In Europe, street food is reinventing the way we eat. For the better. And here at ESF we want to get the word out. So we’re launching the annual European Street Food Awards – the greatest street food competition the world has ever seen – plus an app to show you the good stuff, with all the latest news about what’s going on.

We’re a team of European food journalists, chefs, event organisers, food hygienists and street food obsessives. We’ve cooked it, eaten it, and written about it for years. Then cleared up afterwards. We don’t want starter-main course-dessert any more. We want tasting plates. We want pop-ups. We want a bit of fun served up with our dinner. We are the street food demographic.

All across Europe, street food traders are the new rock stars – food heroes, in cool vans, trucks and trailers, engaging with followers on instagram and twitter. Nothing corporate – it’s all about ‘keeping it real’, serving restaurant-quality food at supermarket prices.

Traders in Europe are taking traditional street foods – whether it’s banitsa from Bulgaria, herring from Estonia, karjalanpiirakka from Finland, Liege waffles from Belgium, gelato from Italy, burek from Bosnia or churros from Spain – and repurposing them for a new generation. The streets are becoming a laboratory for hot new food ideas.

The influence of street food is even spreading indoors. In Trinity Kitchen in Leeds for instance, vans are being lifted onto the third floor of a shopping centre. And street food ‘brands’ are starting to breathe life into the dying High Street. These are businesses that promise independence and authenticity – something different from the cookie cutter food offers around them. In 2017, we are going to find the best that’s out there.