The reason for street food’s greatness, says DWB, is that it is made by a vendor or chef who specializes in a single item or a single type of food for many years. This happens under intense competition from other vendors also making the same type of food, usually for “a very discerning local crowd familiar with that very dish,” says DWB. Chefs hone their skill on a single dish, and only the best survive. “Cost aside, a restaurant kitchen with non-native (relating to the food) cooks will have a difficult if not impossible task replicating true street foods,” says DWB.

exilekiss still dreams about the “down-to-earth, pure, focused street food” he had in Hong Kong, at about 75 cents an item. Or the atole de guayaba—a hot masa drink with guava—exilekiss got from “the chatty old lady at Breed Street here in East LA. I seriously still smile every time I think about that drink.”

Board Link: The Essence of Great Street Food

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