For poor construction workers, each meal is about loading up enough carbohydrates to carry them through the day of heavy lifting, shoveling or jack hammering. The foundation ingredients don’t vary much. Dough-based products for breakfast and rice or noodles for lunch and dinner, preferably, all in large quantities. The idea is to keep it cheap and utilitarian.
Once customers gather en masse and the orders begin to roll in, the hawkers work at full speed. In a short 10 minutes, 6 pancakes are rolled out, cooked and stacked, 7 bowls of porridge are dished and about 8 dough sticks are deep-fried and served.
The beauty of street fare is not only its humble composition but freshness and taste especially when consumed standing in a cloud of aromatic steam. The liberal use of oil in street fare can sometimes be a deterrent but not necessarily a non-negotiable for a curious foodie.