The growth of the food truck industry has helped Americans realize the potential of global street foods as a regular option for meals at any time of the day. Many of these mobile street food dishes are perfect for food truck menus due to the fact they are ideally served for those on the go.
Food trucks seem to be the best platforms for street foods these days (although many restaurants are beginning to tap into this trend) since they are made by chefs who only have the space and resources to prepare a few things really well. In adapting street-food ideas, mobile food vendors need to focus on one or two cuisines, not tackle the entire globe, to keep a high level of authenticity to their dishes.
5 styles of street food that any vendor can add to their food truck menu:
Street Food Menu Idea 1: Baguette-based Sandwiches
This universally popular bread provides a sturdy foundation for building flavorful and filling hand-held meals.
Bocadillo: Spanish baguette sandwich; classically filled with sliced chorizo, today it’s prepared with innumerable fillings. Small versions on mini baguettes are popular in tapas and pintxo bars.
Meatball sub: Fill a crunchy baguette with signature meatballs combining mixed protein, cheese and high-impact flavors like chile flakes, dried herbs and dried fruit. Finish with a savory sauce.
Street Food Menu Idea 2: Stuffed Breads
Offering unique deep-fried or baked dough pockets can provide exciting new flavors and enhance menu differentiation.
Curry bread: Try a version of Japanese deep-fried, stuffed dough, in which yeast dough is rolled into circles, filled with a curried beef-and-vegetable filling, sealed into pockets, coated with panko breading and fried.
Italian panzerotti: These folded and baked dough pockets may be filled with any number of Italian ingredients, including ground sausage, sliced salumi, roasted tomatoes, grilled or roasted vegetables or greens, such as spinach or kale. If cheese is added, provide a flavor punch with Asiago or pecorino Romano.
Street Food Menu Idea 3: Fill the Flatbread
The next wave of flavorful, flatbread sandwiches is ready to take its place beside mainstream burritos and wraps.
Kati rolls: Indian flatbread wraps; made with either naan or roti bread, filled with Indian-spiced beef, lamb, chicken, egg or paneer cheese. Usually garnished simply with thinly sliced onion.
Roti prata: Singaporean stuffed flatbread; dough is stretched, filled, folded and griddled until crispy and served with dipping sauces. Fillings can be sweet or savory.
Street Food Menu Idea 4: Use that Frier
Deep-frying is an ideal cooking method for street fare, making for quick cooking times, crunchy textures and added richness for menu items.
Pakoras: These Indian meat or vegetable fritters are made with an Indian-spiced chickpea-?our batter. Meat and/or vegetables are dipped in the batter and deep-fried, creating tempting handheld treats that are extremely popular in the U.K.
Southern-Fried Styles: Fried green tomatoes can make a great carrier for toppings or can even act as the “bread” for unique sandwiches. Boudin balls, a southern-Louisiana street food of breaded and deep-fried spheres of fresh Cajun sausage made from ground pork, pork liver and onion, have plenty of room for flavor and ingredient variations, from different sausages to mixed ground meats and unusual coatings.
Street Food Menu Idea 5: Taco Fusion
Mexican-flavored ingredients are no longer the only fillings found in soft, corn tortillas. The breakout popularity of Korean tacos has opened the door to experimentation with other global flavors.
Kogi style: Roy Choi’s signature short-rib tacos are topped with shredded cabbage in chile vinaigrette and toasted sesame seeds. His Blackjack Quesadilla, grilled with al pastor pork and Jack cheese and topped with Kogi salsa verde, could also make a great soft taco.
Vegetarian versions: Rick Bayless serves a uniquely delicious vegetarian taco filled with creamy Swiss chard, potatoes and poblanos. Other vegetarian ideas include grilled vegetables, seasoned and pan-seared or grilled tofu, Asian-flavored wok seared vegetables and Indian-spiced vegetable stews.
The Bottom Line
Finally, don’t leave out inspiration from American street food. High-quality and creatively topped hot dogs, sausages, burgers and hot sandwiches are booming in popularity. The great part is that they will fit on any food truck menu.