5 street food trends to watch out for in the UK
One thing we know for certain about street food in the UK is that it’s been on the rise for years, and is only getting more popular. Food trucks are coming to infiltrate a town near you!
Food festivals like the upcoming Canteen Social in Kent suggest a full-scale country-wide street food revolution is on the horizon. Street food offers people a quick, exciting and indulgent feast at a decent price, so it’s no wonder it’s a staple part of the food scene in many cities. Increasingly, vendors have been taking up permanent homes after winning over people’s hearts and stomachs from their roving eateries.
So with street food on the rise for the foreseeable foodie future, here are our predictions for the most important trends to watch out for in the next season of food festivals this autumn, and into 2018.
1. Everything South American
If experts were right about one thing last year, it was that it would be the year of the taco. But it certainly didn’t fizzle out with the New Year – taco bars are popping up left right and centre in London and beyond. The scene is thriving, and we're forecasting more Central and South American street food to come!
Earlier this summer, Cargo 2 opened in Bristol’s Wapping Wharf, bringing with it the fantastic Cargo Cantina – a street food joint on every Bristolian’s lips. Opened by the team behind Bristol’s favourite tapas bar Bravas, it’s inspired by the cantinas of Mexico City – the owners themselves took a trip before the opening, to meet suppliers and to learn about Mexican food and culture first-hand. Fire-roasted cactus and ox ‘tongue n cheek’ on blue corn tortillas make a delicious adventure for your taste buds. Another testament to the bright future of Mexican street food is Wahaca – the chain with a focus on tacos and small bites, served in a traditional ‘when it’s ready’ way.
2. Cheese Avalanche
American food trucks like Seattle's Grilled Cheese Experience, with their ‘dirty’ sandwiches, are in abundance both in the US and here at home in the UK. But it’s the traditional Swiss ‘raclette’ we should be looking out for. Never heard of it? This warming delicacy is all about bubbling cheese, and comes from the tradition of a sociable, warming dining experience for chilly winter nights. Everyone knows there’s never a time when grilled cheese isn’t appropriate, though.
Not only does this street food sensation taste fantastic, it’s also a spectacle to behold. A huge wheel of cheese is halved, placed on two prongs and the flat surface is sizzled under a grill until golden and bubbling. Then, the cheese is tipped on its side, creating a cheese avalanche as the base of your choice (fries, crushed potatoes, sausage) is coated in velvety dairy goodness. Watch Le Rack Shack's intagram video to see for yourself!
3. Pan-Asian Dumplings
Bold and exciting flavours in the form of simple Asian dishes are only going to get more recognition - the UK is just about coming to realise the culinary genius of the humble Asian dumpling. We’ve seen steamed bao buns storming onto the street food scene, and alongside that, Dumplings are starting to get foodies very excited. Over in the US, Thai food trucks like the brilliantly-named Thai-U-Up are all over the food festival scene – tempting punters away from more plain, familiar flavours, to new and exciting dishes. In Bristol, Japanese Eatchu and pan-Asian TukTuk are flying the flag for everything dumplings – or gyoza, or Jiaozi – should be. They’re simply-presented, full of flavour and set to take street food by storm around the UK!
4. Plant-based and sustainable
Few cuisines are as plentiful for vegetarians as Indian – the country with the largest number of vegetarians in the world! Bundobust is a shining example of the success of Indian street food in the past few years, and we think this will only continue. Another example of street food vendors finding permanent homes, Bundobust sells Indian vegetarian street food in a bar where you can pair your food with the perfect craft beer, or Indian Pale Ale.
Plant-based food is flexing its muscles on the food scene at the moment, egged-on by the growing interest in ethical, environmentally-friendly food. In London, last weekend’s sell-out Livin’ on the Veg festival presented by KERB caused a huge stir with its gourmet vegan delicacies. In Bristol, Michelin star chef Josh Eggleton closed down his Chicken Shed cargo restaurant and reopened it this month as Root, which puts plant-based foods in the spotlight as dazzling and legitimate main courses. We think there’s much more of this to come!
This may seem obvious, but we’ll definitely be seeing more and more Instagram-ready street food for the rest of the season and into next year. Having an Instagram account as a trader (if you’ve got something special to show) is the best way to generate hype around your mobile food shack. It’s made this article possible, right? We’ve really seen it all this year, especially coming from the US. New York City has been producing some crazy like-capturing street food photos, and it’s sure to catch on. Fish-shaped ice-cream anyone?