Street Food Festival Basel 2015With October comes what travel planners call the shoulder season, a concept that applies equally to food-oriented festivals. Soon we’ll have the late-autumn fairs, then the Christmas markets, both with an emphasis on warming winter foods and holiday sweets. Over the past weekend, though, sandwiched between the harvest celebrations across Switzerland, Basel’s first ever street food festival pulled in the crowds and won our hearts. A star attraction at Street Food Festival Basel 2015 was a pulled-pork sandwich on a bamboo bun flecked with gold, but there were many other flavors to enjoy.

In pricey Switzerland, even street food can seem expensive. Happily for foodies, the vendors at Street Food Festival Basel offered tasting portions, or priced their full-size offering competitively. Thanks to tasting portions, Tom and I were able to sample a number of the offerings from 63 vendors and 35 countries. Even so, there was more food than we could possibly get our taste buds around. And we were not alone. The festival was blessed with beautiful, almost balmy weather–and a bountiful turnout.

Basel's first street food festival
If the throngs crowding the food stalls were an indication, Basel’s first street food festival was a rousing success!

If you were at Street Food Festival Basel’s first edition, you probably have a favorite food memory or two. If not, here’s an indication of what you missed!

Tastes from around the world

Meat skewers roasting over coals
Meat skewers roasting over coals were just one of the more exotic offerings from Africa. Others included fricassees from Tunisia, curries from Kenya and Yemeni-inspired sweet or savory vegan wraps.
Apple-cinnamon strudel
Festival-goers had many options to calorie-bomb with pastries from eastern Europe. Apple-cinnamon strudel drizzled with vanilla sauce offered a flaky bite and creamy finish.
Kumar's Indian Food, at Street Food Festival Basel 2015
The festival also provided attendees with an extensive array of favorite street foods from India, Pakistan and Southeast Asia, all doing brisk business. Kumar’s Indian Food is on tap at many festivals, and in addition to curries, offered an array of fresh fruits and juices.
Texan's nostalgia
Tex-Mex in Switzerland! Quesadillas, burritos and fajitas at several stands hit a number of this Texan’s nostalgia buttons.
Okonamiyaki at Street Food Festival Basel 2015
Okonamiyaki is a specialty of Osaka, Japan. We would love to see this savory pancake from Okonomiyaro among the international food stands at the Markthalle!
vegetarian--even vegan--options
The festival was not all about meat, nor frites. There were plenty of vegetarian–even vegan–options, such as Yemeni-inspired, handmade wraps.
Rösti
It wouldn’t be a festival in Switzerland without rösti, grilled sausages and raclette. The festival also offered handmade potato chips.
Texas style BBQ
I set my Texas barbecue prejudices aside, and found the meat from BBQ Catering to be right up there. Chef Alex Zehnder’s blueberry-based BBQ sauce was mighty fine, too!
Mushrooms
One of the healthiest foods at the festival had to be sautéed mushrooms from Pilz Husli, a favorite Marktplatz vendor. The ‘srooms came with a choice of herb or garlic sauce.

Thirst quenchers

There was plenty of wine and beer, as well as a wide range of non-alcoholic beverages on offer at the festival. Bartenders made mojitos, baristas prepared Italian-style coffee. Drinks were paired with foods: Spanish chocolate and churros, Cremant and Tarte Flambé, hibiscus tea and Honduran baleadas. Two especially refreshing options we tried were Pássaro, a wine spritzer, and guarapo Maya, made of pressed sugar cane juice enlivened with orange and lime juice, mint, ginger and chilies.

Pássaro
Pássaro, a wine spritzer from a family producer, is characterized by low alcohol content and a fresh grapefruit flavor. The drink is available only in Switzerland, online or at events, such as food fairs.

New experiences, new businesses

Festival organizers Rolf Arnet and Konrad Begert brought this cultural event to Basel as an opportunity for new food experiences, and a time to share food with family and friends. “Basel is our home base” they told us, ” and the people in this border region are open-minded and love good eating.”

Konrad Begert and Rolf Arnet
Konrad Begert and Rolf Arnet, organizers of Street Food Festival Basel If the city’s first street food festival is any indication, there is plenty more good eating on the horizon!

Street food fairs can be prime testing grounds for budding food businesses, and that was certainly the case in Basel last weekend. An impressive number of the participants brought their products to Basel, testing the waters for new culinary ventures, from catering to online shops to full-fledged restaurants.

Stay tuned for our next post, where we will introduce you to some of the passionate food-makers we met at Street Food Festival Basel!

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Tex Mex in Switzerland, who knew?! That is hilarious! It looks as if this particular street fair was a huge success given the number of people in your photos. And the apple cinnamon strudel looks SO good! I visited Switzerland nearly 30 years and I think it’s long past the time for a return visit!

    • Switzerland can surprise with the number and diversity of festivals and other events throughout the year…if you do make a return visit, the Swiss Tourism website is a good place to find out about such things!

    • Hi Betsy, We made four trips across town to the festival…we met great people and there were so many good foods to try! It would be fun to share an experience like this with you sometime “=)

  2. Wow! That looks like a really tasty Street Food Festival in Basel. I just adored both yours and Tom’s photos. You really did a great job capturing and sharing the experience. Thanks!

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