Our UK street food top 20 of 2016

20 great things we ate this year on the streets of the UK…

Top street food 2016

Here’s our street food top 20 of 2016. Sadly we didn’t quite manage to travel to every nook and cranny of these isles so this is by no means a complete list. It’s simply 20 traders (in no particular order) who are great at what they do and served us some knock-out dishes this year. We’ve also eaten some amazing food from fantastic traders who didn’t quite make the top 20 (there were some very, very close calls) so thanks to everyone. See you for more in 2017.

1) Original Patty Men (Birmingham)

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Despite opening a restaurant last year, OPM still take their trusty gazebo out on the road from time to time. As soon as the patties hit the grill, they gave off that unmistakable smell of aged meat and we knew we were onto a winner. Their cheeseburger is without doubt one of our top 5 current UK burgers.

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2) Nasi Lemak (Manchester)

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Malaysian food sadly seems to be under-represented in the north. Luckily, Nasi Lemak’s Jimmy Khor can be found at street food events and pop-ups all over Lancashire and Yorkshire. His hawker skills and kick-ass flavours are something to behold. Rempah chicken and sambal prawns are two of our dishes of the year.

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3) Yakumama (West Yorkshire)

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Yakumama are former YBFs winners and it shows. Owners Marcelo and Hannah serve-up restaurant quality, Latin American inspired food that looks as good as it tastes. We’ve had a few great dishes from them this year but our pick of the bunch has to be their amazing tamarind pork belly. They’re based in West Yorkshire so look out for them all over the north (as well as further afield).

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4) Dumpling Shack (London)

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Their stall at Broadway Schoolyard Market has been my go-to dumpling destination for a good couple of years now. The dumplings have always been great but the pan fried soup dumplings took things to a new level this year. John Li and his crew have also done a few massively popular kitchen takeovers this year and I hear big plans are afoot for 2017…

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5) Manjit’s Kitchen (Leeds)

Manjit’s Kitchen have been in business since 2010 and are true OGs of the Leeds street food scene. Manjit’s superb Indian veggie food is still available on the street from her iconic yellow horsebox, as well as at a permanent site at Leeds’ Kirkgate market. Check out her amazing chilli paneer wrap and thali. Who needs meat when veggie food tastes this good?

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6) Breddos Tacos (London)

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These guys can’t put a foot wrong in our eyes. Tacos are certainly the thing right now, but Breddos have been perfecting their art for years. You can now find them at their first restaurant in Clerkenwell as well as at Street Feast events. THIS 50 day aged Dexter rump-cap taco was quite possibly the tastiest plateful I’ve ever eaten at a street food event and it’s still baffling how it only cost £6.

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7) Smokestak (London)

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If there’s better brisket or pork ribs to be had in London, I’ll eat my hat. We usually go for both and order brisket with no bun. You wouldn’t put amazing steak in a sandwich now, would you? Find them at their first restaurant on Scaler St. in Shoreditch and at Street Feast events.

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8) Papa Ganoush (Newcastle)

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When Papa Ganoush started out in 2011, the north east street food scene consisted of little more than burger vans and hog roasts. These guys helped change all that. The chicken shawarma is absolutely superb, as is the falafel. They are launching their first restaurant in Whitley Bay later this year. Till then you can catch them on Newcastle’s Quayside most Sundays.

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9) Hip Hop Chip Shop (Manchester)

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Hip Hop Chip Shop sling out fresh battered fish and hand-cut chips from inside a giant boom box (stroke of genius). Besides the excellent fish, we loved the battered gherkins, onion rings and PROPER mushy peas. Find them at their residency in Manchester NQ at Kosmonaut and street food events in Yorkshire and Lancashire.

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10) Kothu Kothu (London)

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With traders like Kothu Kothu around, it’s little wonder that Sri Lankan food has become ‘a thing’ in London this year. Kothu Kothu means ‘chop chop’ as the ingredients in the dish – roti, vegetables, egg and curry – are chopped up on the griddle with metal blades. If you’re a big spice fan, this is one trader to seek out. Find them at Croydon Boxpark and Kerb.

