Street food is one of many things: abundant, cheap and exotic. Each country has a wide repertoire that they are known for. Take for example the Chili Pepper Crabs of Singapore, the Chicken Satay Skewers of Malaysia, or the Egg Waffles of Hong Kong. These classics are often cooked up in stalls or kiosks that line the streets day and night and have become an attraction for both locals and tourists alike.
The challenge now for chefs is to elevate these street food classics into restaurant-quality dishes. Here are some simple steps you can do to create easy appetizer recipes that may become your restaurant’s next bestseller.
1. Give your Dish a Healthy Twist
Street food has the notorious reputation of being greasy and unhealthy, like the Dakgangjeong (deep-fried boneless Chicken Nuggets coated in a spicy sauce) of Korea or the Kwek-kwek (deep-fried orange quail eggs) of the Philippines. Don’t worry -- a bit of fried food won’t hurt, but for the health-conscious diners, you may need an arsenal of healthy recipes. Try grilling instead of frying, or even lessening the amount of oil used works like a charm. You can even create vegetarian versions or ketogenic diet recipes for those with special dietary needs. And if your guests can’t bear to part with the deep-fried crispy goodness that street food has to offer, you can even add it on top of salads!
2. Use Different Ingredients
The same old dishes can be boring for diners, most especially given that everyone else is doing the same thing. It even means more competition, so you need to step up your game to stand out! Get away from all that noise and just add a creative twist to your dishes with the use of Asian ingredients. Try using Yuzu to add acidity instead of lemons, or Sriracha instead of peppers to add heat. Or better yet, check out trending ingredients and use them to create bestselling dishes.
3. Add Flair to your Presentation
You eat with your eyes too -- not just your mouth. Visual presentation is very important for a dish to stand out, and it can even make a dish look expensive. Instead of just serving your dish with some garnish, try something eye-catching. Hollow out your pineapple and use it as a bowl for your Pineapple Fried Rice. You can even do the same for coconut, especially for soups. Apply sauces and garnishes that add a pop of color and complement the flavors of your dishes. The objective is to add to the dining experience and create a feast for the senses. You’ll be the talk of the town for sure!
Get Started with these Easy Appetizer Recipes!
1. Tom Yam Cauliflower Poppers with Aioli Dip
Tom Yam, a popular Thai ingredient, isn’t just for soup. You can use its sour-spicy flavors as a glaze for deep-fried cauliflower poppers to start the meal with a bang! Remember to serve it up with some creamy aioli to temper its wild flavors.
2. BBQ Tiger Prawns Skewer with Peanut Sauce
Satay is an Indonesian peanut sauce that can complement all sorts of meat. Create an elevated version of this well-loved street food dish that guests can share by using prawns and plating it up with some metal skewers.
3. Salted Egg Chips
Singapore is known for all things salted egg. They’ve created dishes coated in this creamy, salty stuff -- from Salted Egg Prawns, to Salted Egg Chicken! Create an appetizer dish with some crunch by cooking it with potato chips! Add a bit of sugar and curry leaves so that the egg flavor doesn’t get too rich and overpowering.