Street Food, what is it?

Street Food is a concept of food made at the moment, ready to eat and sold in a street or public place, by street sellers, often in a mobile tent or even on wheels.

Street Food is a phenomenon, a novelty and a tendency for all those interested in gastronomy. Street food has become an almost mandatory component in the tourist offers, allowing their enrichment and diversification.

It has become a trend in the world, and Portugal is no exception. Portugal is also well known for their gastronomy, which attracts many and more tourists.

"Street food is gonna be the most important trend in the world of gastronomy for the years to come"
From the study "Tendências Em Turismo Gastronómico" by AYR Consulting 2015

Origin of Street Food

The concept ofStreet Foodis not new, it's actually quite old

It all started in ancient Greece, where fried fish were part of street food. The most poor people had no kitchens at home, so they had to eat in the streets. Just as in China, food was also served to the poorer population, while the richer citizens sent their employees to buy the street food to be consumed by themselves in their homes. 

French fries were probably the origin of street food, In the 1840s, the famous french friesemerged in Paris.

Although some of the street food has regional origins most of it eventually expanded beyond its region of origin. Most street food is also classified as finger food and fast food where, on average, it is cheaper than a meal served in a restaurant. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2.5 billion people used street food daily in 2007.

Origin of the Food Truck

After the Civil War, many people started looking for new opportunities, crossing the country. This expansion created a huge need for food, and to fulfill this need, ranchers travelled enormous distances transporting cattle from one side of the country to the other, and as the railroads had not yet reached those surroundings, they ended up staying several months on the roads, with little food to eat.

In 1866, Charles Goodnight, as he prepared for the long trip to take his cattle from Texas to the state of New Mexico, had the idea of buying a wagon that had belonged to the Army and adapting it with a kitchen.

In 1872, a salesman named Walter Scott cut windows in a small covered wagon and parked it in front of a local newspaper office in Providence, and decided to sell pies and coffee to rushed journalists and press officers, who often worked late.

After several decades, Mexican immigrants brought the "taco truck" culture to California and the concept gradually diversified, but for a long time food trucks were synonymous of hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream and, of course, tacos.

The revival of food trucks emerged at the end of the year 2000 in the USA with the start of the economic recession. Since they were a cheaper and easier way to bring food to their consumers.

Over the years, there has been a continuous improvement in the quality and variety of products in this sector, although they are made in small spaces, the trucks, are prepared and sanitized in order to provide the highest quality of confection.

The food truck's own design and its exposure to the target public already serve as highly effective promotional items. The food trucks are a tourist resource in some destinations, and the presence of salesmen in the locations brings more life and color to these destinations and eventually attracts tourists.

First Street Food Festival in Portugal

The first street food festival in Portugal took place from April 4 to 12, 2015 in the gardens of Casino do Estoril, in Cascais. According to Agência Lusa (2015), this festival brought together about 50 entrepreneurs in this field and more than 100 thousand visitors, resulting in a total turnover of about 350 thousand euros.