A shout out for London street food 2013

The haggis toastie from Deeney’s

Happy new year everyone.

If street food hasn’t yet conquered London, it has done a darn good job of getting around the city.

In 2012, new spaces were set up and used to hold street food parties, for example at the West Handyside Canopy in Kings Cross where Petra Barran held her night-long launch party and a host of others for Kerb.

Lost or forgotten spaces were re-claimed by people who had the guts and creative drive to make events happen in them. Take Dominic Cools-Lartigue who with his Friday night Street Feast London events gave us a new reason to go to a warehouse to drink, dance, shop for clothes or records and eat street food all at the same time. Toby Allen looked at Lewisham College car park and saw potential for what is now the one-year-old cheerful Saturday morning Brockley Market. A team of people also saw that the space in between a hotel and a supermarket in Bermondsey Square could hold a great vintage clothes and street food market with The StockMKT. In a forgotten car park behind a giant billboard near Old Street roundabout, The Red Market ran happily throughout the summer and the #EatMeUp party held in aid of the launch of HitMeUp – held in the same space – went off with with a proper bang in early December.

Meanwhile on the cobbled street outside his Fifteen restaurant, Jamie Oliver let the British Street Food Awards 2012 take over; the founders of the weekend-long Feast markets re-imagined spaces outside Guy’s Hospital and more recently in Islington’s Former North London Mail Centre. Harringay Market has also been gathering momentum at North Harringay Primary School and I saw the beginnings of a street food market held outside Shepherd’s Bush station on a few mornings last year.

Brindisa’s chorizo sandwich, Borough market

Finally existing markets were boosted – for example on Berwick Street in Soho and the new Acklam Village market at the end of the Portobello Road market. New traders bringing with them fresh ideas and interesting, delicious food were added to the roster, giving a renewed interest in those areas*. Borough Market now has its smart glass roof to keep visitors and people warm and the ever-lovely Ropewalk at Maltby Street market has the recent addition of Sunday trading. The Southbank’s Real Food Market began a new weekly spot encouraging a different street food truck to trade each week, Chatsworth Road continues to take on and put out interesting traders, as do Broadway market, Battersea Food Market and Venn Street in Clapham.

So when trend spotters all wrote street food as something to watch in 2012, they weren’t wrong. It has become more than just a trend. Chefs who saw opportunities to make excellent, carefully-priced food to a new audience quit busy kitchens to take on market trading. Some folk in search of a break switched careers and choose the street food industry to launch new ventures. And, importantly, a few people from overseas chose London as the place to start a culinary career on the road.

As for LondonStreetFoodie.co.uk, which launched almost a year ago, I would never have imagined that over 35,000 of you would take the time and effort to click on and read the blog. I am enormously proud and grateful to everyone who has helped – from sorting technical emergencies to sending in suggestions and providing photos. Please keep emailing and commenting with your ideas as it’s great to know what people are eating. And don’t forget to sign up to the newsletter, accessed on the home page. We have exciting news for 2013 but more on that in a month or so…

While this city has much to offer, it wasn’t all good. A few traders were lost along the way, struggling to make ends meet either as full time sellers or with career bolt-ons at weekends. It is still too hard for others to get started and to find spaces to sell their food in London. Next year we need more spaces for traders, lower pitch prices in some cases, and, on Petra Barran’s suggestion, we need the Mayor of London Boris Johnson to take street food seriously.

To end, a few things to try this year:

Two of the team behind Guasacaca London

COMING SOON: Basque-inspired small plates from the Donostia Social Club (markets pending)

NEW AND WORTH A MUNCH: a haggis toastie made with caramelised onion chutney, mustard and cheese by Carol from Deeney’s (Broadway, Chatsworth Road, Greenwich markets)

PERSONAL FAVOURITES: The heartbreaker burger from Tongue ‘N Cheek, Fleischmob’s pork schnitzel sandwich, any dessert made by Sorbitium Ices, any pasta from Pasta e Basta for top pasta, anything from Mike & Ollie and the chorizo sandwich from Brindisa’s Parrilla Grill at Borough market.

FRIENDLIEST SELLERS: the team behind the delicious Venezuelan arepas made by Guasacaca London is infectiously happy. Their food is fresh and simple.

Here’s to more strEATing in London in 2013.


*I don’t have specific figures to show this – it is purely that I have noticed more people visiting the markets and increased activity on Twitter relating to those places

6 Responses to “A shout out for London street food 2013”
  1. Romeena says:

    I’m a Brixton village convert! The food and the atmosphere just makes me proud to be a Southerner! Mama Lan’s a firm favourite.

    • LondonStreetFoodie says:

      Yes, we’ve heard that Mama Lan is pretty good. We’re going to try it soon hopefully… thank you for the tip.

  2. Mr Emmanuel says:

    WE’VE got a venue! You have got a burgeoning Food startup that you’d love to take BIGGER!
    WE are looking to partner with You to add your Drive and Determination to Deliver a Fresh, Fabulously, Funky, Food experience to as many people as possible.

    We have a newly developed/refurbished (soon to open) small hotel with a ground floor dining area and compact kitchen with amazing restaurant potential only 300 steps from the Blackpool Tower!!

    The 4b Hotel is offering to partner you to create a ‘destination’ eating experience which fits in with the ethos of our 4b’s: Beautiful, Bespoke, Bijou, Boutique!

    The4bhotel dot com would suit many street food type entrepreneurs…or any boutique accommodators. A great opportunity to start up, or expand with Minimal risk, outgoings and investment capital.

    From here the opportunity to branch out successfully, further is limitless.

    Get in touch at info@blackandgreen.org.uk let’s throw some spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks.!..x

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