Art & Culture

The Importance of Street Food Culture

Marc Gordon
Apr 06, 2023

Street food is a type of food that is typically ready-to-eat, although that isn’t necessary, and is served by a hawker or vendor in a public space. Usually, the street foods are regional, which means that items differ from region to region, although this too is not entirely necessary. Social processes like globalization have allowed street food to cross oceans and borders. Street food culture is all about consuming these dishes in a communal setting, which has a range of benefits on a global scale.

Firstly, street food is necessary for cultural empowerment across the world, but more so in Eastern regions. Eastern street food deviates from a more American hotdog or bagel-centric street food. They involve particular recipes that are often passed down from generation to generation, and so having a rich street food culture helps ensure that the recipe doesn’t die out.

Having a rich street food culture offers a range of benefits to the community at large as well. South Korean and Japanese street food joints are notorious for their ability to instill a sense of community. They owe this ability largely to the structure of most carts, which allow multiple people to sit together opposite the vendor, creating the perfect environment for conversation. For Western street food, this sense of community building revolves primarily on a one-to-one relationship with certain vendors. It allows individuals to feel welcome in the community whilst they enjoy a hearty meal.

Street food culture globally also has a huge economic importance to communities and individuals alike. From the producer end, it is easy to set up your business – owing to cheap set-up and maintenance costs – while on the consumer side it is cheap to consume. This allows individuals to support themselves and their families with a certain degree of ease.