Spring is traditionally a period of eating well. To celebrate surviving the winter, families would use their fresh harvests to produce massive feasts, dance, drink and generally be merry.
Sort of like the Street Food Warehouse team do in winter. And summer too I guess. Not to mention autumn…
OK, we love to stuff our faces, dance, drink and be merry all year round but this month we’ve noticed a number of exciting up-and-coming food celebrations where it will be more than acceptable to do all of the above.
Here we’ve rounded up 5 of the biggest, best and most delicious looking street food events happening this spring.
For those who’ve been watching their figure in the post-Christmas cleanse/sorting out of life, now’s the time to relax and treat yourself. You’ve earned it.
Urbanfoodfest are street food celebrities. As far as we’re aware, no other U.K. street food event can boast a press list so prolific, with national and international praise from media giants such as The Times, Time Out, The Daily Telegraph, The New Zealand Times, The New York Times, Vogue, Sky News, Channel 4, CNN, MTV and BBC Radio.
“They must be doing something right” I hear you say. Well you’re absolutely…right. Each event has an ever-evolving, expertly curated, selection of gourmet food vendors, with a strong focus on global flavours. Some standouts include the Venezuelan beef arepas, vegan hand-made pasta, Brazilian chorizo wraps and Belgina waffles.
As well as nailing the food selection, they’ve cultivated an amazing atmosphere through live music, games and a beautiful collection of vintage furniture. It’s always buzzing with conversation and really feels like a hangout spot for food-lovers from around the world.
Of course, all of this eating, talking and playing games will make you thirsty. To quench your thirst, there are a number of bars stocked with craft beer, cider, wine, champagne and cocktails.
The events take place in London and Manchester, every Saturday, starting in April and running until October 27th.
KERB is a community of food entrepreneurs created by food traders, for food traders. Their mission is to support street food culture by running a number of markets in some of London’s coolest locations, nurturing up and coming street food talent through their inKERBator programme and hosting workshops and talks to spread their ethos and encourage community engagement.
They’re also really lovely guys. They have a number of schemes aimed at helping those in need, like supporting mothers in West Africa to set up their own food businesses so that they can pay for essential school materials and providing young people, eligible for day release from prison, with meaningful work experience placements.
Oh, and they also cater events for high profile businesses such as Google, Financial Times and The Guardian.
With all this hard work, we here at Street Food Warehouse think they deserve a party. Great news then, that they’re having one next month.
It’s called Jam on Rye and it’s celebration of the Caribbean and African influences that have shaped the sounds and flavours of modern London. A line up of reggae, afrobeat, hip-hop, soul and jazz by heavyweight names such as David Rodigan, Horace Andy, Nubiyan Twist and Andrew Ashong, will be the perfect accompaniment to the food on offer.
Two traders that have caught our eye are Club Mexicana, pioneers of the vegan street food scene and inventors of the Tofish Taco and the Jackfruit Burrito, as well as Bokit’la, a family business from Guadalupe and the first French-Caribbean street food vendor in London, selling bokits, fried homemade bread packed full of classic Guadeloupean flavours.
Over the past few years, more and more people have become conscious of the social and environmental impacts their consumer habits have. This has been most noticeable in the rise of vegetarianism and veganism. Restaurants and supermarkets around the world have had to up their game with the quality and variety of animal-free dishes they offer and street food events are now following suit.
Traditionally, vegetarian/vegan food meant health food but no matter what your persuasion, everyone wants to indulge from time to time, right?
Luckily, animal-free food is getting an unhealthy makeover. Whilst all of the events in this article feature vegan and vegetarian options, this event (as you’ve probably guessed from the title) has fully dedicated to the cause.
Vegfest started in 2003 when founder Tim Barford had the idea of “mixing the seriousness of veganism with a rock-‘n-roll festival atmosphere, where people can do the following all in one place: eating, socialising, learning about healthy ethical eating, dancing, partying – you name it!”
A haven for like-minded people, a platform to inspire and educate those curious about vegan lifestyles and a chance to eat and dance all day, this year’s event is going to be their biggest yet. It’s taking place in Ashton Gate stadium, home of Bristol City Football and Rugby Clubs and will feature over 200 stalls as well as talks, cooking workshops, live music and DJ’s.
We were particularly drawn to Herbivorous’s Californian style vegan fast food and Pigout’s selection of top-heavy, meat-free hot dogs.
The beauty of this event is that after eating a whole mac n’ cheese dog in less than 2 minutes, you only have to feel guilty about the damage you’ve done to your waistline.
The team at Street Food Warehouse have fond childhood memories of spending our springs baking with grandma, running through meadows and getting lost in the magical sights, sounds and smells of country fairs.
Just us? Maybe that’s not the case for many of you but the organisers of Harrogate StrEat Food seem to share the same nostalgic vision of the season as us. Their event hopes to “take you back to those lovely times gone by or help create new memories for younger visitors” by evoking the magical, sensory assault of a country fair.
After the last two years of successful events, with more than 100,000 people descending on the town’s beautiful Valley Gardens, they’ve moved to the Great Yorkshire Showground and are promising an even bigger line up of quirky entertainment and foodie delights.
Visitors can expect an array of colourful traders who will bring a plethora of smells and tastes from around the world. It also promises to be a thoroughly entertaining affair with acrobats, interactive performers, musicians and a beautiful vintage fun fair. There is even an Artisan Market featuring around 30 top producers selling a range of tasty products for festivalgoers to try, buy and take home.
Street Food Warehouse
And now for some shameless self-promotion: this summer we will be touring the U.K. to showcase some of the best street food Britain has to offer and we can’t wait.
We’re kicking things off with the Swansea Street Food Festival, where we will be returning to Museum Park for another sell-out bank holiday weekend of fantastic fresh food and delicious drinks.
Other locations we can’t wait to visit are Ilfracombe in Devon (the site of our very first English event) idyllic Hastings in Sussex and the stunning coasts of Lyme Regis in Dorset, and one of our favourites Tenby, Pembrokeshire.
Confirmed vendors include Gourmet Street Kitchen, Spicer’s Meat Wagon, Bearded Taco and Tukka Tuk, with a lot more Welsh and national vendors to be announced, including vendors serving up vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options. But it’s not all about the food. Thirsty festivalgoers can wash it all down with a pint of local craft beer, or a zesty mojito from the Pop Up Bar Hire Company.
As a completely free and family-friendly event, this is something you don’t want to miss out on if you love sampling quality food and drink in the sun. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.
We hope you enjoyed our Sprint street food round up and it has got you as hungry as we are! If you are looking for some help with street food at an event, get in touch with us here.
Written by Owain Hepple