One thing we can already say about 2021 – it can’t be as tough as 2020. We saw a lot of food businesses struggling to survive in the face of a global pandemic – but those left standing feel better equipped to survive. And SO ready to compete for silverware. Countries competed all across Europe, from Poland to Iceland and from Russia to Italy, in our European Street Food Awards, but – with widespread quarantine and free-movement issues – we had to make do without a grand finale in 2020. So the 2020 British Street Food Awards supported by Hellmann’s were more hotly-contested than ever.
Congratulations to Greidy’s Wings and Strips – our overall Champions. And to our People’s Choice winners – Makasih and Utter Waffle. With more Awards than ever this year (see the full list of winners below), there was a lot to be thankful for. 2020 has been marked by an overwhelming sense of gratitude. From traders, to be out and earning in the times we live in. And from the public, tired of the rigours of lock down, who want to break bread together again in a safe and responsible way. So our final, hosted by the legendary Blue Collar, really felt like something special.
It’s a miracle that the British Street Food Awards happened at all this year. Of course there was the small matter of a global pandemic. We’ve had to rearrange our heats twice, in one case three times, changing dates, traders and locations. We’ve been at the mercy of factors beyond our control. We scrambled to hold the Welsh Street Food Awards with Street Food Circus in Cardiff just hours before a city-wide lockdown – and cancelled the Scottish Street Food Awards at the Pitt in Edinburgh with 48 hours notice because of unexpected changes from the Scottish Government. But we got there in the end.
The winners from five heats lined up in Market Place. Up and down the country, the best of British Street Food had competed to win your vote:
British Street Food Awards (Central heat) 28/29/30 August – Street Food Club, Nottingham
British Street Food Awards (South heat) 19/20 September – Blue Collar Street Food, Reading
Welsh Street Food Awards 26/27 September – Street Food Circus, Cardiff
British Street Food Awards (Northern heat) 2/3 October – Grub, Manchester
Scottish Street Food Awards 9/10/11 October – The Pitt, Edinburgh
British Street Food Awards Grand Final 31 October/1 November – Market Place, Reading
And how. After we appeared on Saturday Kitchen with food from five of our finalists, we could have sold out the 2020 grand final 10 times over. Any other year we would have squeezed everyone in – a bit of ‘budge up please’, and some ‘shift along there madam’. But not in a time of virus. We took advice from our sponsors NCASS on how to run a safe – and sound – event, with clickers on the door monitoring crowd numbers, and more bottles of hand sanitiser than you could shake a stick at (although ‘shaking a stick’ is actually only allowed in Tier One) while 14 of the best traders in the UK tried to end their year with a bit of unashamedly good news.
Our judges were legendary. Ed Cooke, head chef of the Fat Duck, the most important restaurant in Britain, who turned up for judging duty despite facing a month-long closure next week. And Sheila Dillon, presenter of The Food Programme on BBC Radio 4 and one of the most iconic food journalists of her generation. They were knocked out by the quality of the finalists. “I often feel that I don’t challenges my taste buds enough” said Sheila “and step outside my Italian, Szechuan, Indian, French, Vietnamese, Thai comfort zone (quite a wide zone but…..). And if the BBC Food and Farming Awards get going again next year there were definitely people there who should be part of it.”
We only got our licence to run the BSFA final in Market Place by agreeing to run at-table ordering – to stop queuing and to minimise the amount of milling round on site. So our payment partners for the Awards, SumUp, adapted their very cool app to make it work for street food traders. The end result? Everyone loved it. Maybe 2021 won’t be that different. Maybe live events will remain socially distanced for the foreseeable future. But now we know the secret to keeping everyone safe – and sound. And we’re not sure anyone is ever going to want to queue up or mill round again.
Of course some of the problems we’ve encountered this year have been a little more ‘traditional’. Rain, for instance. The UK had its wettest day since records began on the weekend of the Northern heats in Manchester. Not great weather for selling #vibes. Same in Nottingham. So we made the most of the sun, when it DID come out, and enjoyed the socially-distanced indoor atmosphere provided by Grub and Nottingham Street Food when it DIDN’T. So we were ready for downpours at the final – and Glenn from Blue Collar blew the budget on a value pack of ponchos from Clas Ohlson. Whatever 2021 has in store, we’re ready.
BEST MAIN DISH – winner: Greidy’s wings and strips
Osaka Local – Chicken Nanban Rice Bowl: Deep fried soy and ginger marinated chicken, coated with sweet and sour Nanban sauce on sticky rice. Served with homemade tartar sauce made with Hellmann’s and takuan pickled radish on side.
Porco – Bangkok brunch: Fragrant and spicy Sai Oua sausage laced with lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, kaffir lime and garlic and house made from scratch using Packington free range pork shoulder. Fried quail eggs from Khao San Road, spritzed with soy and sriracha. House pickled daikon for sharp sweetness. And duck fat confit potatoes.
Makasih – Malaysian King Prawn Laksa: A traditional Malaysian classic…. juicy king prawns, rice noodles, fried tofu, vegetables and a soft boiled marinated egg, in a fragrant homemade shellfish broth topped with toasted sesame seeds, fresh homegrown herbs and served with our signature chilli sambal.
Greidy’s wings and strips – Jerk fried strips with Greidy Gravy: 24 hour brine and marination in our authentic jerk marinade, fried till golden in our hot and spicy dredge, drenched in Greidy gravy, garnished with cayenne mayo, fresh chillies, spring onion, chives and dry rub sprinkle. Served with in-house cut, twice fried rustic fries.
