This contraption hands down wins the prize for best street food set-up, ever. It’s a giant, home-made sweet potato roaster, with individual sweet potato compartments for roasting, with the cooked ones kept warm on top. To my eyes it looks just ike the advent calendars we have been opening every day at home, but a big, blackened, rusting, smoking, street food version of an advent calendar. In winter, roasted sweet potatoes are an understandably popular street food, because they taste good, they’re cheap, and they keep your hands warm as you eat them. In fact, they were the first street food I ever wrote about in my Shanghai Street Food series. Come October, as the air gets crisp and the nights lengthen, the sweet potato vendors wheel out their 44 gallon roasting drums onto street corners and stand around waiting for a sale, hands thrust deep in pockets to keep warm.
This oven here is completely different to what is normally used by sweet potato sellers, and is obviously a unique invention of its owner – I’m unlikely to see anything like it again. Even better, the whole kit and caboodle can be hitched to a bicycle at the end of the day. A self-contained business on wheels!