This post started out as top 10 but in the end it was a struggle to stop at 20
Over the last few years, we’ve spent a worrying amount of time travelling around, visiting street food markets and generally stuffing our faces. So we thought it’s high time we posted a round-up. You know, because there aren’t enough top 10s, 20s and 43s around just now.
We’re not saying that these are the 20 best street food dishes in the country, they are just the ones that we enjoyed most this year. If we happen upon any more stunners before 2016, we’ll just have to add them.
Of course there are loads of amazing dishes that we haven’t tried and plenty of cities that we’re yet to visit so it’s not an exhaustive list. On my “to do list” are the likes of The Prawnographer (London), Andy’s Low ‘n’ Slow (West Midlands) and Up In My Grill (London) and many more.
There have also been a few cracking dishes that only one of us has eaten so we’ve had to leave them out too. I’m talking about you Dorshi (Dorset), Fish& (Yorkshire), Blu Top (London) and Scream For Pizza (Newcastle).
So we both highly recommend seeking out all of the below. Let us know your favourites in the comments.
1) Smokestak – Brisket & Ribs at Dinerama, London
Okay I know this is actually two dishes but they are both so magnificent that they merit a double mention at the top of the pile. Smokestak’s food is an antidote to the half arsed BBQ bandwagon currently sweeping the UK. Not just our top street food dish of the year, this is the best street food I’ve ever eaten. You’ve GOT to try it.
2) Bleecker St. – Bleecker Black at South Bank, London
Ever since we had our first Bleecker, back in 2012, no other burger has come close. I know they now have a permanent place in Spitalfields (where the food is just as good) but for me there’s something special about the burgers from that big black truck.
The Bleecker Black consists of two excellent aged beef patties with a slab of Clonakilty black pudding in the middle. It’s quite something.
3) Breddos Tacos – Fried sweetbread taco at Hawker House, London (pic from Dinerama)
Whenever you get tacos from Breddos, you just know they are going to be great. But by far and away our favourite of all the ones we’ve tried has to be the fried sweetbread tacos from Hawker House. It’s probably the only good looking sweetbread dish ever made and was an absolute knock-out to eat.
4) B.O.B.’s Lobster – Ahi tuna tacos at Dinerama, London
These guys are best known for their lobster rolls but I just can’t get enough of their tacos. The balance of flavours, the freshness of the tuna and crunch of the shell make this dish a real stand-out. A sunny afternoon, a dozen of these and a pitcher of beer. Now that would be hard to beat.
5) Riley’s Fish Shack – Squid on a stick at The Boilershop Steamer, Newcastle
Riley’s seafood is as fresh as it comes. They have a hut on Tynemouth beach and a regular stall at the Steamer in Newcastle. Their squid on a stick was stunning. Soft but beautifully charred on the BBQ, well seasoned, with herbs and a hint of chilli. Simple and simply brilliant.
6) Sambal Shiok – Satay chicken burger at South Bank Centre Food Market, London
It was a close call between Sambal Shiok’s satay burger and their beef rendang but in the end the satay got our vote. It’s probably the best balanced fusion burger I’ve tried. You can even order it as a double, you know it makes sense. Check it out.
7) Yum Bun – Fried coconut ice cream bun at Hawker House, London
Take a bao bun, fry it and fill it with ice cream. How on earth could that every be anything other than fabulous? You get messy as hell eating it as it melts all over the place but who cares? You can always shower when you get home.
8) Bangwok – Pok pok salad at British Street Food Awards, Newcastle
This was an exciting find for us. These guys trade both in London and Leeds and I’d recommend tracking them down. The food surprised us with its authenticity (or should I say heat) and our pok pok salad was better than many similar dishes we’ve had at highly rated Thai restaurants.
9) BBQ Cab Co. – Pulled pork taco at Quayside market, Newcastle
I hadn’t heard much about BBQ Cab Co. before we happened upon them one day at Newcastle Quayside. They’ve taken a London taxi and converted it into a food truck, mounting two giant Kamodo Joe smokers on the back for good measure. They are certainly put to good use too. I often find pulled pork to be over-shredded and overly sauced but this was anything but. Smoky and succulent.
10) Crema Caravan – Creme Catalana at British Street Food Awards, Newcastle
The caravan is usually found in and around Glasgow but we had the good fortune to catch them south of the border, in Newcastle at the British Street Food Awards. We’re both massive suckers for creme Catalana and Crema Caravan’s is superb. Silky smooth and just the right amount of sweetness.
11) Miss Ps BBQ – Skinny combo box at Kerb, London
I generally find it impossible to go to Kerb and walk past Miss Ps BBQ stall without ordering something. Their combo box allows you to try both their excellent pulled pork and brisket without all that pesky bread getting in the way. It’s also Atlanta BBQ which makes for a nice change from the usual Texas inspired stuff.
12) Spit & Roast – Buttermilk Korean Fried Chicken Bap at Kerb, London
This has been one of the best street food dishes around for a good few years. Crispy, succulent chicken, tangy slaw and a whack from the Korean hot sauce. It never gets old. I want one now.
13) Pokē – Ahi Pokē at Kerb, London
It was only a matter of time before somebody started serving Pokē in London and these guys have nailed it. It looks stunning, it’s healthy, fresh and very tasty.
14) Fat Annie’s Hotdogs – The cheese one at Belgrave Feast, Leeds
Fat Annie’s use great quality ingredients and it shows. The pork & beef sausages have a superb snap and are as juicy as any I’ve had. It might sound twat-ish but I was fighting off doing a fist pump as I bit into it.
15) Chuck Burger – Bacon Cheeseburger at Dinerama, London
We’d heard great things about this burger but it actually surpassed our expectations. The patty was so thick and flavoursome that it easily makes it into my top 10 burger list… or at least it would if there was one.
16) Geordie Banger Co. – Geordie dip at Quayside Market, Newcastle
This has to be the best value street food dish in the UK. For £3 we got a stottie bun, three of their own excellent sausages and a generous helping of pease pudding. If that’s not enough it’s French, sorry Geordie, dipped in gravy for good measure.
17) Mama Wang’s Kitchen – Biang Biang Noodles at Dinerama, London
We both loved Mama Wang’s pork belly noodles. There was a great mix of soft pork, satisfying home-made noodles, chilli and aromatic herbs. It was a huge portion too, which helps when you have two forks.
18) Smokin’ Blues BBQ – Brisket bun at Malton Food Festival, North Yorkshire
Smokin’ Blues have restored my faith in northern brisket. The meat was soft and carried a pleasant smokiness, the bun was nice and fresh and even the added BBQ sauce had a welcome tang to it and wasn’t too sweet. I’m glad we waited in their sizeable queue.
19) Dumpling Shack – Pork Dumplings at Broadway Schoolyard Market, London
You’ve got to admire Dumpling Shack. They make and cook all of their dumplings from scratch, right in front of you. The end result not only looks great but tastes amazing. It’s awesome to see people doing something genuinely different and totally killing it.
20) Bill or Beak – Bill at Kerb, London
The choice is simple, Bill or Beak. The problem is that the Bill is so good that I’m yet to try a Beak. So what’s in it? Well, they drizzle tasty Vietnamese dressing over shredded duck and pork and add crispy fried shallots and herbs. One day Beak, one day.