Over the summer I was fortunate enough to be attending many of the foodie festivals and I was excited for the range of street food you tend to get at such events. Armed with the British summer essentials, a rain coat and outdoor boots of course, I traveled the UK foodie scene from Sausage & Beer Festivals to the Smokey BBQ Feasts where I was more often than not welcomed my the aroma of delicious street food and the sound of live music.
After getting a refreshment from one of the many beer tents I would then investigate what there was on offer. In most instances the venues were very pleasant regardless of the weather. With the vast quantity of drink tents and street food stands there was certainly no lack of choice, however working my way around the various food stands across the festivals I came to an unsettling conclusion. It had come to my attention that many UK street food stands are becoming lazy and unimaginative. Although there were often upwards of 30 food & drink venders only a handful managed to achieved what I would classify as good quality street food.
Some of the few food stands that were successful in achieving great quality food while on my adventure were Burgers And Beyond at The Sausage & Beer Festival at Jimmy’s Farm, Fu Schnikens at The Blegrave Music Hall in Leeds & Dogtown in London. These guys are just a few of the street food businesses that are maintaining the standards of which all street food should be.
The reason that the quality of street food has declined can’t even be down to the fact the market is over saturated with the same type of foods. Take Burger And Beyond for example. My first thoughts were that they wer lacking imagination, a menu consisting of a selection of burgers, always risking in such a common choose of street food. Yet to my delight they pulled it off. I love everything about Burgers And Beyond. The burgers are juicy, exploding with flavour and leaves you yearning for more. The staff where full of life and even on a rainy day they uplifted customers dampened spirits with delightful food and their jubilant service. This just goes to show that great street food does exist even if it’s a products that’s been done before.
Unfortunately many of the other street food venders present at UK festivals this summer didn’t fare too well. Don’t mistake my criticism of the food stand as me suggesting their food was bad or unpleasant, I am purely making the obviation that in todays street food scene there is a lack of innovation, imagination and great tasting food. I fear that street food is being abused by many that think its easy to do, that think they can run it like the BBQ they have in their back garden, which ultimately results in food that tastes just as bland and boring as your uncles burnt bangers.
I believe that the handful of street food businesses that are successful in producing the extraordinary such as Burger And Beyone, Fu Schnikens and Dogtown would all agree with me when I say you can not just decide to start a street food business just because you fancy doing it. You have to have a real passion for the food and make something your proud to serve others, something you get excited thinking about. Those without that passion couldn’t possibly produce anything worthy.
I hope that the street food “Boom” haven’t started its decline after its strong rise into our society. It would be a great shame as I strongly believe that there are still many more imaginative and delicious dishes to come out of this amazing food scene.