Street food heats up in Brighton

Posted · 8th July 2014
Brighton Pier
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Gorgeous fragrances filled the air, row upon row of smiling stallholders and glorious sunshine. It can only mean one thing: a British Street Food event. As Cauldron is proud sponsors of the Best Snack Category 2014, we sent local blogger Amy Rutter along to the Southern Heat to report back.

On 14th June, Brighton played host to the Southern heat to discover the best up and coming Street Food experts. The winners will then head to Leeds this September to compete for the National titles.

Throughout the day there was this amazing atmosphere… people enjoying the experience, passers-by stopping to take in the aromas and sample the delights. Vendors loving the buzz and excitement as they serve wrap after wrap, dish after dish to the elated crowd. Driven by their passion to produce amazing food, the traders thrive on the feedback they are getting. Add a pinch of competitiveness and you have the ultimate Street Food occasion.

Happy Maki

Anna MacDonald, owner of sushi wraps stall Happy Maki thinks street food really is unique.
“It requires you to put together a very small menu but do it really well. All the menus are completely different.”

There were some gorgeous vegetarian dishes on offer: tempting smells of spicy paneer, Venezuelan plantain tostones, vegan falafel wraps, wood-fired veggie pizzas and vegetable burritos. Happy Maki even gave me a live demonstration to show the delicate construction of their Thai sweet potato rolls, which looked amazing and tasted so healthy.

Beelzebab specialises in vegan kebabs created with meat-free seitan, owner Luke says
“We’ve only been running for two months and started joining Street Diner on Saturdays to see how it went”.

“I went to Berlin a few years ago and there’s a place called Vöner there that does Vegetarian donor kebabs, I thought ‘this is amazing!’ I’ve wanted to do it for a while and then Street Diner appeared, so we just thought we’d give it a go!”

Beelzebab stall selling vegan kebabs

And that’s what British Street Food is all about – no pretension required. British Street Food Awards founder Richard Johnson says “This is where the Jamies, the Nigellas and the Gordons of tomorrow are now. If you look at the most exciting restaurants openings in the last 18 months, they all began here, on the streets. It’s like an ideas laboratory – it’s inventive and personal. It’s about doing it because you love cooking.”

“I think that Brighton marches to the beat of its own drum and that should be reflected in the food. There are lots of variant immigrant communities here and that’s classic street food – food that you’re not going to try anywhere else.

Whether it’s a paella done by a Greek guy who has his own particular strain of saffron, or a woman who does a different street food menu every week… the joy of street food is that it’s very spontaneous. If something doesn’t work you can wipe your A-board down and try something else the next day.”

Ahimsa

He also thinks that vegetarian food is also beginning to get the recognition it deserves.
“There’s a delicacy to vegetarian food that is really exciting – vegetarian food is just getting bigger and bigger, and deservedly so.”

With so many exciting vegetarian and vegan foods on the table, I can’t wait to see what the finals in September have to offer!

If this has worked up your appetite for some tasty street food, you can enter our competition to win tickets to the final round of the British Street Food Awards, taking place in Leeds across the weekend of 26th to 28th September. Good luck!

We also have a great range of street food inspired recipes on our website so you can start experimenting. Why not try an Indian Falafel Chapati – it only takes ten minutes!

Amy is a lifestyle blogger and writer whose favourite foods include vegetable-laden pizzas, pickled onion Monster Munch and anything Mexican. You can find Amy on Twitter at @amyrutter

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