What do you imagine when you think of street food?
Can you hear the hawkers in Singapore? Revel in the colorful ingredients at a taquería (taco stand) in Mexico? Taste gelato in Italy? Smell freshly made french fries in the U.S.?
Street foods – or convenience foods – can hide in plain sight, but when you pause to observe them, it can transport you into a whole new world.
This spring, students at Colorado State University’s “Food in Society” course did just that. Throughout the semester, students researched street foods from around the world. From Japan’s onigiri to Ghana’s jollof rice, student groups dove into the history and culture of street food in their chosen country. What does the dish taste like? When was the food invented and are there similar dishes in other countries? Who eats the food and when? And how would you market the dish to Americans who may never have heard of it.
The final twist? The student groups then had to try their hand at making the food they researched and bring it in for the class.
Steaming pans of Israeli/Palestinian khachapuri, Australian meat pies, and Indian pav bhaji decorated the tables of Professor Jeffrey Miller’s classroom. For the final presentation, students shared the origins of the ingredients, role as food for working classes throughout history, and how some dishes were eaten at holidays. They talked about the process of trying to make unfamiliar dishes from scratch and dishes that they were reminded of in the process. The presentation concluded with a potluck of street foods from around the world.
Over the next few weeks, the Museum of Food and Culture will develop a virtual exhibit from the student projects and about street food around the world. We were thrilled to work with the hospitality students at CSU!
In the meantime, check out the the foods that the student groups researched:
Meat Pies (image above)
Dumplings (image above)
Israel & Palestine
Khachapuri (image above)
Pirozhi (image above)
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