01 | Dec | 16

Hugh Thomas

Dear Santa

We have an admission to make. We had a peek under the ol’ Christmas tree. Rattled a few parcels. Sniffed something looking suspiciously like it could be a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Anyway, we were somewhat disappointed. There wasn’t really anything in it for us. None of The Rib Man’s signature sauces. No cookbooks telling us how to rustle up the kind of street food we’ve come to know and love. No sign of Bread Ahead’s pillowy doughnuts either.

So we’ve come to realise that ‘gifts for street food lovers’ isn’t really a thing. But it should be. So we’re making a list. Checking it twice etc. Trouble is, where to start?

How about with a hardback? Sorry – we don’t mean Delia or Mary Berry. We’re not that traditional. Instead, we’ve got eyes for Breddos’ new cookbook of ‘epic edible plates’ (e.g. Barbacoa beef cheeks, octopus al pastor). While their roots are in street food (Street Feast regulars know them well), Breddos’ new taqueria in Clerkenwell says this lot are doing something very right at the moment.

Or maybe there’s something for the budding entrepreneur in Felicity Luxmoore’s Street Food Soliloquy. Having fully realised the demands of running a street food business since 2011 (spoiler: it’s not easy), Felicity here warns/encourages those on the fence about what the whole operation REALLY entails. Proper DIY.

And we assume, as BSF regulars, that you’ll already own a copy of Street Food Revolution. If it wasn’t this particular time of year, we’d call it the Bible of modern British street food. From the man behind the British Street Food Awards. And, until the revised edition comes out, a first edition attracts the price tag of a Gutenberg original.

Speaking of originals, you know those doughnuts – aka custard pillows – we mentioned earlier? They’re where naughty meets nice, and Bread Ahead do the noble thing of teaching people how to make their famous treats. Seeing as they sell out every day, creating them at home would be a popular skill to have.

This year, barbecuing was an even bigger thing in street food than it was before – could Big Green Egg be considered a household name? Earn its place in the Oxford dictionary? Whatever – booking someone a course at the London Barbecue School will impress a friend for being ‘on trend’. And they’ll cook you the good stuff. Win-win.

Increasingly, street food traders are bringing their fare indoors. We’ve got the same idea, and as ever The Rib Man’s Holy F*** sauce makes a valuable addition to the BSF larder. Some Slow Pig charcuterie wouldn’t go amiss. Fell in love with what they do at the West and Wales heat of the 2015 British Street Food Awards, and this will be more of the same. And there’s bound to be something special about Hank’s creole spices, if their Po Boys are anything to go by.

If you were feeling a bit more adventurous however (and had the deep pockets to back it up), Eat My Pies top man Andy Bates (who was actually a finalist in the first ever British Street Food Awards in 2010) is up for ferrying people around London, while scoffing all the good bits about the capital in the process. With a private chauffeur, of course. It’s a bit of a culture clash – this street-food-meets-luxury lark – but who would really say no?