When I first moved to Paris 10 years ago, street food basically consisted of (i) rancid kebabs – I remember a local newspaper tested 100 randomly-chosen kebabs in a lab and 50 of them had traces of fecal matter (ii) ghastly crepes filled with rotten cheese that leaked engine-fluid like grease that literally burnt through clothes (iii) Incinerated “chestnuts.” Parisians definitely didn’t take kindly to having a bite on the street: They found it uncouth and seemed especially unhappy to burn through their fashionable outfits with nuclear crepe grease.
Like so many parts of the Parisian culinary scene, things have changed… big time. The first food trucks appeared in 2009, spearheaded by the now famous hamburger van Le Camion qui Fume. It was a rough start, with all sorts of permit issues and tussles with the authorities. A few years later, food trucks were popping up all around the city serving burgers, tacos etc. to the Hipsteratii of Paris. Now they are an institution. “Street food festivals” are being held around the city and an insane amount of new trucks – some distinctly Francophile and other completely Brooklynified – are showing up on street corners around the city.
I checked out the “Festival de la Street Food” [actual name] this weekend. A few snaps:
The festival was held at the temple to Paris Hipsterdom – the newly-renovated Carreau de Temple. Food trucks were parked in front (and inside) of the massive 19th-century cast iron structure. The lines of hipsters were 100+ deep only a few hours into the festival.
Tacos and other “consumables” (cupcakes, burgers, bagels, beer) have been a mainstay of the new Paris “Broukligne” culinary scene. So it only makes sense that taco trucks would materialize. This one – El Tacot – was our favorite truck at the festival. No-nonsense tacos, fresh, good value, quick service.
Inside the Carreau de Temple – overpriced but nice dumplings.
Yup, a “New York Deli” style food truck with mutant bagels. Must be the water here….
Bretons checking out a bride. I didn’t try their crepes but they looked distinctly non-nuclear.
The rare “Gallic” participant.
Honey and waffle cones! Cultivated on the roof of the Carreau!!
Fish and chips! It’s a strange world..
Keep in mind that only a few years ago, there were very few vegetarian options in Paris. It was a struggle to entertain visiting Americans. Now you can get veggie hot dogs on the street. Times are a-changing.