A festival of feasts is coming to Newcaslte on July 18 and 19, to celebrate the British Street Food Awards.
The Boiler Shop, in Sussex Street, is set to host the British Street Food Awards on one of its legendary Steamer weekends. The listed building and the birthplace of Robert Stephenson’s Rocket, will see 12 of the best traders in Scotland and the North, who are all doing competition tasters, battling out for your votes to become a finalist in the 2015 British Street Food Awards in September.
During the day, huge family tables will be lavished with some of the best street food you’ve ever tasted, alongside live newspaper reviews and food quizzes. While, at nighttime, the volume will be turned up with DJs and live music acts from Universal Music and the smells of whisky, barbecue and beer will fill the joint.
Traders taking part include:
Dim Sum Su, Manchester
Sue Chiu-Fan Lee was born in Hong Kong and worked in the family food business, as soon as she was old enough to reach the till. She’s now all grown up and cooking authentic dim sum, gua bao, wontons and spring rolls for discernin customers in the North West of England – exactly the same way her family did back home.
10 years ago, Mudassar Amjad and his brother Tayub set up a small 10-cover restaurant in Bradford, but they still insisted on trading at small melas and local street markets. It helped perfect their chicken tikka marinade, “our secret weapon” says Mudassar. As they love what’s happening in Britain, their favourite place for street food is India. “It’s completely effortless” says Mudassar, “and not like you’re being sold ‘culture.” But then they’ve never traded at The Steamer.
The man behind BangWok is a Thai native called Dong. Standing at the back of his converted tuk tuk – long-retired from speeding around the side streets of Bangkok – Dong wants the sounds and the smells of BangWok to be 100 per cent authentic. Working with his English wife, Sara, expect no dumbed down flavours, no cheap ingredients and no MSG. Whatever you find them serving – be it a fried green curry rice ball, a classic pad thai, or a steaming bowl of beef noodle soup - it’s all authentic.
Ginger’s Comfort Emporium, Manchester
Ginger’s Comfort Emporium is ice cream for grown ups. Claire Kelsey set it up in 2010 not knowing quite what she wanted to do with the newly purchased ice cream van outside her flat, but she knew it would be something special. She got hooked on the alchemy of cream, sugar and flavour and, before long, was recruited by The Experimental Food Society. Her goat’s milk ice cream is still talked about in seminars. “I understand my menu is different “ says Claire. “Sometimes odd. That is why we take the time and care with our customers. Try before you buy is totally fine with us!” The honey and tahini is extraordinary, so is her white chocolate and pink peppercorn. She has won three British Street Food Awards and has promised something extra special for this year’s heats.
Riley’s Fish Shack, Newcastle
Trading from their BBQ bicycle, Riley’s specialise in charcoal grilled fish and shellfish. From mackerel wraps with their own special ‘Hepplewhite’s Relish’ (a smoky chip sauce) to a whole chili lobster. It’s true - the greatest elegance comes with simplicity.
Fish& serves the most classic of British fast foods, but with a twist. Winner of Best Main Dish at the 2014 British Street Food Awards, this is lovingly cooked fish and chips out of a van and trailer, but it’s just too good to wrap in newspaper. With offerings of a lemon, lime and chilli batter, or a masala marinade, your favourite chip shop is sure to be found wanting.
Scream For Pizza, Newcastle, Sunday Only.
Meet Goldie – a J7 vintage Peugeot aka The Scream Wagon. She is gobsmakingly gold with red and mint green trim, and is the pride and joy of Alex and Victoria. Their motto? “To Gold-ly go where no van has gone before.” Goldie is best known for serving up Neapolitan pizza with a twist, but people go mad for The Mountie; mild gouda, smoked pancetta from a local farm and drizzled in maple syrup. There is talk of a Crasta Crab Thermidor for the British Street Food Awards. Come and see if that’s just idle gossip. Most unusual request? “Can I have a pizza please. Without cheese, tomato or any toppings.”
Crema Caravan, Edinburgh
Callum is a chef. Mel has a background in marketing and design. They fell in love, and set up a really well designed food business. Crème brûlée was originally going to be the dessert option to complement something savoury but they saw a niche and decided to start the UK’s first crème brûlée van. It all clicked into place when they spotted a vintage Renault van whilst working in France. They bought Florence in May 2014 and The Crema Caravan was born! Most unusual request? A vegan crème brûlée, made with tofu. “No offence vegans, but...”
Pickled Porker, Nottingham
The Pickled Porker trade from the Pig Shed. It’s a one-off – part Basque cider house and part Yorkshire pub – and a place where you can sit down and enjoy Yorkshire craft ciders with low and slow meats on brioche, or a Yorkshire tapas board with two or three dishes to share. Not that you’ll be doing a lot of sharing. With cider-glazed Yorkshire chorizo and fennel seeds on the menu, and cider-braised pork cheeks with rosemary and white bean smash, why on earth would you share?
Claw Hide, Newcastle
Steak is more than a food – it’s a life philosophy. Seated at life’s dining table, we tend to go on like this after a glass of red, our eyes may wander over what else is on offer. But we always come back for steak. At Claw Hide, it’s chargrilled flat iron steak – juicy as you like -- in a wood-fired flatbread. Plus something of the sea, if you’re a surf and turf fan. One of the simplest meals to prepare, yet somehow one of the hardest to get absolutely right. Not using a hot enough pan, turning the steak too many times, not allowing it to rest, why not leave it to the experts?
Quinoa Caravan, Leeds
Why Quinoa? Well, it’s versatile, in the same way as rice. But it carries more flavour. And now the UN have taken to calling it a superfood. Thomas Fraser spent three months gutting a 1960 Thomson T-Line caravan to present dishes like pulled jackfruit with quinoa to his public. His setup is now an advert for sustainability, and completely self-sufficient – all the cooking appliances use LPG, and the fridges, lights and sockets are powered by solar panels. The panels are effective even under brooding Northern skies. This Quinoa Caravan idea isn’t as daft as it seems.
Banger And Bacon, Manchester
Such a simple idea – bangers and bacon. “But we make all our own sausages” says Richard Brown, “and cure all the bacon ourselves. That way we know where it came from, and what’s in it, and we can create a bespoke flavour for a particular dish.” And then there’s the touches that turn the dish into an art form. Take the Porchetta - rolled middle of pork stuffed with herbs and garlic, slow roasted and set on a flatbread with salsa verde and dressed leaves. Genius. Most unusual question? “Do you have anything sutible for Jews?” Most quick-witted answer? “The bread.”
Tickets on sale on the entrance, but also via http://britishstfood.seetickets.com