16 | Jun | 24

Richard Johnson

Dragon’s Feast

The world’s biggest street food competition returned to Wales across the weekend of 15-16 June, with Street Food Circus taking the festival to a new location at Llandeilo’s recently restored historic Market Hall. We wanted to find the talent beyond Cardiff. We wanted to reconnect with ingredients, in a country that is LOADED with producers. And boy did it pay off.

Twelve competitors in the Welsh Street Food Awards cooked for a judging panel and a public People’s Choice vote across the weekend. The Awards were judged by Richard Johnson, founder of the British Street Food Awards, alongside food writer, broadcaster and restaurateur Simon Wright, Welsh food and travel writer Kacie Morgan and Welsh food blogger and content creator, Shannon Owens. This is how it went down:

CHAMPION (and new owner of the iconic winner’s A Board from Majisign)
1 Pasta A Mano
2= Hills of Brecon and Taco Taco Taco
3 Origin Pizza

Winning dish: Car-Y-Mor crab linguine with mascarpone, lemon and Awen Organics agretti.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE
1 Hills Brecon
2 Bayside
3 Origin Pizza

Winning dish: Le Bacon Cheeseburger, Bearnaise sauce, red wine ketchup and bacon lardons

“This is a great validation for our ethos of not compromising on the quality of our ingredients, making everything from scratch and only using the best local ingredients” says Derw Robertson-Jacobs from Pasta a Mano. “In Pembrokeshire I have all these incredible producers on my doorstep – many of whom are now close friends – and all my ingredients come through these really supportive producer relationships. I’m so proud to be able to showcase what our often-overlooked part of the world has to offer.”

Owain Hill, from Hill’s Brecon, was just as excited to win the People’s Choice. “We’ve had fantastic feedback and people have been lovely all weekend so it’s very humbling that they’ve voted for us to win. All of the traders have been exceptional and this has been such an amazing showcase for Welsh Street Food. Going on to the UK finals will be a great opportunity for us – alongside another great business Pasta a Mano – to represent Wales and take Welsh food and Welsh producers to a wider UK audience.”

The Welsh winners will now take their dishes on to compete at the British Street Food Awards finals in London with a chance to go on to represent Wales at the European Street Food Awards grand final in Germany.

British Street Food Awards Final
London, 13-15 September 2024

European Street Food Awards Final
Germany, 4-6 October 2024

Richard Johnson, British Street Food Awards founder, was excited at the standard. “Congratulations to our champion – the judges had a tough job with such a diverse and delicious line up of competitors, but when it came down to flavour, quality and originality, Pasta A Mano was a unanimous choice. And a massive well done to Hills for winning over all our visitors and taking the People’s Choice award.

“Over the years, we’ve seen many street food cooks from Wales go on and win against competition from the UK and the best in the world. So we’re excited to see how far the class of 2024 will progress.”

Matt the Hat, Street Food Circus founder and ringmaster, was delighted with the success of the weekend. “We were thrilled to be able to take our travelling caravan of international flavours to Llandeilo. We’re on a mission to discover and nurture new street food talents – and to create events in unique locations all over Wales to give as many people as possible to try their food.

“Thank you to the people of Llandeilo and Carmarthenshire for coming out to support our chefs and helping to send them on their way to the UK finals and, we hope, all the way to Germany!”

Welsh Street Food Award Contestants 2024

ABI’S GAMBIA KITCHEN
Ghana has long been a hidden gem of wonderful, delicious food and Abi is a passionate home cook living in Carmarthen. Abi is showcasing West African home cooking using bold regional flavours and traditional cooking techniques. Competition dish: BBQ chicken with yassa sauce

BAYSIDE GRILL
Amitpreet is a career chef who takes pride in the food he produces and the homemade sauces and spice mixes he creates at the Bayside Grill in Cardiff. Competition dish: 8-hour slow cooked beef short rib and mac ’n’ cheese balls.

CEGIN MANUKA
Cegin Manuka is from the seaside town of Aberaeron – people come from far and wide to sample their pan-Asian inspired menu. Competition dish: sticky chilli chicken, Thai green salad, crispy noodles & Manuka sweet chilli sauce

DIOD
Llandeilo locals serving up great Welsh food (and great coffee and cakes) from their coffee and wine shop in the heart of the town.

HILLS BRECON
HILLS of Brecon, a family run business have been building a reputation as one of the best burger joints in the country, using the best in local produce to make their explicit burgers! Competition dish: Le Bacon Cheeseburger, Bearnaise sauce, red wine ketchup & bacon lardons

ORIGIN PIZZA
Just a couple of guys and gals sharing a passion for wood fired pizza using local produce and travelling the UK in their Land Rover (with built-in pizza oven!). Competition dish: small batch, hand balled dough, hand-stretched using traditional methods to create a Naples-style pizza with a thin base and fluffy crust.

PACKED
Packed are street food newbies – developing an idea they stumbled across while travelling through the Americas: the Italian gravy-dunked beef sandwich. Competition dish: beef topside braised in a rich gravy, packed into a bread roll and, as in Chicago, half or fully dunked in the gravy.

PASTA A MANO
A pop-up pastaria from Cardigan that has quickly gained a cult following for offering authentic Italian Street Food in Wales. Competition dish: handmade fresh pasta