Richard Johnson, creator of the British and European Street Food Awards, picks his favourite trucks from the continent
The street food boom continues, but it isn’t just limited to the UK. Get to know some of the greatest innovators working across Europe — and buddy, prepare to drool.
“Scottadito serves out of a very cute Vespa truck and is best known for its skewered and fried food. I think it illustrates how street food has changed in Italy. It used to be that whatever meat was left from a community market was just cooked up for everyone to eat. It wasn’t hipster or cool – basically it was about providing food for the masses.
“But there’s a new generation coming through now. At Scottadito you can pick up some excellent mutton skewers called arrosticini, a typical dish for the region, and it also does these deep-fried olives with mincemeat and pork – a recipe dating back from the 1700s.”
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“I fell in love this summer with Tapiocaria, a couple who are bringing Brazilian street food to Germany. Their thing is tapioca – a flatbread created using manioc, one of the world’s oldest grains. It’s made fresh in front of you, and it just looks like a miracle.
“Flour goes into the pan and magically transforms into flatbread despite the absence of yeast, eggs or water to make it rise. And then you can fill it with savoury or sweet. I had the Christmas tapioca which had red cabbage, turkey and cranberry sauce, but you can also get other fillings like avocado, goat’s cheese and mango.”
Social Burgerjoint, Finland
“Mika Tuominen, winner of MasterChef Finland 2012, is one half of the duo that set Social Burgerjoint up, and it’s indicative of a new way street food is being used – top chefs getting involved to diversify their brand. The meat he uses is pretty standard – 25% fat, juicier than we have in this country – but he uses a Mibrasa coal grill, which gives a great smoky taste on the surface and an oozy pink inside.
“It’s all very minimalist: he puts salt onto the grill, whacks the meat on there, and plonks it into a brioche bun. Hugely different to what you see in London with sweet candied bacons and maximal levels of fillings.”
Paternoster Farm, Wales
“The champion of the Welsh Street Food Awards is a farmer who’s turned to street food to cut out the middle man. Paternoster Farm’s dishes combine the best home-grown meats with the finest ingredients the Pembrokeshire Coast has to offer. The chicharrónes use confit pork belly from the farm’s free range pigs, deep-fried and served with cumin salt and lemon. It’s the meatier cousin of a pork scratching.
“Paternoster also does cod cheeks – the farm is flanked by the sea, and when a fish trader told of cod heads being cut off and discarded at sea, they decided to make use of them as a delicious special order.”
The final of the British Street Food Awards takes place at Hawker House on Sept 21-22. The Euro finals are one week later