For lunch, Bordeaux and I were craving street-food. Thankfully, there are a number of stands crowded on the sidewalks and alleys around the school where we teach. Within ten yards of the school's gates, we'd found a delicious plate of fried rice. It was perfect in a satisfyingly greasy street-food way, and served with a wedge of lime that added a nice slightly tart note.
Watching the woman prepare the dish out on the sidewalk was of course part of the fun. I'm always impressed by the way these chefs set up their street-side kitchens. They need to have everything that they'll need with them, right on hand. Some of them have it easy; all the pancake makers need, for example, is a griddle and a plastic pitcher full of batter. But others, like the woman who made our fried-rice, have to devise far more complicated set ups. She needed a container for her steamed rice, a basket of eggs, a bowl of raw chicken, several plates of fresh vegetables, small dishes for chili powder and spices, a cutting board, and a few bottles of seasoning sauces, all within reach of her wok.
We walked down the street a little, feeling almost full, when we were tempted by the local samosa lady. She also had an interesting set up. She made two kind of samosas, savory or sweet, and next to her wok she had each of the ingredients in a separate bowl: mushrooms, cabbage, cashews, onions, and carrots. Not only is it an easy form of organization, but having all of the fresh, tasty ingredients on show acts as a great method of advertisement. I'd had a sweet samosa before, made with cashews and custard. Today we tried a savory one: it was served in a plastic bag, hot enough to burn my fingers, and with a white-pepper flavored filling that tasted like an American egg roll.