Many think of ‘street food’ as hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, etc. Nevertheless, if you travel to Italy, street food is something different.
Eating a meal when walking is nothing new. Its origin goes back a to very long time ago and it was, for sure, the first feeding way humans adopted. Sitting around the fire, eating a meal whilst trying to communicate will come later, as the first social attempt to interact with others.
In Italy, street food leads to the sea and to ports. Fishermen used to sail back to their home and in ports they would be reached by poor people asking for free food. Not all fish was considered good for the market and for this reason fishermen would handle it over to those in need. This custom would last for a long time: still after the Second World War in small hamlets on the sea, you would have seen fishermen grilling small fish on skewers for themselves and for transients. That was also a simple, easy way to look after your neighbors in need and to help them to afford one meal a day, at least
Nowadays, street food is a fashionable way to hang around with friends…. There are many festivals in Italy you may attend, celebrating it. In May there will be a ‘Fish Street Food Festival’ in Genoa, on the Riviera, where you can taste amazing blue fish straight from the ‘paranze’ (Mediterranean fish boat), which will fry and grill, at a very affordable price, for anyone. You will be served in a conic paper wrapping containing a hot mix of blue fish. Here, you are at the ‘Porto Antico’, where you also find many small not-touristic trattorias, in case you want to add some pasta, such as ‘trofie with pesto sauce’ to your street food.
The more you travel Southern Italy, the more typical street food is easy to find. The capital is Naples, which has a long tradition of fritters, ‘pizza a portafoglio’ and potatoes ‘crocchè’. You can only lick your fingers and stop at Piazza Bellini (the gay area in Naples) and try a Limoncello aperitif, just to complete your Neapolitan food experience. Not forgetting fried cheese and ‘mozzarella in carrozza’ served with fried vegetables.
As food usually does, it conveys the sense of place, the local experience and knowledge. Food is the best way to live like a local and this is so true when talking about traditions and every-day life.
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