A couple days ago the best foodie blog in all the land, Serious Eats, posed the question: "Is street food the new bacon?'
"Street food has definitely entered a new era, maybe even reaching the faddish extremes of bacon. Last week the Wall Street Journal was yet another publication to notice that the new breed of street food 'is aggressively gourmet, tech-savvy and politically correct.'"
The trend, they say, is on fire in NYC and California, and top chefs are even taking part, most recently at a gourmet street food challenge fundraiser in New York. "On the menu: funnel cake with orange blossom honey, Nova Scotia lobster rolls, and grilled lamb with black cardamom dressing in homemade pita."
You know a trend is white hot when it makes it to Charleston as fast as it has. In just the past few weeks, local street food options have moved beyond boiled peanuts and taco stands to include Tokyo Crepes at Folly and now the Street Foods cart, a roving seasonal, gourmet venture run by Culinary Institute of Aemrica grad Adam Howard that set up at the Custom House during Piccolo Spoleto and sold "neo-Japanese street foods" like soba noodle with shrimp and mango, and braised pork belly steamed buns. At the Hampton Park Piccolo finale, they featured an Oaxacan menu fresh mahi tacos, braised pork in mole roja, and fried churros. And they'll be in the Navy Yard at North Chuck for their regular lunch station beginning June 15, from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. In the evenings, they'll rove from place to place. For more information about the seasonal, farm-to-table food cart, check out their Facebook group.
Charleston Roadside Food, another Facebook group of street-food followers, is attempting to map and chart the various roadside joints, breaking them down into three categories: boiled peanut stands, taco trucks, and crepe stands.
They also link to an infrequently updated blog, charting musician and taco lover Bill Carson's adventures with the Lowcountry's various Mexican food stands.
No local food stands seem to be using Twitter yet, but Adam at Street Foods tells us he will be soon. The technology will allow them to tweet locations to their followers. Cali's most famous Korean taco truck — Kogi BBQ — has been known to attract hundreds of hungry late-night foodsters to its various locations, helping establish street food as the hottest trend this side of bacon.