28 | Aug | 19

Richard Johnson

Meet The Finalists

This is it. The moment we’ve been waiting for. After a gruelling summer of cook offs at our FIVE regional heats, we are able to announce our final 16 for the 2019 British Street Food Awards supported by Hellmann’s. They have been voted for by YOU, the general public, and our team of esteemed judges, and they’re currently busy checking their menu (and their tyre pressure) ready for the ultimate food fight at Hawker House in London. Come along. Enjoy the DJs, the free canapés made from food waste and the free pint upon entry before you Eat Drink Vote – and choose the British champion to take on the other national champions at the European Street Food Awards in Malmo, the biggest street food competition in the world. Tickets available here – but BE QUICK!

Dolly (Sussex)
The World’s Smallest Food Truck – and an advert in sustainability (shortlisted for our new Award for Most Sustainable sponsored by Hellmann’s). All the food is cooked on board from equipment that pulls out of the car! Electric and gas, with two sinks, hot water, a charcoal oven, sous vide and a large griddle – all removable and interchangeable. And somehow, in a festival field, they manage to serve up a flight of souffles – sweet AND savoury. MAD!!!

Homeboys (Nottinghamshire)
Pete Hewitt from Nottingham was a Masterchef finalist in 2015. And yet his real passion is for more informal dining — what he calls the bread and butter, the everyday eatin’. So he imported himself a 1978 Grumman Olson Stepvan from the US and set up Homeboys, specialising in Japanese soul food. Expect a strong veggie menu (braised aubergine donburi with soy cured yolk, pickles and tempura sauce) and meaty classics such as karaage and pickles, and Japanese fried chicken. But you’ll never know EXACTLY what Pete has got on the menu until the plate arrives in front of you. This guy can COOK.

Flats (Worcestershire)
A vegan donut truck. Vegan donuts? Yes. With vegan meringue. Served from a converted ambulance…the fifth emergency service etc. James the owner used to do a raging business as the Cake Doctor, but has undergone a change of identity – and a change of heart about the role of dairy in our diet – and now SMASHES it as Flats.

Turo Turo (London)
It’s been Rex’s mission to popularize Filipino cuisine in London since 2014. He has run pop-up restaurants 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 at the Southern heats in Portsmouth. Will it do the same in London?

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!

Flying Cows (West Midlands)
A gorgeous airstream with a real farm to fork story. Farmer and chef Dan set up The Flying Cows as an outlet for his family’s grass-fed Dexter beef, and he won BSFA Best Burger back in 2017. But this year he wants to go one better and win the whole damn thing.

Need Street Food (Hampshire)
It’s not just the dipping gravy – or the mouth-feel of the NSF brisket rolls that do you good. Oh no. This lot are 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.

Wanderers Kneaded (Edinburgh)
An an old-school food truck with a wood-fired oven specialising in gourmet pizzas. But the toppings? Outrageous. The team, who won the 2019 Scottish Street Food Awards supported by Hellmann’s, introduce a new pizza every week. Edinburgh still talks about their Deconstructed Guac, but we’re expecting pear, gorgonzola dolce topped with honey-roasted walnuts on a white base of organic mozzarella to figure in the BSFA finals. And maybe figs and nduja topped by an exploded burratina and organic hot honey. Alongside all the Italian classics, and based on a sourdough developed for about 10 years. Wow.

Pabellón (London)
Venezuelan food always pulls a crowd. But this is the best that’s out there – by a country mile. Pabellón’s home-made corn bread has none of the aftertaste of the commercial varieties. Plus there’s the intense taste of the slow-cooked meat, the sweetness of the fried plantain and the acid of the fresh lime juice on the Pico de Gallo salad. That is why Helios won’t lose his queue all weekend – trust.

