Street Foods: Urban Food and Employment in Developing Countries

By Irene Tinker | Go to book overview

PART I
CITIES AND THEIR STREET FOODS

The foods we eat, what foods we think it proper to buy or eat on the street, who makes those foods, when we eat those foods--all of these factors vary by culture and climate. To enable the reader to appreciate this variety, and to understand the context in which the sector operates, this section presents sketches of the seven provincial cities studied directly under the EPOC Street Foods Project and describes their distinctive street foods. Recipes of a few favorite street foods in each country are included.

The classification of foods in each city reflects local attitudes to food in general and street foods in particular. One term, "meal constituents," requires explanation: in the case studies it is used to indicate foods that are usually eaten with something else, either on site or at home. Individual servings of these constituents provide variety in the diet. In Ife customers purchase sauces or stews to eat over steamed ground beans or a corn meal loaf, for example. In the Philippines, constitutents are the various dishes offered customers as accompaniment to the rice or noodles they will eat at the enterprise; in Thailand, housewives often purchase similar constituents to take home and serve over rice that they prepare in their electric cookers. In Senegal, most constituents are taken home since eating on the streets is not a cultural tradition.

Each case study portrays the distinctive characteristics of the city that affect street food vendors and their trade. The focus is on the ambience surrounding the activity and on the reality of vendor's experiences rather than the statistical details, which are reviewed for all the studies in Part II. Throughout the book, emphasis is given to the long-term impact, direct or indirect, of the Street Food study on the street food vendors and their relationship to the government. The accumulated power of these findings brings new insights to the nature of microenterprises, the interventions that really help improve income and food safety, and the gender aspects of the street food trade. The concluding chapter illustrates their potential to reframe debates across these many discourses.

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