a biggish update on London street food in July

Wow, it feels like rather a long time since I did a street food tour of London. For a while after I launched the blog, it was the only thing I did on Saturday mornings. And then I realised I probably needed not to spend four hours eating fried chicken, schnitzel sarnies and flapjacks – however good they were – and should fill my time with other, more cultural things.

So there have been jaunts to the countryside, a trip up to Scotland, new friends made, new dancing spots discovered, hen parties organised (neither mine, I hasten to add!), houses warmed, countries travelled to (just Japan actually), exhibitions visited, festivals enjoyed and… I’ve joined a gym. (more on that in the Standard in a few weeks’ time)

And then, when the sun finally came out, I decided that it was about time I got back into the street food swing of things.

Officially, it began in Japan where I was taken recently by Expedia on a mission to find new food trends (again, more on that in the Standard soon). But I also tried some street food.

There was green tea ice cream in Tokyo (in this case, think Mr Whippy but green tea flavoured and, surprisingly, good):

Green tea ice cream, Tokyo

Green tea ice cream, Tokyo

There were octopus balls (takoyaki, like dough mingled with octopus, spiced and shredded up – it is a marvel to watch the chefs twisting and turning them around on the hot plates) on which I burnt my mouth, tongue and fingers trying to eat; but on reflection really enjoyed (when I didn’t have the sticky sweet sauce dripping down my dress).

Octopus Balls (Takoyaki) from a Japanese train station

Octopus Balls (Takoyaki) from a Japanese train station

When I got back I met a friend outside the British Museum so that we could try the new hot dogs from the Benugo vans outside. They were over sauced but nice enough. My highlight was dessert: a creamy, naughty Italian affogato from the other Benugo truck):

Benugo hot dogs outside the British Museum

and then there was a whole weekend spent at Street Feast just before it left Merchants Yard on the Kingsland Road, Dalston and sort of became Truck Stop in Stratford. I’d only planned to go on the Friday night but after two pints – yes, pints – of mezcal margarita cocktails ended up in my hands, I somehow managed to find the energy to stay on until it was time to jump on a night bus home.

In the interim, some friends and I had also tried (between 3-4 of us): a pile of pork and cabbage gyoza (Japanese dumplings) from Rainbo Food:

Gyoza from Rainbo Food

Gyoza from Rainbo Food

a Huge Pole hot dog from Big Apple Hot Dogs, spicy octopus curry from Vinn Goute, a halloumi and chorizo wrap from French & Grace (my pics don’t do it justice) some waffles with melted marshmallows on top from the lovely, supremely charming Waffle On team, and a fiery rib roll from The Rib Man. To top it off, I had a taste of the salted caramel ice cream (just as it should be) from my favourite London ice cream makers (bar Gelupo and Oddono’s) Sorbitium Ices, and at some point Abiye Cole and I had a fight over whose ice lolly was the best (it was between roast peach, vanilla and tarragon or my creamy pear and ginger – mine won) from Ice Kitchen. There was also an Oreo Cookie tart somewhere in the mix but either it was disgusting and sickly or I was bored of eating by that point (a combination of the two, I suspect).

THEN the following day, I made it all the back from where I live in Shepherd’s Bush (where, incidentally, there is now a new monthly street food market by the station which I plan to try out) to Kingsland Road for #Ginstock2013. In between gin cocktails and hiding under the canopies to avoid the rain, my friend George and I got stuck into the following:

Tiny, bright, crunchy, fiery pork and cucumber tacos from Breddo’s Tacos (I have heard that their chilliback drink is the thing to try next… they are often at Netil Market, E8)

Breddo's Tacos

Breddo’s Tacos

The rather addictive popcorn shrimp with lime from the Redhook stand:

Disco Bistro


and also the pork belly steamed buns from Yum Bum. Here we waited patiently in the queue while they rustled up some more ingredients, got the fires going and waited until our mouths were drooling. 20 minutes and some new queue friends later, and this is what we ate. I love Yum Bun and I’m so glad the team is doing well (here is my review in the Standard recently):

Pork steamed buns, Yum Bun

Pork steamed buns, Yum Bun

Last but not least, I celebrated with the team from Pitt Cue Co who have a new self-titled book out. To celebrate, they threw a party in the street near their restaurant, they filled their new van (the trailer was nowhere to be seen) with chefs making their famous pulled pork bun, and the Picklebacks were flowing.

Joe Grossman from Patty & Bun and Tom Adams from Pitt Cue Co making pulled pork burgers at the PCC book launch

Joe Grossman from Patty & Bun and Tom Adams from Pitt Cue Co making pulled pork burgers at the PCC book launch

I should say that while this might come across as a whole load of street food scoffed any old how in only a few sittings, I had planned to try – or at least share – every bit in advance. Most street food in London is absolutely worth discovering but now that there is so much available, and there are so many queues, you have to have an idea of what you want first, otherwise you’ll end up pissed off, disappointed and hungry.

So I’ve had a break from street fooding but, boy, it’s good to be back. Inevitably, the list of places to try next is only getting longer. Therefore coming soon: a new seller (up next week), a jerk chicken stall, another burger trader, a duck wrap, some crab things and Japanese snacks. Keep your eyes peeled.


4 Responses to “a biggish update on London street food in July”
  1. Daniel says:

    Wow, that ice cream is one of the most appetizing things I’ve ever seen!

  2. Daniel says:

    Wow, that ice cream is one of the most appetizing things I’ve ever seen!

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