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11) Burger & Beyond (London)

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Burger & Beyond’s Cliff burger must be one of the most talked about street eats of the year. It’s made up of a 90 day aged chuck and brisket patty, pancetta, lettuce and tarragon mayo. I had wondered if it might be too funky but not a bit of it. Keep an eye out for their Orange Citroen H Van or catch them at Kerb Camden whenever hunger strikes.

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12) Scream For Pizza (Newcastle)

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If you ever come across Goldie (their lovingly restored vintage army ambulance) and her canny owners, you’re in for a treat. Alex and Victoria serve delicious Neapolitan-style pizzas using ingredients you’d expect to see in the old country – San Marzano tomatoes, fior de latte and the best local produce. Their flavour combinations are something special too. We recently had their Brooklyn Bee which perfectly marries sweet chilli honey with savoury soppressata salami. Find them in and around Newcastle and the north east.

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13) Arepazo Bros (London)

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Ever tried an arepa? If not, get your arse down to Kerb Camden for one of these. This grilled corn pocket is filled with delicious slow-cooked meat, plantain, beans, guacamole, cheese and more. Of the 30-odd stalls here, this is certainly one I’d make a beeline for time and time again. You may need a shower after eating it but who cares. Just grab a few napkins and get stuck in.

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14) Fat Annies (Leeds/Manchester)

 

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The good news for hot dog fans is that Fat Annies now have a permanent home in Leeds’ Kirkgate market. This has given owner James Stock scope to widen the menu, adding weekly specials and push the boat out even more with the hot dog toppings. The main draw will always be his custom made dogs, easily amongst the best I’ve ever eaten. Don’t worry if you’re not based in Leeds, Fat Annies still do other events too, such as GRUB in Manchester.

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15) Hank’s Po’ Boys (London)

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Hanks are one of the best known traders in London but somehow we’d never sampled their stuff until this year. When we finally did, we certainly weren’t disappointed. Their “Poor Boy” was filled with slow cooked, creole spiced brisket, with slaw and pickles underneath. Find them at Southbank Centre Food Market and other locations around the capital.

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16) Bundobust (Leeds/Manchester)

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Bundobust’s vada pav has to be tried to be believed. Who ever thought that potato in a bun (plus spices and about 5 cloves of garlic) could be such a knockout dish. I ate this at the Indy Man Beer Convention and reeked of garlic for days after, and it was totally worth it. Their chaat is superb too!

They are primarily a restaurant, not a street food trader and we debated long and hard about whether or not to include them here. However, we ate their food from a mobile unit, so street food it was. Find them at their restaurants in Leeds and Manchester and occasionally on wheels at beery events.

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17) Holy Crab (Manchester)

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We first encountered the Holy Crab ladies at a beer festival – and what a find it was. Those crab fritters were like seafood crack: sweet, salty and delicious. Thinking back, I wish I’d ordered another portion. Find them at various pop-ups and markets around Manchester.

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18) Tokyo Kitchen (Newcastle)

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There are a few street food traders doing katsu curry right now but I’ve not found anybody who does it better than Tokyo Kitchen. They prepare all the chicken by hand and make the sauce from scratch. Find them at Street Food events in the North East, including Newcastle’s Quayside market.

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19) Other Side (London)

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We like to think we know a thing or two about fried chicken and we think this is a seriously good fried chicken burger. Succulent, buttermilk-brined chicken thigh, double-breaded and drenched in smokey honey butter. Are you drooling yet? I know I am. To borrow a phrase from The Chicken Connoisseur… it’s PENG. Find them at Kerb Camden and Pop Brixton.

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20) Fritto (Liverpool)

Last but by no means least, it’s Fritto. Run by Italian expat and pro-baker Luca Sanvittore, Fritto specialise in the Pugliese dish Panzerotti (or fried pizza to you and I). It’s filled with all the good stuff, then folded like a calzone and plunged into hot oil. You guessed it – it’s bloody fantastic. You’ll find them trading at events all over the north west and Yorkshire.

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About Lisa C

Lisa C
Lisa is very much the culinary brains behind LondonPiggy. She grew up in north London and her love of food is matched by her passion for travel. She's already visited every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. C She's currently working on an exciting new project, visit Parmstar.uk

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