“When it’s done properly, taco should be a verb.” Aside from being a witty and obvious culinary truth, that clever soundbite, spoken by Jonathan Gold, seems to best sum up the greatest of all street food experiences. Street food — beyond its novelty, affordability and convenience — is really just one big tasty verb. It’s not just the act of eating or the act of being served street-side or cooking or purchasing… it’s a unique culinary interaction that stands on its own and is very different from other dining experiences.
This, among other discussion points, were here heard yesterday at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, where KCRW and the SMC Associates presented a sold-out panel focusing on global street food. Host Evan Kleinman of KCRW’s Good Food was joined on stage by guests Jonathan Gold of LA Weekly, Gustavo Arellano of OC Weekly and Chef Jet Tila. Meanwhile, participants Lesley Tellez and Robyn Eckhardt, both writers and street food tour guides, joined via Skype from Mexico and Malaysia, respectively.
Attendees listened as the panelists discussed everything from kaya toast to tacos, from Neopolitan ‘sushi’ vendors to eloteros, from mobile trucks to street hawkers, and more. After the stage event, guests were treated to a sampling of global street food from five of LA’s street food trucks: Mariscos Jalisco, India Jones Chow Truck, Let’s Be Frank, Piaggio Gourmet on Wheels, andÂ Nom Nom Truck.
KCRW is no stranger when it comes to putting on a great show and this was another terrific event. The talk was juicy, the food was savory and the weather was gorgeous… could you ask for anything more on a lazy Sunday LA afternoon?
Check out KCRW’s Good Food blog, where images of global street food were collected in advance of the show. A piece of advice: don’t do it on an empty stomach!