09 | Jul | 16

Hugh Thomas

Wild Cards

Just as some of our British Street Food Awards finalists are getting ready to cook for Simon Rimmer and Tim Lovejoy on this weekend’s Sunday Brunch, we’ve been having a bit of a think. Yes, we’ve got nine finalists already — but we want MORE.

2016 was the year we planted the BSF flag in Ireland. Saw punters making the most of the sunshine up North in Leeds. And in Bristol the people went nuts for, well, nuts. Cracking Nuts, to be exact.

But sometimes excellence went unrewarded. It happened in Birmingham and it happened in London. So as well as the winners of each heat, and the judges’ choices, we are welcoming back NINE outstanding traders –­ real crowd pleasers – to have a shot at the big prize. Why? Please let us explain.

Dosa Deli
These London stalwarts are in many ways the trader’s trader, though it seems they aren’t underappreciated by Masterchef winners either. In Blackheath, Jane Devonshire fell, as many have before her, for the allure of Dosa’s crispy pancakes – her only complaint was the slightly overpowering coconut accoutrement. Trust us, that will have been duly noted.

Baked in Brick
Cooking in the back of a vehicle is one thing, but flaming your meat and veg under the bonnet? Needless to say, Baked in Brick are currently near the top in our annual Facebook poll to find the Best Looking Mobiler. Good, then, that their meat game’s strong – there’ll be none of those style-without-substance tussles here.

Man Meat Fire
As the ancient recipe goes, meat plus wood always tastes good. True to their name, the Man Meat Fire team do things simply. And they do them well. That’s not to say they haven’t got the odd trick up their sleeves – word is they’ve got a top-secret new dish ready for the final. And a barbecue cake?

Cheeky Indian
Cheeky Indian were in the public’s favourite three traders at last year’s final, which means they aren’t about to disappear off the radar anytime soon. And nor should they – there’s plenty of space on Britain’s street kerbs for outlandish twists on Indian food. Just as long as the purists look away.

Café Mor
At a street food festival, you can hang your bunting. You can park your vans. You can bring your candy-coloured a-boards. But we guarantee there’ll be one thing you’ll never realise you’re missing – a fishing boat. Seeing as Jonathan from Café Mor bought his along to the South East heat, and seeing as his efforts won him a few fans (not forgetting those lobster rolls), he’s thoroughly earned his ticket to the final.

Eat The Farm
Kentish folk Eat The Farm missed out on the public vote in Blackheath, but only to Cheeky Burger. Arguably thanks to some of their lovably cheeky antics. Can Eat The Farm claw one back?

Well Hung
Well Hung are all about the very best of British steak. James and Heather (the butchers of the team) source the best beef in the local area and then age it, in-house, at the Well Hung butchery. The 28-day flat iron they use in their Philly Cheese steak sandwich is the stuff of legend, and their SLJT — a New York Bagel topped with steak, lettuce, jalapeños and tomato – has been known to stop traffic in Manchester.

Dim Sum Su
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 discerning customers in the North West of England – exactly the same way her family did back home.

Jojoto have applied to be in the finals every year for the past three years. Well, here they are, and rightfully so. They might’ve squeaked through the heats, but there’s still every chance 2016 could be their biggest one yet. If they get back from Colombia in time. They are still ‘off the radar’….

Now go and check out the final line-up here.