Last year, we visited Dalian, a city on the Northeastern coast of China, and Hong Kong, where we sought out a wide variety of local street food stalls. We love these operations not just for culinary reasons, but also for the transparent and economical inventiveness of the proprietors. Unlike a restaurant, many street food vendors specialize in only one or two things. This specificity allows the stalls to be tiny and efficient, helped along by home-made food preparation machines (see the cast iron corn roaster in one of the photos below) and a rigid mise-en-place. The specialized tools, practiced techniques, and high turnover rates of street food vendors are as exciting to us as any high level production process, and we thought it high time to share some of our experiences to accompany the collection of miniatures we posted in the shop when we returned.
Above is a snapshot of little dino-bread figurines on display at a steamed bun shop, made by the vendor's son while hanging out with his father at work.
A handmade corn roasting machine in Dalian, China.
This dish is called Chee Cheong Fun, or "Pig Intestine Noodles," named so because of the cylindrical shapes. The dish is in fact vegetarian. Glutinous rice noodles are steamed and covered in a variety of sauces. So good at any time of the day, and eaten with sticks.
Macanese food is a mix of Portuguese and Chinese cuisine, found only in Macau. There's nothing like these buttery, brûléed egg tarts, served with sweet and milky ice coffee.
Taiwanese Snow Ice is made by thinly shaving a flavored ice into cascading ribbons and topping with fruits, jellys, condensed milk, and other things of weird shapes. Pictured here is a mango ice with dragonfruit, mango ice, and mango sauce. Not as good as in Taiwan, but we came back at least three times.
Dalian is far enough north that it's been heavily influenced by Russian and Japanese cuisine. We came across this beachside yakitori barbecue where skewers of meat were sprinkled with cumin, and eggplants and bread rolls were grilled whole.
Sorry if this made you hungry and all you have is a snack-size zip-lock full of raw almonds. More of our favorite street food experiences in the photos below.