European Street Food

Europe is in the grip of a street food revolution. All across the continent, traders are taking traditional street foods – whether it’s banitsa in Bulgaria, gelato in Italy or churros in Spain – and repurposing them for a new generation. The streets are becoming a laboratory for new food ideas. But which country does it best? At the European Street Food Awards, now in its sixth year, we do our best to find out. Check it us out here and here.

Even in the midst of a pandemic, countries in Europe managed to hold food fights and choose their champions. In 2022 we had 16 countries competing. In 2023 it will be even more, with the public getting to try every single competitor’s food and then vote for their favourites. This year the national winners, plus the winners chosen by the public, and a few wild cards chosen by industry experts, will get to compete for the European title at the ESFA finals in Germany.

The ESFAs were the brainchild of Food Mutiny, the team behind the British Street Food Awards. Founded back in 2010, the BSFAs are deemed to be the toughest in the world, with five regional heats culminating in a live, national cook-off, judged by the general public and Michelin-starred chefs. Ironic that, in the time of Brexit, the British now want to get back IN to Europe.

“Street food is taking over” says Richard Johnson, founder of the BSFAs. “And that’s because we are choosing to eat in different ways. We don’t want a fixed starter-main course-dessert menu any more – we want a bit of this and a bit of that. It’s flirty, low-commitment dining, and it’s why pop-ups and street food have become so popular. It’s a much nicer way to eat.”

“The next step is to form a European team to take on the Americans” says Johnson. “We are launching the USA Street Food Awards in the Autumn. We want to take a container ship to New York, full of our very best European traders, and compete on the streets of Manhattan. Then it’s the Far East. This new way of eating is all about coming together and sharing food – in a world like ours, that feels like a positive message right now.”