Street Food Spotlight – Issue #3
Welcome once again to ‘Street Food Spotlight’ – a series where we’re looking to champion some of the coolest people cooking the hottest dishes in the UK street food scene. If you haven’t caught up with Issue #1 and Issue #2, you definitely should. They’re packed with some tremendous talents and double as an answer to that age-old “what food market should I visit this weekend?” I'm a big fan of sit-down restaurants and I've been occasionally known to get a kick out a white table cloth but there's something about eating food on the streets right where it's been made, in the bustle and hustle of a group of equally hungry people, that can't be beaten.
A lot of Brits look at countries like Indian and Indonesia with envy because of their brilliant street food culture. I'm very much one of those Brits. But I'm also a believer that the street food scene over here is getting better by the day; there's an increasing number of interesting and delicious street food vendors setting up shop and turning out portions of quality cooking.
If you’re into fresh flavours and generous portions served at an affordable price, you’re going to live the five street food stalls I’ve highlighted in this latest edition of ‘Street Food Spotlight’. Whether you’re a hardened eater or someone that’s curious to see what the food of Mauritius is actually like, these vendors have got some excellent eats for you to check out.
Sure, rice is nice and all, but you know what’s even nicer? Japanese rice bowls. Pochi makes perfect rice bowls that you can get topped with everything from minced pork and fried aubergines to karaage chicken. Too many street food stalls sell dishes that fall into the snack category and rarely leave you feeling satiated. That’s not the case at Pochi though. No, siree – these rice bowls are full-on meals, baby. Find ‘em at Borough Market on the reg.
If your only reference point for tacos is the Old El Paso kits you used to buy at uni then you really need to expand your horizons. I’d suggest giving your horizons an expansion by paying a visit to Pollard Yard in Ancoats, Manchester and hitting up Crunched. These guys do hard shell tacos made from real corn (that might sound all that impressive but, honestly, you can taste the difference) and fill them to their bursting point with everything from pulled pork and beef chilli to vegan cauli cheese. While soft tacos might be more “of the moment” and trendy, there’s something supremely satisfying about crunching into one of these shatterable shells.
Pasta is brilliant. I once ate pasta every single day for about two weeks and I didn’t even get mildly bored of it. That’s how diverse and delicious pasta can be. Stuffed is a stall at Netil Market in Hackney that understands the depth and breadth of pasta, specialising in divvying out generous portions of fresh pasta every weekend. Ravioli parcels rammed with everything from ‘nduja and caramelised onion to cacio e pepe are the main draws but there’s always a regularly changing outfit of specials and non-stuffed pastas on the menu, too.
Gopal’s Curry Shack
Bristol is home to some excellent street food and Gopal’s Curry Shack is one of the city’s most beloved. Regularly seen roaming around the city’s food markets in a nondescript white van, Gopal’s Curry Shack is the perfect place to get your hands on Indian street food snacks like masala dosa, samosa chaat, and a range of curries, bhajiis and pakoras. Gert lush.
Lovely Bunch of Coconuts
Mauritius is a country that’s both severely underrated and severely underrepresented in the London street food scene. The country’s cuisine is a unique combination of Indian, Creole, French and Chinese flavours and needs to be eaten to be experienced. Lovely Bunch of Coconuts serves Mauritian-inspired biryani boxes at a variety of locations across the city to give your palate a brief glimmer of what that country has to offer. Order the lamb biryani. It’s immense.