In Praise of Street Food

Today there was an annual Independence Day street fair in my neighborhood. I love street fairs even though they are often hot and overcrowded because they always involve delicious street food! I grew up with high street food standards as a result of living in New York City, where the hot dogs are the best in the world and you could often get a lovely potato knish from the same vendor that sold you the hot dog, or maybe a smoky soft pretzel. Living in the midwest for much of the past decade, I grew used to its heavier, often deep-fried street food: foot-long Italian sausages, corn on the cob, pork chop sandwiches, funnel cakes.

I did not know what to expect today at my first Utah street fair, but I was not disappointed. There was a refreshingly cosmopolitan array of choices (hurray for cities!), including Greek food, Indian food, several panini stands, two taco trucks, a Belgian waffle cart, a sushi truck,  and American standbys like barbecued chicken, pulled pork, and hamburgers. There were so many tantalizing options that I found myself sampling from three vendors, beginning my lunch with a samosa, moving on to a grass-fed burger that was probably the best hamburger I’ve had in Utah, and finishing with a pork taco and part of a chicken quesadilla. All of this fantastic food only cost $14.50 total. I’m often cynical about America, but street food is something that we get right!

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