Photos and text by ISABELLA OLIVARES
The World Street Food Congress 2017 is here and we’re stuffing all the street food that we can into our tummies. Here’s a continuation of what we’ve eaten so far at this foodie heaven:
Fish Tacos (Mexico)
Remember the tostada we raved about in our last post? Meet its also delicious cousin: the fish taco. Unlike the ones you’ll get in Metro Manila’s favorite taco shops, this fish taco is a hefty one. Its thick, robust slice of white fish is cooked to crunchy, golden brown perfection before being placed ceremoniously in the center of a soft tortilla. It’s then topped with fresh lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, and drizzled with some creamy sauce. With its contrasting textures and clean yet hearty flavors, it’s sure to make you fall in love all over again with Mexican comfort food.
Lamb Roti John (Singapore)
Consider this an upgrade of the egg sandwich. Featuring thin pieces of cooked mutton, onions, eggs and cheese sandwiched between two pieces of a crusty pan-fried baguette, this sandwich is surprisingly light in both weight and flavor. It’s a good snack to munch as you decide on what to get next. For more of a kick, dip it into the sweet chili sauce that the vendors generously provide.
Aloo Tikki (India)
If there’s one thing you need to order at the World Street Food Congress, it’s this one. Aloo Tikki refers to Indian croquettes made with potatoes, lentil, onions and spices, which are smashed (at least this version) and loaded with tamarind chutney, grapes, radish and carrot sticks, and two cubes of paneer. Every forkful explodes with different flavors: Sweet and sour from the chutney and the grapes, and spicy and savory from the croquettes, all of which are tempered by the paneer and the vegetables. Messy and rustic yet rich and complex, this dish hits all the right notes.
Coffee Pork Rib Burger (Singapore)
Coffee and pork don’t make the most yummy-sounding flavor combo, but Singapore somehow makes it work. The dark brown sauce’s sweetness cancels out any bitterness from the coffee, and it does well in cutting through the fattiness of the fried slice of pork. The addition of a burger bun, lettuce and tomatoes, however, gives the dish a North American feel. The sandwich is really more of an experience, an adventurous bite for the curious foodie. Give it some time and it will take social media by storm.
Soi Lum Kochi with Chrysanthemum (China)
It may not look like much, but this Chinese dessert packs some serious flavor transitions. Sink your teeth into the stuffed mochi balls and you’ll find the flavor transforming from sweet to subtly tea-like within a matter of seconds. We’re still not sure how it happens, but we’re willing to keep eating this until we find out.
Martabak Manis (Indonesia)
You’ll know you’re at the Matarbak Manis stall when you find yourself at the end of a long, snaking line. This is the Congress’ bestseller, and its easy to see why: It’s moist and glutinous (similar to the Filipino bibingka) with a crisp shell, the toppings are colorful and sweet, and it’s built for sharing. The Matarbak Manis at the Congress is a departure from tradition, as it makes use of modern flavor combinations such as red velvet Oreo, green tea Kitkat and Nutella almond alongside the usual chocolate and cheese that’s found on the streets of Indonesia. Traditional or not, this sweet indulgence is a definite must-try. (Pro tip: line up early as it sells out pretty quickly!)