These photos were sent to me by one of my readers who lives in Philadelphia (it is very generous of her). They are shots of the small piazetta (small square) in front of the very famous and very old, Antica Focacceria San Francesco in Palermo.
Antica (old), Focacceria (where they sell focaccie) and San Francesco because it is opposite the church by that name. The eatery is famous for presenting traditional, local, street food – Palermo is recognised for this very ancient custom.
All around the streets of Palermo there are frigittorie (friggere is to fry, frigittorie (are where the foods are fried). Palermitani can be seen standing around eating and talking around these establishments which are usually just no more than large vats of hot oil and a simple portable bench. Slices of eggplant, zucchini, artichokes, bits of pre cooked cauliflower are coated with pastella (batter) and deep fried. Cazzili (potato croquettes) pani ca’ muesa (panini stuffed with spleen) and sfinciuni (typical focaccie from Palermo) are also favourite street food.
In this small eatery, in the old part of town, in the warm months customers can enjoy their food in the piazzetta. I love the cart, much more decorated than can be seen in the streets (although the food, may not always be as good).
In Palermo, one street food specialties are panelle – made of chickpea flour, cooked like polenta or porridge, cooled, and then cut into slices and fried in olive oil.
Versions of chickpea flour fritters are also popular in Liguria and in the South of France. In Australia the flour is generally available in Indian and Middle- eastern stores.