Sheesh. Tim Hayward — the other judge in the Street Food and Takeaway category at this year’s Food And Farming Awards — has turned up in Bristol with his own chopsticks. In a bespoke carry case. Clearly, I thought, this is a man who understands that if you’re not one-up, you’re one-down. But I was wrong. Tim (above right) was just being sensitive to the needs of the planet. In his former life, as a Guardian food writer, being photographed using wooden chopsticks was a grave error. Readers told him how China produces and discards more than 45 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks every year, and cut down 25 million trees in the process. As I set about my LiangMian, a cold noodle salad, with wooden chopsticks I felt like I may as well have cut those trees down myself.
I’m eating the LiangMian at Chilli Daddy, the only street food traders in Britain specialising in Szechuan cooking. They finished the prep at 2am this morning and, have been setting up on the busy Wine Road Market since 6am. It’s now 11am, and the lunch queues are starting to form. With cold noodle dishes on the menu, Chilli Daddy are distinct from the usual Cantonese set-up. But it was their rich, savoury pork stock, fed with thick potato noodles, tofu (from Bristol) and chunks of chicken that I fell for. It was stirred through with fresh ginger and coriander, then topped with a slick of chilli sauce and a sprinkle of Szechuan pepper. Not stupidly hot — the sort of heat that would have had my Nan going back for seconds. Just really interesting. With Tongue N Cheek and Café Mor – both previous winners at the British Street Food Awards – also shortlisted in the category, this is clearly going to be close.