Street food. That’s so 2010, right? Only here’s the twist: Recently, it‘s been appearing on the menu at brick-and-mortar restaurants. It’s street food, in the house.
Case in point: Curry Up Now, a successful street food truck business has now launched its third restaurant, this time in the Mission. At the site of what was once a pizzeria, they use the brick oven as a makeshift tandoor to make “naughty naan,” which looks and tastes a bit like an Indian mini pizza. Not exactly traditional, but ingenious. More traditional street food dishes here also get a fusion twist, such as sev puri, which is a bit like Indian nachos, only topped with guacamole. They also make other chaat snacks including vada pav, which are kind of like vegetarian sliders, made from plump potato fritters served on a bun and gol gappa, which look like mini sopaipillas.
In St. Helena, La Condesa recently completely revamped their formerly high-end menu, bringing the price point way down. While not quite as cheap as street food you find in Mexico, Executive Chef Chris Mortenson’s antojitos, or small street food snacks and duos of tacos are designed for sharing and pair well with salty margaritas or beer. Highlights include corn served Mexican street food style, slathered in mayonnaise and dusted in crumbled cheese, upscale huitlacoche huaraches topped with wild mushrooms and drizzled with truffle oil as well as carnitas tacos. It’s easy to make a full meal of these snacks.
Hutong is the most latest restaurant to bring the street food concept indoors. A favorite “off the menu” dish from prior incarnation Betelnut, the street food dish of chicken livers in black pepper sauce has made its way on to the permanent menu. Chicken livers are soaked in milk, then dredged in cornstarch and deep fried, served with roasted onions and black pepper sauce. Chicken wings are inspired by a signature dish from Jalan Alor, a street of food stalls in Kuala Lumpur. The famous Wong Ah Wah grilled wings are also a sensation in New York at Fatty Crab. While the exact recipe is a secret, it definitely involves a marinade of garlic, ginger and soy sauce. Also on the menu is roti canai, a Malaysian and Indonesian street food served at Mamak street food stalls, chef Alex Ong explains this version is different from the roti that was on the Betelnut menu; the dough is twirled until thin, then cooked on a grill with oil and served with curry and raita.
Which street food will make it indoors next? We’re hoping it’s world class Middle Eastern style falafel slathered in tahini and sabih sandwiches filled with fried eggplant and hard boiled eggs.