Kokodoo (London)
Street food isn’t all about the well-intentioned amateur any more. Having run a restaurant and several takeaway shops for over 10 years, plus qualifying along the way as Cordon Bleu, Joseph Yoon wanted to bring that knowledge and experience to the streets. With a menu of beautifully-presented classics, ranging from a Bibimbap of sauteed and seasoned vegetables topped with chilli sauce and spicy pork, to his KFC – Korean Fried Chicken – Kokodoo show how far street food in the UK has evolved.

Shoot The Bull (Yorkshire)
Shoot The Bull bring a restaurant focussed menu to the street! Innovative, seasonal and fresh. They have come so close to the big prize before – they were BSFA finalists back in 2016 – and have developed quickly. They now have a team of over 60 staff. They have their own pub/restaurant in Hull, a bakery and street food kitchen in the Indoor Market in Hull, a Bar & Restaurant at Hull Truck Theatre, as well as a number of coffee shops plus a concession at Kommune in Sheffield. It’s clearly not enough for Chris. So is 2019 their year? Like he says, “Winning at the BSFA finals would be the icing on the cake.”

Indian Street Kitchen (London)
You won’t miss Indian Street Kitchen – or Peggy, their 1972 Commer Highwayman Food Truck. They are a happy band of traders, and light up London’s street food markets with their take on Indian family classics. Their signature dish is a raan burger, with six-hour slow cooked lamb, pulled and smoked, served with an organic sauce of green chilli, Indian mustard, chives and sour cream. One customer at the Barnes Food Fair came back saying it was the best vegetarian burger she had ever had. “For a moment” remembers Sid, “we were slightly shocked. I corrected her that what she ate was six-hour slow cooked pulled lamb. She responded with, “WOW. I have never eaten lamb before. That was amazing”! We had a great laugh about it and we still do…to this day. She is now one of our best customers. She still comes to Barnes to get a Raan Burger from us every year.”

Makasih (Caerphilly)
The husband and wife team behind Makasih (it’s Malay for ‘thanks’) will go a long way to perfect their menu. To Malaysia, to be precise. “On one visit” says Ruth, “Roger was desperate to try a dish we had seen on many blogs called Wan Tan Mee. We were told we could find it on most street corners. Well, we could if the stall wasn’t closed on a Tuesday, hadn’t run out of noodles, didn’t close early because it was getting close to Chinese New Year or hadn’t just sold their last five to the gentleman in front of us…it became laughable in the end.” After days and days of searching, they found it. “And it was worth every bite.” Signature dish? Malaysian Fried Chicken Roti. . And any advice to new street food traders? “Get good shoes” says Ruth. “Plus a big car, a back up plan and a great menu. It goes a long way!”

Buffalo Truck (Edinburgh)
The Scottish champions for the last three years had considered retiring from the Awards. But Scotland wouldn’t let them. So the winners (again) of the 2019 SSFA People’s Choice Award are back for another stab at the British title! “This year” says chief Trucker Robin Strigner, “we want to stay true to what we serve on the streets, so we won’t be making up any one-off competition dishes but rather serving our amazing buttermilk fried chicken burgers as you would find them at any event. Well maybe with a small twist. But we don’t need to win to be happy – taking part again will be our pleasure.” Right….

MorMor – (Yorkshire)
This outfit make contemporary, beautiful, healthy street food, inspired by the cuisines of the Levant – the historical region that spans the East Mediterranean and the Middle East. With lots of options for carnivores as well an abundance of veggie and vegan deliciousness, MorMor are currently lighting up Kommune in Sheffield.

The Pink Peppercorn (West Glamorgan)
What a beauty – and four months in the making. That’s how long it took Alex Cook (I know) to convert his charming 1970’s Swift Corvette into a mobile kitchen. But it was worth it. The Welsh champion is now able to use it to cook up a modern Welsh menu that runs from his signature of Y Potch Cig Dafad (c.1864) “Rock Venison” to Miso Risotto. A year down the track, Alex is now branching out to include wider culinary influences – the judges were won over by his cajun chowder. But the Welshness of his ingredients (it featured Welsh chorizo, Tenby mussels and sweetcorn with marsh samphire) is always front and centre.