Rajiv’s Kitchen – Braised and pulled goat roti wrap with chaat mogo chips
Pellizco – (Día de Muertos special) Chipotle and black garlic beef tacos: With braised red cabbage emulsion, squash, parmesan, salsa verde, micro red amaranth, lime.
The Peruvian – Risotto with huancaina and lomo saltado: Risotto with huancaina sauce (Peruvian yellow chillies and queso fresco), topped with a stir fry of sirloin steak strips, red onion, tomatoes, spring onions and coriander
BEST SNACK – winner: The Peruvian
The Peruvian – Pork belly Peruvian-style served over sweet potato salsa criolla chillies and green sauce.
Rajiv’s Kitchen Chicken/vegan momos served with sesame and tomato spicy dipping sauce
Osaka Local – Okonomiyaki: Japanese savoury pancake, originating from Osaka, made with a wheat-based batter, dashi stock, shredded cabbage, spring onion and eggs and topped off with pork belly, Japanese brown sauce, mayonnaise, bonito fish flakes and seaweed.
Greidy’s wings and strips – Sriracha Thai-fried wings: 24-hour brine and marination in jerk marinade, fried till golden and coated with honey-soy sweet chilli glaze, garnished with sriracha chilli, sriracha mayo, chilli flakes, fresh chillies, spring onion and sesame with a Thai wing dust sprinkle.
Pellizco – Moss Valley Chorizo and feta empanadas, avocado crema, tomatillo and coriander chimichurri.
BEST BURGER – winner: Porco
Porco – PIG MAC: Two house-ground free range pork patties, house dry cured bacon, American cheese, house pickled cucumber, Porco Mac sauce, shredded iceberg and Tough Mary’s semi brioche bun.
Makasih – Chicken Satay Burger: Succulent chicken coated in our award-winning signature batter with a homemade lime chutney slaw, soy and chilli pickled cucumber, pink onions, and Malaysian satay sauce, in a locally-produced Pettigrew Bakeries sesame seed bun.
BEST SANDWICH – winner: Bao Selecta
Bao selecta – Original Nuttah Bao – Caramel braised pork belly, peanut powder, szechuan greens, hoi sin.
Maison Breizh – “Galette Bretonne avec Trempettes de Cancale”: A fermented Breton buckwheat galette with Cheshire farmed ham, egg and squash, Lancashire curds and mushroom with a side of Kraz with seaweed tartar and a sesame crème
Bao Bros 23 – Brother Monk: Black sesame crusted monkfish, kewpie tartare, salted cucumber, squid ink wafer and charcoal bao bun.
Pabellon – Pork (Pernil) arepa: roasted pork leg, sweet fried plantain, creamy avocado chunks and artisanal handcrafted cheese (Dad’s recipe) with homemade garlic sauce, on a handmade, freshly-cooked grilled corn bread.
BEST VEGAN – winner: Honest Edibles
Honest Edibles – Wild foraged Malaysian laksa noodle soup: A zesty creamy coconut soup made with organic turmeric, lemon grass, kaffir lime, ginger, galangal and garlic accompanied by foraged Yorkshire ceps and Hen of the Woods, local shitake mushrooms, Scarborough foraged kombu, local organic aubergines and noodles. Garnished with fresh mint, coriander and local grown micro greens.
Bao Selecta – Crispy “Beef” Bao (Vegan) – Seitan dumpling strips, sticky ginger glaze, szechuan cucumbers, holy basil
Utter Waffle – The Missing Chicken: Warm Waffle, stuffed with ‘mozzarella’ and thyme, topped with in-house fried chick’n, pickles, tomatoes, rocket, spring onions, Hellman’s garlic aioli and chilli infused syrup.
Pabellon – Vegan Pabellon: white rice, slow cooked black turtle beans in traditional sauce, sweet fried plantain, fresh Pico de Gallo salad and creamy avocado chunks, crowned with half-grilled corn bread.
Honest Edibles – Mexican blue soft shell tacos: Mini blue corn tortilla filled with smoked ancho chilli pisto frijoles made with British legumes, British smoked quinoa and organic local Crown Prince squash accompanied by charred lime corn, toasted pumpkin seed and roasted pepper sauce, avocado and local organic tomato salsa, organic chimichurri slaw
BEST DESSERT- winner: Maison Breizh
Maison Breizh – “Breton Buckwheat Cinq Façons”: A fermented Breton buckwheat galette with Breton buckwheat ice cream, Breton buckwheat honey, Kraz chocolad with a Breton buckwheat crumb
Utter Waffle – Mama’s Little Bakery: Warm Utter Waffle, topped with homemade berry compote, whipped vanilla cheesecake mousse, shortbread & raspberry crumb, white chocolate and popping candy.
Bao Bros 23 – Cocoa Bro: Orange chocolate brownie Bao, salted praline, raspberry gel, marshmallow, yuzu diplomat cream and white chocolate.
BEST LOOKING – winner: Pabellon
Final five shortlist was Utter Waffle, Waffle and Co, Halloumi Bites, Pabellon and Stag Bites The Hog
MOST SUSTAINABLE sponsored by Hellmann’s – winner: Honest Edibles
Judged by the Sustainable Restaurant Association in partnership with British Street Food.
Top three shortlist was Fink, ArtiSam and Honest Edibles
BEST NEWCOMER sponsored by SumUp – winner: Pellizco
Judged by SumUp in partnership with British Street Food
Top shortlist was Maison Breizh, Pellizco, Pwdin, Rajiv’s Kitchen and Osaka Local.
View our Awards Archive below