Elevation of Street Food

To me, it’s a whole lot easier to eat healthy, fresh food when I’m in Asia. The abundance of outdoor markets and street stalls make it simply more convenient to fill the gaps between proper meals with good-for-you snacking.

Yesterday, my wife and I went to a relatively new, upscale restaurant here in Malmö called Pink Head HQ where we enjoyed a couple of tasty appetizers and entrées created from Asian recipes and seasonings. Sort of. However delicious last night’s food was, what we ate was still no better than what you are served at just about any sidewalk restaurant in Penang, Luang Prabang, Phnom Penh or Bangkok.

Pink Head Noodle Bar, which opened a couple of years ago in a nearby food court location, has been wildly successful. So I totally get that the owners assumed the market was ready for an additional restaurant under the brand name “Pink Head”. What I don’t understand, though, is why the heck they’ve chosen to not offer any of their famous, fresh noodles at the new place (which they alternatively call Pink Head Headquarter, Pink Head Headquarters or sometimes just Pink Head HQ). That’s just plain silly if you ask me. But one of last night’s (many) servers hinted to us that it was likely just a matter of time before at least one noodle dish showed up on the menu.

Though I’ve fallen into similar traps a few times before, I’m not thrilled about contributing to restauranteurs with a business idea built on elevating street food into a fine dining experience. Why? Cause you’re paying for the fancy interior, trendy location and social media hype and not anything the chef cooks for you. Fact is, it’ll only take a few visits to Pink Head HQ, untill you will have  spent about as much it costs to fly to one of the aforementioned destinations – where you’d enjoy real street food on a real street, sans the creme fraiche and fancy cocktails.

The shot is from a favorite sidewalk eatery in “Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit”. Or, in plain speak, Bangkok.