The “Street Food” fad and why we fall in love with authenticity


“Street Food” is not really a new concept in the French culinary landscape. Traditionally, we eat a “butter ham” baguette or a savory pancake on the go. But until recently, finding a slightly more exotic option on the streets of Paris wasn’t very easy, apart from a standard Asian kebab or deli. In fact, most of the foreign dishes were very much adapted to the tastes of the French: toned down spices, simplified ingredients and modified recipes to approach the standards of French cuisine. But our habits are changing. Millennials in France like to travel and care less about the rules of haute cuisine: they long for the exotic flavors of an increasingly international world. The rather standard Asian caterers found on every corner of Paris no longer do the job. Consumers are increasingly looking for authentic and original culinary experiences. Travel and exoticism, at the heart of our culinary desires Traveling is easier and more accessible than ever. This means that many consumers are familiar with foreign culinary specialties: they may have already tasted a corn dog in New York, a burrito in Monterey, or an okonomiyaki pancake in Tokyo. And when they return home, they wish they could relive those exotic culinary experiences, and they won’t be seduced by a “French-style” imitation. As a result, “Street Food” quickly found its audience in France and elsewhere. Today, the internationalization of food can no longer be based on the adaptation of a culinary specialty to local tastes, today it is necessary to offer consumers a unique cultural experience. That said, it’s interesting to note that international street food brands tend to share many common traits: they offer dishes that often consist of empanadas/breads surrounding foods that can be prepared at home and kept warm for long periods of time. . But the growing popularity of “Street Food” brands and our growing enthusiasm for authentic and exotic cuisine, doesn’t just have to be “handy and quick”. The idea of ​​authenticity also evokes the notion of quality. Street Food: A Legitimate Culinary Experience In normal times, we buy a sandwich, not because we really want to, but simply because we don’t have time to do otherwise. Street food can certainly be practical because it’s eaten on the go, but you can also make a perfectly decent meal out of it and want to eat it. In other words, 21st century street food has become a legitimate dining experience. Although it is generally cheap, consumers are more selective. They are no longer satisfied with just any kebab, they increasingly expect high-quality ingredients and a combination of flavors. In fact, some of the top chefs are navigating this street food / “take away” trend to find new sources of income. This is often the case with chefs with one or two Michelin stars. They feel a lot of financial pressure, especially when they spend their energies and resources to get a new star. In fact, Street Food allows you to create volume, and the question of the number of available seats no longer arises. This growing market allows chefs to adapt their business model to meet the expectations of new generations. During April 9, 10 and 11, ESSEC embarks on an educational innovation that brings together entrepreneurship and operational optimization of a “fast-good” restaurant concept, STREET Bangkok Local Food. The start-up STREET, founded by Norman Kolton, a graduate of the ESSEC MBA in Hospitality Management in 2014 and incubated by ESSEC Ventures, will install a prototype of its (future) “street food” restaurant at K-Lab Thai of the ESSEC. ESSEC students will test the concept, optimize processes and flows and improve the customer experience.
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