24 | Jul | 23

Richard Johnson

Power of Three

The press couldn’t believe it. Three winners! Scotland has not ONE, not TWO, but THREE champions, as the 2023 Scottish Street Food Awards – hosted by the Neighbourgood Market – is shared by Choola, Bia and Fred’s Backyard Barbecue. That’s two more Golden A-Boards from our masters of branding at Majisign. With Wanderers Kneaded taking the People’s Choice.

Here are the full results:

Champion (chosen by our judges):

1.= Bia
1.= Fred’s Backyard Barbecue
1.= Choola

2. Falafel Stop

3.= Black Pearl Creole Kitchen
3.= The Funnel Cake Co

People’s Choice (chosen by a public vote at the event)

1. Wanderer’s Kneaded

2. Fred’s Backyard Barbecue

3. Choola

Judging the most even heat in the 13-year history of the British Street Food Awards fell to a very special panel – the food editor at the Scotsman Gaby Soutar, comic Jay Lafferty and Conor Toomey, the Head Chef from the Michelin-starred Condita. They are sending all FOUR winners to the grand finals at Hackney Bridge in London on August 18-20 (tickets here). And, just maybe, the grand finals of the European Street Food Awards hosted September 29-October 1 in Germany..

Where to start? The delicious doubles from Black Pearl. With a delicate, and authentic, jerk chicken Anji set the bar very high. Then there was the Lebanese falafel from Dany at the Falafel Stop – “it changed my whole perception of falafel” said the Michlen-starred Conor Toomey. Chick peas and fava beans, all cooked fresh, with tarator sauce on the side. What about the arancini balls from Bia – new kids on the block offering up a fusion of Scottish and Irish cooking? “One of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth” said Jay. No comment.

Then there were the chicken wings and spring rolls from Okanda’s South-East Asian menu. But it was their secret rice that got the judges talking. Delightfully Delicious managed to up the chicken and waffle game by delivering thick slabs of juicy chicken AND a toasted sesame seed and spring onion waffle. Two flavour hits, with homemade Korean sauce and kimchi on the side. Don’t get me started on Fred’s pork belly burnt ends – caramelised, sweet and savoury, with a home-made barbecue sauce that delivered a smokey smack of Jura whisky.

Wanderer’s Kneaded served up their Award-winning Don’t Tell The Countryman. Which, with its mix of pear and walnut, defined New Scottish Pizza when it won the Scottish Street Food Awards back in 2019. The bento box from Sando featured a DELICIOUS katsu curry sando – a Japanese-style sandwich – with home-baked bred and dipping sauce. A winner in any other year. Like Choola, whose buffalo curry with pickled radish came with an intriguing crispy rice.

Then, just when it seemed like it was all over, Mint snuck in with a chicken wrap slathered in a sharp, cheffy sauce verte. And the Funnel Cake Co delivered two desserts that elevated a theme park dessert from the USA to something worthy of special respect. The chocolate crumb brought texture, and the strawberries (that tasted like they used to taste) brought sharpness. The cream? That brought the smiles….