When I think of street food, I imagine smoky stalls on back streets in Bangkok or Hong Kong offering up steaming bowls of rice noodles with sea urchins and Thai peppers. I can also picture a beach hut with a thatched roof in the Caribbean hawking conch fritters or makeshift stalls in small Mexican towns offering burritos with mole or stuffed chilies.
The streets of London during the 2012 Olympics are no different and crowds are flocking to street vendors during the Games. The food trucks are not only offering upscale eats, but also the trucks themselves are pretty snazzy. Leave it to the Brits.
We’re not talking standard English Fish & Chips, Bangers or Bubble & Squeak, but some high-end dishes that would fit right in to some upscale joints.
Café Mor was voted overall favorite in the British Street Food Competition in 2011. The Welsh eatery is legendary for its laverbread along with their take on the classic “La Bomba” cocktail, a shooter of blended tomatoes, limejuice, honey, olive oil and Tabasco. Oh, and did I mention the “La Bomba” is also topped with fresh shellfish? Feel free to add a shot of tequila if you so desire.
Café Mor’s most popular dish is Laverbread & Cockles Gratin. First off, laverbread is not really bread. It is actually fresh seaweed boiled like greens for 4-5 hours. The seaweed is then chopped and seasoned. This classic Welsh fare is often rolled in oats and deep-fried. Mor’s gratin dish is a layer of laverbread topped with poached cockles, oats, shredded cheddar, garlic butter and then broiled. By the way, cockles are really only saltwater clams, so take that look off your face when thinking about seaweed and cockles. The menu at Café Mor is fresh, imaginative and uses only local ingredients.
Unlike metropolitan boulevards in the US, street food trucks are just cropping up in Great Britain. Enter Street Kitchen, a new fixture on the streets of London that also uses fresh local ingredients. Serving out of a vintage converted Airstream RV, Street Kitchen offers bistro grub at street food prices. Slow roasted pork with pickled red cabbage and apple glaze or smoked salmon, roasted beetroots and mashed potatoes with horseradish are a few of their offerings.
And what is street fare without a chili wagon? Having cooked in chili competition out of a converted 1975 Apache RV, I know where the guys at Chilli Con Barmy on the streets of London are coming from. These lads do gourmet chili, fajitas and burritos out of a lime green pop-up VW camper. British brothers after my own heart, although I must confess I have never had English chili before. I always thought they called it Shepherd’s Pie.
Check out the slideshow for these tricked out food trucks and don’t forget to wash down this eclectic street grub with a pint mate.