By Rani Chehal-Bassi
These are definitely not the most bizarre food items in the world, but more rather than less will find them super tasty. While some are unique and inventive, others are just plain and fun classics, made to be eaten in a more exciting form. It’s also nice to be able to grab one of these after a day of sight-seeing and having no bathroom in sight in order to wash your hands. This is indeed great grub for a backpacker or adventure seeking traveler!
If you find yourself wandering the markets in Seoul, make sure to try some famous Korean street food. A popular one is odeng (fish cakes on a stick). If you don’t know what fish cake is, it is basically mashed up fish, mixed with flour, vegetables, and seasonings. When all of these ingredients are combined, it is turned into a thick paste and you can either cook it by frying it or steaming it. There are many different varieties of odeng that are available for you to try and devour.
The origin of key lime pie has been traced back to the late 19th century in the Key West, an island off of the Florida peninsula. Traditionally, key lime pie is an American dessert made of key lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk in a pie crust. Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe takes it a step further and dips a slice of the tangy pie into Belgian chocolate and slaps it on a stick. Sweet and tangy in one shot, this is definitely one of the most decadent popsicles you will ever have.
Every year in the city of Toronto there is the C.N.E. (The Canadian National Exhibition). Usually held sometime around August, it is Canada's largest annual fair. There are many delights to be had, but one in particular is a huge hit; pizza on a stick by Mamma’s Pizza Shop. Nope, it’s not your ordinary slice of pizza. It is almost the size of a human head and of course on a stick to make the experience unbelievable. Many Ontario residents rave that this is a highlight that must be experienced when visiting the “EX”… as the locals call it.
Candied Haw (aka Tanghulu) in China is a traditional snack often found in Beijing. The candied Haw with a sweet-sour taste is enjoyed by people of all ages. The red hawthorn berries are coated with crystal candy and strung on a bamboo stick. Street vendors often insert strings of candied haws on a specifically made wooden pole, which looks like a tree full of fruits. Just the sheer beauty of this treat will make you want to pull one off and enjoy it like the natives do.
In the Philippines and Indonesia, a machine was created to make potatoes a whole lot more interesting than the commonly known French fry. The potato is inserted into the twister and comes out in a pulled and spiraled form that is then inserted on a stick, fried or baked, and finally seasoned. They call it the Potato Tornado! Although, it was invented in the Far-East, you can find vendors that have discovered this amazing machine around the world at festivals and events. So, you don’t have to necessary book a ticket to Bali right away to enjoy this one.
Carne el Palito is a typical dish of the cuisine of Ecuador, mainly in the coastal areas. It is made with a thin cut of beef, seasoned with salt, cumin, garlic, achiote (a spice commonly used in Latin America and the Caribbean) and then pierced by a crude, sharp wooden stick. It is commonly found at fairs and served by food truck vendors lining the beach towns; a simple but spectacular food on a stick, South American style!
In Paris, there are so many culinary delights that flank the store windows and street cafes: f resh pastries, cheeses, and breads. One of these many indulgences is the macaroon. It is a sweet meringue-based confectionery made with egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder and food coloring. The macaroon is commonly filled with ganache, butter cream or jam filling sandwiched between two of the crispier cookies. Normally, just served as a cookie, you can find bakeries that have them on sticks to bring out the child-like whimsey in all of us, if you so desire.
Now, let’s give credit where credit is due. One of the most popular and original foods on a stick, is the Shish Kebab. Originating in the Middle East and now adopted throughout different countries of the world, the original spelling was “kabab” and it only consisted of a variety of meats and sometimes veggies. It is said that its origins may lie in the short supply of cooking fuel in the Near East at the time, which made the cooking of large foods difficult but it easy to obtain small cuts of meat at a butcher's shop. It is cooked over or next to flames; lamb, beef, goat, chicken, seafood or even vegetarian foods like felafel or tofu. Although this food differs slightly due to the fact that it is removed off of the stick before consumption… it is still an original. Even medieval Persian soldiers used their swords to grill meat over open-field fires!
The last worthy mention and possibly the most infamous, is the corn dog. A corn dog is a hot dog coated in a thick layer of cornmeal batter and deep fried in oil. Its exact origins is a little hard to pin down, but it definitely is an American born classic invented somewhere between the 1920s and 1940s. Quite possibly being introduced at fairs and festivals of the day, and still today being a big ticket sale at state carnivals throughout America. They even have a National Corn Dog Day to celebrate its existence in patriotic history. That’s something that the other foods on a stick can’t claim!