Wednesday, 19 September 2012

British Street Food Awards 2012

This post is not so much my usual suggestion  of what you might like to do at the weekend - unless you have a Cara Delevignesque diary and your next free spot is September 2013 - but more a brief note of thanks and congratulations to Richard Johnson and co. for the awesome foodfest that was the British Street Food Awards 2012.

Together with twizzle-sticks-at-dusk bartenders' shoot-out Ginstock and Rumstock, the British Street Food Awards turned the whole road outside Jamie Oliver's Fifteen into the best 10th birthday party for a restaurant ever. This was an amazing showcase for the range and quality of British street food today, from updated classics like The Fish Hut's cod in ginger beer batter, chips and minted peas to Hungry Gecko's smoked tofu and chilli jam noodles, which was delicious and full of fiery fresh Thai flavours.

The place was rammed, but the British knack for queuing won out; the atmosphere was incredibly laid-back and everyone was having fun and looking forward to trying the food. The queues were long, but after all it would be churlish to moan about the wait when you can watch your food being freshly-cooked right in front of you. This is not sitting on a hot-plate in a restaurant kitchen until the waiter has finished with the next table; this is hot from the wok, the griddle, the wood-fired stove, the . . . well, you get it.

Culinary spectacle aside, mobilers tend to be inherently interesting characters and they - and their vans/trucks/horseboxes - add to the theatre. The Mussel Men were living up to their homophone by accepting arm-wrestling challenges from the public whilst cooking up smoked mussels with heritage tomato and Ginger Pig chorizo sauce - fabulous!

Inevitably, with these kinds of crowds, vendors sold out; I was particularly crushed to miss out on sampling a pork Yum Bun, and one of Katie and Kim's Kitchen's custard tarts, which I actually walked past on my way in and mentally bookmarked for dessert. But this happens - nobody kicks up a stink when bricks and mortar restaurants say they are out of a particular dish, and mobilers don't have the luxury of storage (and often cash flow) that regular restaurants enjoy. I did manage to get hold of a much-coveted Well Kneaded firebread - we went for the goat's cheese, courgette, rocket and Parmesan version with home-made pesto - and amble over to the grassy picnic area to rest my weary limbs on a hay bale.

Congratulations to the winners, the organisers, and most of all the mobilers themselves - the whole event was a great day out and I was delighted to be there amongst fellow foodies.

Read about the award winners here: and follow the individual mobilers on Facebook or Twitter to track them down. I know I'm going to.

Yours, street-smart,
Girl About Town xx

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