Zurich Street Food Festival

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{A delicious Vietnamese sizzling crêpe from the Restaurant Saigon stand.}

{A delicious Vietnamese sizzling crêpe from the Restaurant Saigon stand.}

The Zurich Street Food Festival was in full swing this past weekend, this time along the scenic banks of Lake Zurich with the Swiss Alps providing a stunning backdrop. The diversity of cuisines prepared by the food stands and food trucks was a welcome surprise in a city where the local fare is often limited to cheese, sausages and potatoes. From Austrian dumplings to Yemeni pancakes, with various burger outlets and Asian dumplings also proving popular, visitors were treated to a sumptuous array of international cuisine, served by friendly and passionate chefs and cooks.

Street food is often synonymous with fast food, but rather than being confined to a sit-down meal in a restaurant, street food is as its name suggests – food which is prepared and eaten on the streets. Throughout south-east Asia, street food markets abound where diners can grab cheap and quick food from stalls often specialising in just one or two dishes, the recipes for which have been perfected and passed down in the family-run business from generation to generation. It is interesting to see this concept spread to other countries and cultures, and at the recent Zurich Street Food Festival, it was particularly exciting to have so many different cuisines represented in one event.

The secret to a successful street food stand is to offer a menu limited to just a few items, sometimes just one, and to execute it quickly and perfectly. Many stands stuck to this formula and delivered top-notch food to the delighted visitors. The Palestine Grill was one of the most popular food trucks at the event, both with their edgy ensemble and delicious wraps on offer. But, at the risk of being perceived as biased, my favourite was the Restaurant Saigon stand where Vietnamese sizzling crêpes (or Banh Xeo) were the main attraction. Crisp and crunchy pancakes wrapped around a light filling of stir-fried vegetables with either chicken or tofu, and accompanied by the requisite herbs and lettuce cups, they were a delight to eat.

The French crêpe stand, on the other hand, missed the brief on street food. Not only did they offer a complicated menu of eight or more different crêpe fillings, and also allowed customers to design their own fillings, their crêpes were made to order at a snail’s pace, two at a time. Even the batter was made on the go (ignoring traditional convention to rest the crêpe batter for several hours). The results were, unfortunately, thick and doughy crêpes, as well as an hour-long queue of frustrated and disappointed customers. We learnt from our mistake and headed straight to the churros stand the following evening which had a long but quickly-moving queue, as well as hot, crispy churros for the devoted.

The excellent fare on offer at this event, as well as the central lakeside location, made this particular street food festival a resounding success. I’m looking forward to the next instalment!

{A large raviolone, filled with spinach & ricotta, makes for a handy and easy-to-eat street food snack.}

{A large raviolone, filled with spinach & ricotta, makes for a handy and easy-to-eat street food snack.}

{Gnocchi with pesto on a stick - a smart snack idea.}

{Gnocchi with pesto on a stick – a smart snack idea.}

{Japanese fried chicken, or karaage, with Japanese mayonnaise & lemon}

{Japanese fried chicken, or karaage, with Japanese mayonnaise & lemon}

{Burguette, a marriage between a burger and a baguette. Love the George Clooney option!}

{Burguette, a marriage between a burger and a baguette. Love the George Clooney option!}

{The Palestine Grill was one of the most popular food trucks at the festival.}

{The Palestine Grill was one of the most popular food trucks at the festival.}

{Vietnamese sizzling crêpes, or Banh Xeo, in the making at the Restaurant Saigon stand.}

{Vietnamese sizzling crêpes, or Banh Xeo, in the making at the Restaurant Saigon stand.}

{Some wok action at the Restaurant Saigon stand.}

{Some wok action at the Restaurant Saigon stand.}

{The Korean BBQ stand with glimpses of the stunning Lake Zurich in the background.}

{The Korean BBQ stand with glimpses of the stunning Lake Zurich in the background.}

{The Kaffee & Kamele food truck serving coffee with profiteroles.}

{The Kaffee & Kamele food truck serving coffee with profiteroles.}

{My kind of food truck! Profiteroles with assorted fillings and sauces on offer.}

{My kind of food truck! Profiteroles with assorted fillings and sauces on offer.}

{Freshly prepared Tibetan dumplings.}

{Freshly prepared Tibetan dumplings.}

{Burgers were popular at this year's street food festival. I loved this retro green food truck!}

{Burgers were popular at this year’s street food festival. I loved this retro green food truck!}

{Banh Mi, or Vietnamese baguettes, served on low plastic stools and tables, just like in Vietnam.}

{Banh Mi, or Vietnamese baguettes, served on low plastic stools and tables, just like in Vietnam.}

{Local Swiss food was also popular, including this raclette stand.}

{Local Swiss food was also popular, including this raclette stand.}

{Japanese Takoyaki on offer.}

{Japanese Takoyaki on offer.}

{Truffle Eggs, cooked at 65°C, for an upmarket street food option.}

{Truffle Eggs, cooked at 65°C, for an upmarket street food option.}

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6 Comments

  1. louise | Cygnet Kitchen 8 September 2015

    This looks like a great event and the perfect opportunity to try some new dishes, Thanh. It is not often that you find George Clooney on the menu either! 😉

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 11 September 2015

      Indeed! 😉 I love food festivals like these, especially since the diversity of restaurants in Zurich is not so great. I felt a bit sad when the event came to a close!

      Reply
  2. Paula 11 September 2015

    I love those festivals!! Even if always bother me that you have to pick, you can’t eat everything you would love to. Frustrating!!!!

    The raviolone is love!!! Oh!!!!!

    Thanks for sharing, Thanh, I love this stuff!!!!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 21 September 2015

      I get very excited about these festivals, too … as you can tell! 😉 And you’re right – there is always so much to try and eat. That’s why we went 3 days in a row! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Rushi 13 September 2015

    Oh my, I wish I was there… Everything looks so divine. Asian streetfood brings back a lot of memories, ha ha ha.. Food festivals are just awesome, however I feel like you have to create a few clones, just so you can sample all the wares. Oh completely off topic but Thanh did I tell you that I love the new blog look, it’s very streamlined… 🙂
    xx

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 21 September 2015

      We were lucky to be able to go to the festival 3 days in a row, so we could try a few different stands each day. These sorts of festivals are quite rare in Zurich, so it was very exciting for me 🙂 And I’m glad you like the new look! I had to update the website to make it mobile-friendly, but tried to keep the design similar to the last one. Hope you’ll enjoy the little changes around here.

      Reply

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