2013-07-10 10.21.07

Sergio Esposito’s proud moment

Street food, these days, is a serious business. If the word “street” wasn’t enough to convince you that this eating style was on trend, the concept of preserving some of Italy’s finest traditions while encouraging cutting edge creativity might. Celebrating the best producers of street food, then, is another way of ensuring that the old ways continue to be supported and distilled into modern eating habits, which sometimes demand fast food on the go.

There’s actually nothing very “fast” about the production of some of Italy’s finest street food creations, many of which involve making laborious stews and sauces, with inevitably long cooking times to tenderise the offal and off-cuts that they often comprise – but that’s another story.

Last week, at the Street Food awards launched by Gambero Rosso (one of the country’s best gatekeepers of food excellence and tradition), one pioneer from each region was crowned king or queen of street food, with the prize for Lazio going to Testaccio’s very own Sergio Esposito, the man behind Mordi e Vai, literally, bite and run, in Testaccio’s new market.

Offering trippa alla romana (tripe stew), l’allesso di carne (boiled meat) and salsiccia (sausage meat) in sandwich format on a regular basis, the rotating menu of the “panino del giorno” (sandwich of the day) comprises fillings such as picchiapò (traditional Roman boiled beef, stewed with tomatoes and onions), lingua (tongue), amatriciana (guanciale and tomato sauce) and polpette fritte e ciocorietta ripassata  (fried meatballs with refried wild common chicory). Most of these recipes go back generations, but, thanks to Sergio, are now available in to-go formats. Preparation time: about 100 years. Eating time: four minutes (if you’re slow…)

More information (in Italian):

Mordi e Vai: Via Alessandro Volta – lato via B. Franklin, 12E – Box No. 15, Testaccio market http://www.mordievai.it/

Gambero Rosso’s Street Food winners: http://www.gamberorosso.it/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1018057:street-food-del-gambero-rosso-ecco-i-premiati-della-nuova-guida&Itemid=174