In the world of gastronomy, the spectrum of choice, price, and quality is huge. You can buy a tasty hot dog on a street corner for a couple of dollars or you can spend hundreds on a sit-down meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant. But there are times when the worlds of fast food and fine dining combine to produce elegant and sophisticated versions of roadside-diner and street-food classics. Here are just a few examples of some humble dishes that high-end establishments have taken to new gourmet heights.
The tortilla is the classic Spanish version of what an English-speaking audience knows as the omelet. Often thicker than a standard omelet and typically made with just oil, egg, potato and seasoning, tortillas are served all over Spain as a tapas dish or can be ordered in larger portions in many restaurants and bars.
Barrafina restaurant in London earned a Michelin star serving classic tapas dishes, including a prawn and piquillo pepper tortilla. Many Spanish people balk at the idea of adding onions to a tortilla so this version may not please the purists, but it certainly impressed the inspectors who felt compelled to hand over the prestigious award.
You may associate a burger with a trip to your favorite American takeaway, but the classic meat-in-a-bun recipe has cropped up on many fine-dining menus. One famous example is the Acadia burger served in Chicago’s Acadia restaurant, the brainchild of Chef Ryan McCaskey.
The burger features three types of beef including fat from the highly-prized Japanese Wagyu variety, which appears elsewhere on the menu. The resulting patty is cooked and served with onion and bacon jam, taleggio-truffled mornay and gruyere cheese in a brioche bun.
The burger is extremely popular with up to 40 sold every night. That’s not bad when you consider Acadia is a two Michelin-starred joint.
Chicken rice is a classic Asian takeaway dish that has now achieved Michelin star status. But you don’t have to go to an expensive restaurant to experience this highly-rated fare. That’s because two street food stalls in Singapore were awarded the coveted award back in 2016.
Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle and Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle were the first street vendors in the world to be decorated with the prestigious prize. Despite their elevated status the outlets still charge street food prices with chicken rice available for under $2.
The awards came a year after Tsuta in Tokyo became the first ramen noodle bar to pick up a gong from the French-based gastronomical guide.
Bacon And Eggs / Ice Cream
Bacon and eggs is a British greasy spoon café classic while ice cream is a seaside sweet, the modern incarnation of which originated in Italy. So who would think to combine the two to make a single dish? British chef Heston Blumenthal, that’s who.
Bacon and egg ice cream appeared on the menu at the chef’s Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire in 2004 and soon became one of his signature dishes. The cook is also famous for other inventive dishes such as snail porridge and meat fruit.
These are just a few examples of classic takeaway or street food dishes that have received the Michelin star treatment. In the quest to gain the ultimate prize, more and more chefs seek to gain attention by putting their own twist on humble classics.
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