The Indoor Street Snack (Sudarium subversores)

By Leah Mennies | Boston Magazine |

Looking back through our field notes, we noticed that we’ve been plowing through more napkins than ever before—did we get messier? More likely, we’ve simply regressed from fork-and-knifing our meals to using our hands to eat everything, from grilled street corn to the tacos, skewers, and pork-belly bao that are increasingly taking up menu real estate at the city’s most stylish restaurants. Let the record show: Forks are overrated, anyway.

For the most part, these banh mi and pork-belly buns are not being installed on menus in their original form. Instead, street-food staples have become the starting points for chef-driven innovations in the form of Parmesan-infused ramen broth at Uni Sashimi Bar, the squash-and-apple filling in the crispy pierogi at Bronwyn, or the dollop of habanero crème fraîche spooned onto a dosa at Brine.

The appeal of this style of eating is simple: The food is packed with flavor and entirely unfussy to eat. For chefs, the dish structure is dictated by basic anatomical elements (tortillas, steamed bao, skewers). Playing around with these structures, then, becomes part of the fun—which is why the easiest-to-find variant, the taco, has been fancified all over town. Here, an exploration of the other phyla of world-inspired snackery.

 

WRAPS AND ROLLS

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Photographs by Bruce Peterson. Food Styling by Rowena Day/Ennis.

Trade

Black-bean enchilada: Taza chocolate mole, cabbage slaw, avocado, queso fresco.

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Shojo 

Peking duck roll: moo-shi pancake wrapper, shredded duck, scallion, cucumber, carrots, hoisin sauce.

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Brine 

Whole-wheat dosa: Wagyu beef–chickpea filling, saffron rice, habanero crème fraîche, piri-piri, fried chickpeas.

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Scampo

Roti: Malaysian-style curried chicken, cilantro, scallions, microgreens.

 

SKEWERS AND KEBABS

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Oleana

Quail kebab (two pieces per portion): crushed pistachios, baharat, dried barberries, rice cakes.

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TR Street Foods (Part of Tavern Road)

Grilled Moroccan-style turkey kebab: zucchini, cipollini onion.

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Giulia 

Duck-heart spiedini: sliced apple, mint, apple–olive oil purée, cider agrodolce.

 

BUNS AND DUMPLINGS

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Bronwyn

Pan-fried pierogi: apple-and-kabocha-squash filling, bitter-green aioli.

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Uni

Steamed bao: crispy pork belly, pickled vegetables, chili aioli, katsu sauce.

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Strip-T’s 

Takoyaki: Spanish-octopus-and-cabbage filling, octopus mayo, plum-ginger sauce, chives.

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East by Northeast

Pan-fried bao: chicken mushrooms, garlic chives, egg, roasted-garlic-and-chili sauce.

Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/restaurants/article/2013/10/29/boston-restaurants-indoor-street-snack-food/