also known as Portuguese custard tart, is a Portuguese egg tart pastry dusted with cinnamon. This egg tart with sugar and butter is now a famous street food in Portugal.
Pastel de nata was created by Catholic monks in the 18th century. At that time, large quantities of egg whites were used in monasteries for starching clothes. The monks used the leftover egg yolks to make cakes and pastries, and this is how this dish originated.