14 | May | 15

Richard Johnson

The Day Today

Today is a bad day for street food. It’s not the arrival of Morrison’s Bangkok Street Noodles that you heat up in a microwave. The supermarkets have been sniffing around street food (literally) for years. We wrote about it in the Guardian — back in 2012. This is just the consequence. And, in the opinion of British Street Food, merely directs people to the good stuff. But there’s something else. When one of the guiding lights of the industry — Ben Davy — shines a light on “the good stuff”, and finds it wanting, well…..it’s a sad day for us all.

In a piece for Munchies, he says that today’s street food industry is full of “bandwagon jumpers” — and he doesn’t stop there. This is what he says about the lack of standards:

Here’s the recipe for an instant street food business: Buy some frozen brioche, pre-cooked meat, shit BBQ sauce, and coleslaw; chuck it all together and flog ’em out the back of an old Citroen H van for £5. Call yourself “The Pork Dork.” Boom: street food.

This is the man who won the 2014 British Street Food Awards. He was one of the traders on our roadshow across Scotland and the North of England. He knows what he’s talking about. So are things really that bad? I have seen traders — WELL KNOWN traders — passing off shop-bought burgers as something that they’ve made themselves. But it’s a rarity. I still take Ben’s opinion seriously. In an effort to grow street food, and make a living, are we cutting too many corners?