How to source the best street food: the one question you need to ask

Street food traders earn respect for the quality of the handcrafted food they undoubtedly pour blood, sweat and tears into. As such, a common assumption is that street food is fundamentally better quality, serving at least free-range meat.

Sustainable food is a big food trend this year, but surprisingly this is one area where street food isn’t always ahead of the curve.

So, the question we all need to be asking is: “Where is your meat from?”

“Where is your meat from?”

Have you ever actually asked a street food trader where their meat is sourced from? Even in this food-lovers haven it can feel like a really awkward question and I’m genuinely shocked to discover how little many of the sellers can tell me about the provenance of their food.

On recent visits to two markets, only one trader could tell me the name of the farm they used.

“I should know that, but I don’t,” said one.

“It’s technically free range,” said another, not exactly filling me with confidence.

One founder told me I was the first person to question where their meat was from in a year and a half and for that reason they just can’t justify the extra cost of humanely-reared meat.

Profit margins are clearly imperative to the success of any small business – and the growth and innovation of street food is a feat to be celebrated. But I can’t be the only one who thinks “technically free range” isn’t good enough from the people who build their brands around a passion for good, honest grub.

I’m delighted to support the little guy and I expect to pay a bit extra to eat a great dish cooked-up by an individual rather than the same-old lunch choices seen in every high-street chain. But I also think it’s reasonable to expect this extra cost to be passed on to individual farmers who are also fighting the bigger industrial farms to create great-tasting and nutritious meat from  humanely farmed animals.

As consumers we’re at the top of this food chain and the choices we make have great influence, which is why it’s so important to ask “Where is your meat from?”

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