27 | May | 19

Richard Johnson

South Heats

Picture: James White Photography

What is it about the South heats? In 2018, the winner at Gunwharf Quay’s – Jah Jyot from Sussex – went on to the national finals in London, and the European finals in Berlin, where they only went on to WIN THE WHOLE DARN THING. And after doing brilliantly at the South heats last year, Bubble& went on to secure investment from Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar on the BBC’s My Million Pound Menu. So how about 2019? The media wanted to know. Who was going to change the world after winning big in Portsmouth?

We had a wonderful team of judges, and Ranie from Jah Jyot joined on the day. After two hours of tasting they chose Indian Street Food and Turo Turo as joint winners – they couldn’t decide between Rex’s pork belly and Sid’s take on the quesadilla. So both now go on to compete in the national finals of the 2019 British Street Food Awards supported by Hellmann’s. In London. And maybe represent Britain in the finals of the European Street Food Awards. In Malmo. The vote for the People’s Choice was between Pabellón, Staks and Need Street Food all weekend. But Pabellón ran out the winner. People loved their home-made everything – from arepas to avocado salads – and they’ll now join Indian Street Kitchen and Turo Turo at the finals. But there will be a few wild cards for the final. Who deserves one? Portsmouth had one heck of a line-up:

Indian Street Kitchen
Dumpling Dumpling
Need Street Food
Utter Waffle
ROK Kitchen
Staks Food
Turo Turo
Flour Power
Carne no Carvao
Bunnyman’s Bunnychow

Dolly (Hampshire)
A 2Cv Dolly converted into what we believe to be The World’s Smallest Food Truck. Dolly’s success is built on its functionality – with electric and gas on board, two sinks, hot water, a charcoal oven, a hot plate, sous vide and a large griddle. When the cheese souffles had all sold out in Portsmouth, Andrew simply added his full bar set up to the tailgate and sold gin. Genius!

Turo Turo (London)
It’s been Rex’s mission to popularize Filipino cuisine in London since 2014. He has run pop-up restaurants, worked with the Philippine embassy, and gone on a 3-month culinary tour of the Philippines – but street food is how he’s going to take those Filipino flavour profiles (Sour, Salty and Sweet) to the people. Signature dish? His Filipino Grilled Chicken “Inasal” – a vinegar-marinated boneless chicken thigh, lemongrass and vinegar butter glaze, pickled carrot “atchara” and steamed jasmine rice. It blew the judges away.

Staks Souvlaki (Kent)
Lamb kofta souvlaki with Hellenic pitta, onions and parsley, tomatoes, homemade tzatziki sauce with oregano salted fries. Say no more. And then queue for seconds.

Utter Waffle (London)
These are no ordinary waffles…UW stuff the batter during cooking, which results in pockets of molten, hot deliciousness, covered with fresh toppings. Waffles like these really haven’t been seen before – plus, they are all gluten free! They even have a vegan batter! And Reggie, their Waffle Wagon, is one of the most handsome food vans around town! He is a 1975 Vintage Ford Transit, meets 21st Century sleek and beautiful design! Go and nominate him (and Dolly, and the belter from BEYRoots) for Best Looking Mobiler on our Facebook page….

ROK Kitchen (Kent)
This finalist from the 2018 British Street Food Awards, serving authentic Korean, wants to go one better this year – and actually win The Big One. In the next 5 years chef Steve wants to have stalls in Australia working the winter months so he can base himself in the UK for the summer. “Plus I still have ambitions to be the UK’s first Michelin star street food”. Get him.

BEYRoots (London)
The idea for BEYRoots began in November 2016. “I was losing touch with my job as a Building Design Engineer” remembers Tariq, “and began laying out plans. To serve authentic, tasty and affordable Lebanese food to the people of London. No Fusion Rubbish, No Artisan Crap and No False Pretences – just real Lebanese street food. The food that I have eaten during every one of my countless journeys back to my fatherland.” Did he achieve what he set out to do? ‘arahina ‘anah faeal.

Need Street Food (Hampshire)
It’s not just the NSF stuffed rolls that makes you feel great. Oh no. They’re serving up street food with a conscience. “We make food that tastes good and does good. Every time someone eats with us they fund shipments of life-saving food to programmes fighting malnutrition. To date we’ve shipped 119,000 packets of food supplement to Syria and Yemen. We do this by serving the food we love – brisket rolls and vegan buns.”

Dumpling Dumpling (Isle of Wight)
Nat and Dan are a husband and wife team from the Isle of Wight who dream of creating a unique street food experience based on the Chinese dumpling. They fell in love with dumplings (“Jiaozi”) whilst living and teaching in Southern China for two years. “My given Chinese name was actually ‘Jiaozi’ as my students would see me eating them all the time” says Nat. Their mac and cheese dumplings are a wicked creation – try their dumpling roulette and they’ll choose for you!

Indian Street Kitchen (London)
Sid promises traditional flavours and fusion ways from his vintage Commer. The wicked paint job always attracts attention, but his food – and his ridiculously charming team – prove that he’s more than style over substance.

Flour Power Pizza (Cornwall)
It took the couple behind FPP three years to explore Italy – and truly establish that the ingredients were so fresh, tomatoes so sweet, and dough so light. “After undertaking training to become professional pizzaioli in Florence and working in several pizzerias, we returned to Cornwall with our unique pizza recipe and launched Flour Power Pizza Parlour. For just over a year now we’ve been traveling around different villages and towns in our eye-catching colourful van wowing the Cornish community and visitors with our divine pizza. Our secret is our multigrain dough recipe that has 80% hydration and slowly rises over 72 hours making it incredibly light and digestible with a delicious nutty taste. We believe no-one else is doing this recipe in the UK. This combined with the very best Cornish and Italian ingredients, not forgetting our love story that led us to where we are today, makes us interesting. Trust me – you want to taste our pizza!”

Carne no Carvao (Surrey)
Valdeni is a Brazilian BBQ chef who aims to introduce the UK to the traditional Brazilian BBQ, where the chunks of meat are cooked on skewers over a charcoal BBQ. He built his own setup out of wooden pallets. Well, wooden pallets PLUS blood, sweat and tears.

Pabellón (London)
Venezuelan food always pulls a crowd. It’s the intense taste of the slow cooked meat, the sweetness of the fried plantain, the acid of the fresh lime juice on the Pico de Gallo salad and the crispy grilled corn bread — and Helios didn’t lose his queue all weekend.

Bunnyman’s Bunnychow (Hampshire)
Bunnychow, often referred to as a bunny, is a South African classic consisting of a hollowed-out loaf filled with curry. It originated in the Durban Indian community — but a family from England’s South coast are now busily making it their own. “We’ve had our work cut out in the last few years keeping up with life – five kids, two rescue puppies (+ cat), full time firefighter duties, festivals, separate food van business etc” says Steve from Bunnyman’s. “But we’d absolutely love to make our mark on the British Street Food Awards in 2019.” The steak version comes in Hot-as-Hell or Heatless versions (meaning you can mix them to your palette) and the vegans get a special Vegan Delight. “Yes – we can now serve a gluten-free vegan” says Steve. “That’s GOT to impress the judges….”