Eating in the Streets: Adelaide’s Food Revolution

By Samantha McDonnell

Image by Josh Evans

A new craze has made its way to the city of Adelaide. Known worldwide as the City of Churches it appears to have become the City of Food Trucks in recent months.

This mobile food vendor trend offers a range of different cuisines, bringing global flavours to the people of Adelaide in an innovative way.

The warmth of the spring sun beats down, a welcome change from months of heavy rain and the blustery winds of winter. It’s perfect weather to travel, purse in hand and water bottle at the ready; and so, I begin my food journey.

The popularity of food vendors in Adelaide has opened a portal: a gateway into a trendy and culturally-rich way of eating. Angus Kiley of Low and Slow American BBQ attributes the recent popularity of mobile food vendors not only to a generally increased interest in food but also to their ‘stand out from the crowd’ appeal. Eating from food trucks has become social and hip.

A plethora of tantalising smells waft; spices pepper the air and tease my senses. I am drawn in every direction—my taste buds tingling, eager to sample the exotic cuisines that surround me.

A flash of orange catches my eye and suddenly I am transported, no longer wandering the streets of Adelaide. The sounds of the Mediterranean can be heard, traditional folk music and enthusiastic singing rings out. Immaculate architecture looms, carrying with it an abundance of history. From Sicilian to English to Spanish, the flavours of the Malta nation entice. The pastry known as pastizzi, a typical Maltese snack, sits in my palm; its golden, crisp exterior almost glints in the sunlight. My teeth sink into the pastry with a delightful crunch. The delicious silkiness of ricotta and spinach melts in my mouth. Having never tried Maltese food before, I am in a state of bliss.

As I begin the trek to my next destination, I am struck by spinning flares of red—beautiful women twirl to an enchanting and ferocious guitar melody. Spreads of vibrant dishes line the tables, pans full of prawns sit upon bright beds of rice.

Extravagant buildings emanate fairy-tale beauty with their decadent archways and elegant towers that reach into the sky. The paper container is warm to the touch, yellow rice and an array of seafood rest inside. My lips purse, the fragrant scent of paprika and garlic float upward and I can no longer hold back.

A heap of paella sits precariously on the fork, and before any stray grains can fall I bring it to my mouth. Bold flavours flit across my tongue in a mad fervour; it is unlike any other food I’ve tasted.

The food is utterly delicious and a fundamental part of what attracts its customers. As stated by David Porcaro of Delectaballs, “I would attribute this to a growing and more disconcerting population, wanting a variety of unique and delicious foods that has an originality and style to it.”

As I move on to the next point in my food travels, I find myself moving from the lively streets of Spain to the more subdued footpaths of Germany.

The classic scores of composers like Ludwig Van Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach came from this nation. I can almost hear the swelling crescendos of their musical genius. A cultural hub not only with art and music but also architecture—both brick gothic and brick expressionism developed in Germany—and the food is not to be missed either.

For Michelin stars, German restaurants have become the world’s second most decorated after France.

The kransky, served by Wienerbago Gourmet, is a gourmet sausage rich with complex flavours of spices and cheese. The skin casing is a tender treat, not chewy in the least. The smells of frying onions tantalise my senses, reminding me of afternoons spent at the local football club on a Sunday afternoon. Light, fluffy mashed potato lies beneath a mountain of sausage and cheese. The first bite is heavenly.

The next stop is one that offers a range of beautiful dishes, flavours that have become a fixture within the Australian diet. The air is sticky and hot, stalls line the streets, each one smelling as delicious as the one before. The streets are crowded – a seemingly endless stream of people mill about. Rice noodles are tossed in a wok; sauces are poured into the pan with a practised finesse. Soy, chilli, and a small quantity of belachan colour the white noodles. Prawns are thrown in and mixed amongst the noodles. In moments, the dish is ready. The combination of flavours is mouth-watering.

This Asian cuisine is another one of the many available through the mobile food vendors who have gained popularity over the last year or two. And, if the success of this phenomenon is anything to go by, food vendors are here to stay.

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