Scotland The Brave
What a weekend. Scotland became the first country in the 2021 European Street Food Awards to choose a winner. At The Pitt in Edinburgh – home to Scotland’s vibrant street food scene. Our panel of esteemed judges (read about them here), who were joined by street food legend and three-time SSFA-winner Robin Strigner of The Buffalo Truck, went for Antojitos and their vegan tacos, whilst the public opted for Barnacles & Bones with their British shellfish and obscure cuts of meat as the People’s Choice. The two winners (and maybe a wild card or two) will now go on to compete in the British Street Food finals in September.
The 2021 SSFA was about so much more than Edinburgh v Glasgow. We were delighted – and so were the press – that the finalists came to the capital from all over the country; from Tayside to Deeside. And everywhere in between. As a result, the food was the best ever.
The judges picked out a few favourites:
1. Soulfull’s beer battered cheese curds.
2. Chicken Skoop with their buttermilk fried chicken, with blue cheese, creole hot sauce, crispy bacon and salted pretzel.
3. Free the Chilli’s salt n chilli chicken.
4. The Fat Flamingo’s trio of tacos – sweet potato and black bean with peach salsa, low and slow adobo beef brisket, and braised mojo pork shoulder.
5. Barnacles & Bones’ king prawn, crab and avocado tostada
6. And, of course, the newly-crowned kings of Scottish Street Food, Antojitos Truck, with their 10/10 smoked seitan vegan quesadillas!
But everyone produced some fantastic food. Well done to all the finalists – the best street food traders in Scotland. See you at the BSFA grand finals in September.
THE 2021 SSFA FINALISTS
Stag Bites The Hog –
The virtual champions of the 2020 Scottish Street Food Awards. With a game menu served out of a bright orange retro 1973 Citroen h van – top speed 48mph – that made the top five in the Best Looking category of the 2020 British Street Food Awards.
Mac Love Scotland –
Famous for their Fully Loaded Mac Dog. A hot dog served in a brioche bun, loaded with the macaroni of your choice. According to Jo, the boss at Mac Love Scotland, “People generally say ‘How the frig am I supposed to eat all of that?’!”
Antojitos Truck –
Signature dish here is home-made seitan, coated in Mexican spices and smoked over applewood, giving it a brisket like consistency. It is shredded and coated in a homemade chipotle BBQ sauce, and served in a quasadilla or taco.
Free the Chilli –
Jamie, the man behind the chilli-flavoured adventures of Free The Chilli, first spotted an abandoned trailer from the window of his bus. “I remember a year later, passing it again, unmoved, and calling the number on the faded, water soaked ink that read “trailer not abandoned’. A week later it was being towed down to our top secret workshop where we began to peel away at the surface layer, revealing the unseen catastrophe that lay beneath. We began with the equipment, a pneumatic grinder and a lot of elbow grease. Soon enough, we were looking at our reflections on the sides of fryers and grill plates. Scraping four layers of paint off in the snow was another interesting task, but worth every frozen fingertip. Refitting, re-wiring, re-flooring, re-panelling, re-painting… all done. Re-thinking taking on such a massive task? Never. Making it how we wanted it is one of the most rewarding things we could have done.
Gallus street food –
Gallus aren’t short on confidence. “We are the fastest rising star on the street food scene in Glasgow – and most likely Scotland” says Andy. “In six months, we’ve went from nothing to being asked to take part in Big Feed and have been name checked on Clyde 1, Go Radio and The Herald. Our journey is all about offering authentic street foods from around the world and we are doing that. Inspiration comes from everywhere, and whether we are knocking out baos, tacos, burgers, pizzas or soul food…people are coming thick and fast and loving the vibe. Food is our passion, it comes across in everything we do.”
Smoke And Soul –
Best seller? “Our Korean BBQ slow smoked brisket wrap” says Lindsay. “It’s been an OG dish since we started four years ago. It’s captured the hearts of many customers and was the reason they kept following us around events across Aberdeen like crazy meat lunatics. Some people say they are brisket wrap addicts. We believe them. We’ve seen how upset they get if we sell out early at events.”
“We want to introduce real Japanese food to Scotland” says Frederick. “There is so much more out there than sushi”. Okonomiyaki is soul food from Kansai – Japan’s cultural capital. The name translates to “as you like it, fried” (sort of). It’s a big fat pancake full of cabbage and spring onions and topped with Katsuobushi (bonito flakes), aonori (seaweed) and different sauces. Traditionally its cooked at the table on a teppan while everyone sits around it and chats – but Taberu serve theirs from a converted army truck.
Fat Flamingo –
The Fat Flamingo do a few different dishes with brisket as the star of the show – cooked low and slow in adobo sauce really brings out the smoky sweet spicy goodness! “Our old trailer burnt down just at the start of the first lockdown” says Fin, “so we completely rebranded and – like a flamingo from the ashes – we procured a brilliant horsebox that’s been a dream!”
Pakora Explorer –
Pakora Explorer was founded by Sheetal, and her Dad, aka Papa Pakora. And ever since she started this journey he’s been by her side (not bad for a man in his 70’s)! He likes to try new things and one day he put some Pakora in a roll….the rest is history. “On the top we add Big Brother Pakora’s Chilli & Lime Mayo for that added heat and zingy flavour” says Sheetal. “We then add three pieces of our delicious, secret family recipe pakora and sprinkle our secret seasoning (so secret, only myself & Mama Pakora know what’s in it) before topping off with some of our homemade sweet tangy onions…. hungry?
The Peruvian –
Winner of Best Snack in the 2020 British Street Food Awards, Carlo Carozzi is a bit of a street food rock star. His signature dish – the lomo saltado. “It’s what I order in every Peruvian restaurant I go to in the world. It is a Chinese-Peruvian fusion dish which is widely popular across Peru. It is a stir fry of steak, red onions, tomatoes, spring onions and coriander which is served over rice and chips.”
Ròst serves the best of local and Scottish produce. A menu of creative sliders (crispy Korean spam baos anyone?) home-made pastramis, slow-cooked meats, game, fish, wild foods and salad specials.
Barnacles & Bones –
Bringing British shellfish and obscure cuts of meat to the plate.
Chicken Skoop –
Chicken Skoop are the proud creators of Scotland’s Original ‘Chick In Cone’. Freshly baked waffle cones filled with crispy buttermilk fried chicken! “We offer a range of six different flavours all of which are coated in one of our homemade sauces and garnishes. We prepare all of our ingredients in house and bake our waffle cones fresh everyday to order, using our own special Chicken Skoop recipe. We have had countless positive reviews about our product with many customers saying it is the most creative twist on food they have ever experienced and some even claiming it is the best thing they have ever eaten! We have also been praised for the high quality and consistency of our product as well as its value for money! Our product also has been doing the rounds on social media with many customers posting their cones to their stories excited about our product.
Pizza and Dreams –
The extravagant claim from Pizza And Dream? That they do the best vegan pizza in Scotland. “We make our own vegan meats, source our cheese from Scotland, everything is plant based. Plus the dough is aged for 48 hours, so it’s really light. We’re always adding specials, so lots to do.. We trade from a smart looking gazebo, cook from roccbox ovens and tend to wear Hawaiian shirts and play 80’s music and Florida country music or old classics when we cook. We look the part haha.”
Ryan has perfected a homemade vegan doner served on a locally baked levantine flatbread with blood orange, cucumber, pomegranate and mint salad, toum (garlic emulsion) and red chilli sauce. “We’re really proud of this one” he says, “and it’s been a joy sharing it so far.”