My wife and I just got back from a trip to Paris and I thought I’d take a few days here on the blog to share some reflections. The first thing I wanted to talk about was shopping cart street food.
I’ve got an interest in street food. Besides liking snacks and the variety one tends to find in street food vendors, I’ve got a friend living abroad in China who runs a regular YouTube show about street food. Watching his very cool show regularly got me paying more attention to this…and the shopping carts.
We were in the Saint-Denis neighborhood one evening. This neighborhood is kind of sketchy for tourists. It isn’t bad, but it’s certainly not like the majority of Paris tourists stick to. It’s much less affluent, and has few police regularly hanging about to make sure things don’t happen. Like I said, it isn’t bad, but definitely not what most Paris tourists are expecting to get into. We needed to be there though because we were seeing a production of Molier’s The Learned Ladies (a really well done production, by the way) and didn’t get there until well after dark. We walked off the train and I saw a huge crowd of shopping carts in a crowded square. They were food vendors.
These guys had actually balanced a tin of hot coals on top of a shopping cart and were cooking food on top. Some were ears of corn, but most were meat on a stick. I kind of wanted to get something, but I didn’t really want to take out money in the crowd that was around. My wife was also hesitant about meat from a shopping cart. I also wanted to take a picture, but didn’t really feel like taking my phone out to do so (the likelihood someone random would grab it and run seemed high).
Regardless, it seemed cool. I hadn’t seen shopping cart street food vendors before. I saw one later selling roasted chestnuts in a similar fashion outside the Galeries Lafayette (which I didn’t end up having time to stop for), so it must be becoming a thing. Still, I hadn’t seen it before and it struck me as kind of an odd thing. Lowest budget food cart operations that I’ve ever seen.
In any event, I kind of had to feel sorry for the guy who had a plastic shopping cart instead of a metal one. That didn’t seem very long term given the pan of hot coals.