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Street Food Kitchen on Bike Cart in China post image

Street Food Kitchen on Bike Cart in China

A street food tricycle cart in China. It’s just a pot with a coal fire inside topped with an iron lid. Innovation or Jerry-rigging?

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This is another innovative tricycle food cart that I came across in Taizhou, Jiangsu province. It’s the grill itself that I find intriguing, as it’s just a big soup pot with a cast iron lid tied onto it. There is a coal fed flame on the inside of the pot which heats up the “skillet” and cooks the food that’s placed on it. I’m not sure if this set up is a sign of Chinese innovativeness or a show of this culture’s incredible propensity for Jerry-rigging — but I suppose there is often a very fine line between the two. Though this stove was not as ingenuitive as the potato roaster, as masterful as the old-time pressure cooker, or as absolutely wild as the woman who carried a fully functioning kitchen over her shoulders, this stove worked nonetheless: a batch of tofu was sizzling on the skillet and there was a pile of already cooked food awaiting sale.

The lady that operates this cart rides around the city, parking her bike and setting up shop on street corners and in front of shops and supermarkets. This is just another example of the simple, mobile street-businesses that people run all over China — a country where the informal economy virtually blankets its cities. I like photographing the set ups of many street vendors all over the world, as they are often truly ephemeral examples of grassroots ingenuity and problem solving, where apparently unrelated objects like a bicycle cart, a pot, and a slab of metal are joined together and turned into a livelihood.

Street food stove Street food stove in China Street tofu
Street food cart in China


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Filed under: China, Food

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3717 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

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