07 | May | 18

Richard Johnson

Scots Wha Hae 2018

The sun came out for the 2018 Scottish Street Food Awards at the Food n Flea – and so did the people. They had read about it in the papers. And seen it on the tv. So Edinburgh’s food and drink community (which, let’s be honest, is everybody in Edinburgh) came down to join the coachloads of tourists who fancied a break from the bagpipe and kilt sellers of the Royal Mile to have a drink and a plate of something life changing. Oh, and vote for their favourite. Sometimes it was tough to remember that this lovely event, organised by our old friends at The Pitt, was actually meant to be a competition…

The joint winners of the 2018 Scottish Street Food Awards – who now go on to the British Street Food Awards’ finals in London, and possibly represent Britain in the European Street Food Awards in Berlin – were The Crema Caravan and The Buffalo Truck. We’ll have to beg the wonderful EC Awards for a second trophy! The ranking for the People’s Choice Award (voted for by everyone who came along to the event) went as follows:

1 The Buffalo Truck
2 Ginger and Chilli
3 Rost
4 Prime Street Food

The finalists (chosen from hundreds of applicants) presented two dishes to the judges – Dale Mailley, Head Chef at the Gardener’s Cottage, and food journalist Richard Johnson, the founder of the British Street Food Awards. Dale was obsessing with the technique involved in the moist chicken burger from The Buffalo Truck, the home-made pickles and the spicing in its crunchy coating. Until he cracked the crisp sugar topping of the Crema Caravan’s brulee. “The best crème brulee I’ve ever had” he said. A draw seemed the only fair result.

It was a weekend of new talent. Moskito, fresh to the street food scene, impressed everyone with a short tapas menu, and an elegant horsebox converted by the cook’s own fair hand. The Peruvian won over the judges with their sharp ceviche and marinated beef hearts, skewered and cooked over charcoal – all that was missing was something fresh, crisp and inventive on the side. But that sort of finesse comes with experience…

There were other highlights. Like the simple brown crab from Barnacles and Bones, and the rum-candied bacon topping on the Butcher Boy burgers. There was the execution of the menu from Shrimpwreck – plump king prawns cooked to perfection. And well-executed favourites from The Mac Shack and the Pizza Geeks, although The Mother Of Dragons (topped with juicy smoked haddock) was a real slice of pizza originality in a market that struggles to offer up something new.

Fat Boys were winning friends all weekend with their Cajun menu – and, if they weren’t behind the stove, they were out hula hooping to entertain their queues. But their pork belly was something special. Everyone was talking about the halloumi fries from Chick and Pea. And the kati roll tacos from Ginger and Chilli, who turned up in their new yellow trailer and matching t-shirts. Style AND substance. Long after the sun went down, Moo Pie Gelato were still selling their sublime gelato, while the long queues at The Lost Bothy, Rost, CuBao and Duck In A Bun listened to Dave Be Mac and tapped their feet. If only all competitions could be like this…

2018 SCOTTISH FINALISTS

SHRIMPWRECK
ShrimpWreck started life as a side project. Little more than a fryer and a griddle, but enough fish to feed an army” as Ewen says. Things began to take off after that. Quite literally. Almost a year ago, me and a friend took the van to Aberdeen for a five-day market. The first two days were a complete wash out with snow coming through the gazebo. It blew half way down the street on the first night. Lesson learnt. I’ve weighed it down ever since! More recently, Ewen entered the Fish Finger Sandwich Awards to impress a panel of judges, including Greg Wallace, in London. A decision he made – and perhaps a decision you can only make – when he was a few pints down at the bar.

DUCK IN A BUN
The Best Burger award? For 2018? The applications are flooding in. For our sins, we weren’t really thinking beyond beef (including the new appetite for Wagyu) and chicken. But the vegetarians are being creative. And now duck.
Jamie, creator and dictator for life at Duck in a Bun, is the latest entrant for the The British Street Food Awards 2018 – Scotland heats. And we were lucky he could spare the time to do an application, given that it takes him 30 hours to prepare just one batch of his duck.
Duck In A Bun have only been trading for a year. At the The Food + Flea Market. “But I’m just going to say it straight out — I put so much time, effort and love into the preparation of these “burgers” (I try to avoid this word) that for this reason alone I deserve to be entered into the heats.”

GINGER AND CHILLI
What is Glagow best known for? Ship building? Charles Rennie Mackintosh? Fighting? When Ronan Vallelly — the founder of the street food outfit Ginger & Chilli first arrived in the city, from across the sea in Derry, he was blown away. By the food.
One thing that Glasgow has in abundance says Ronan, other than nightclubs and football teams – is Indian restaurants: a delicious legacy of the city’s large Pakistani population. This fed, quite literally, my love for food from both the North and South of India.
Ronan – the latest applicant for the The British Street Food Awards 2018 – Scotland heats at the pitt went on to champion all things Asian at Ginger & Chilli – made with the best of the Scottish larder. Come try his shoulder of lamb Jaffna, spiced Cullen skink with curry leaves and peat-smoked salted caramel ice-cream.

FATBOYS
Take a mouthful of the Big Easy, via Sauchiehall Street, with Fatboys classics such as pulled brisket with chargrilled cornslaw, cajun spiced bean burger with mango salsa and a BBQ rubbed pulled pork served with pickled watermelon in a brioche bun. Delicious.

THE BUTCHER BOYS
They describe themselves as just a couple of Butcher Boys serving up meat and beer to the good people of Scotland. But their Bad Boy, with candied bacon, cheddar cheese, sandwiched between two handmade patties, fried onions, and more cheese, has set social media alight this last year. Will it be enough to win your vote?

CREMA CARAVAN
Callum is a chef. Mel has a background in marketing and design. They fell in love, and set up a really well designed food business. It all clicked into place when they spotted a vintage Renault van whilst working in France. They bought Florence in May 2014 and The Crema Caravan was born – the world’s first creme brûlée van! And they always Burn to Order! Winner of Best Dessert at the British Street Food Awards 2015 but they still want to go one better and win the overall Best Of The Best. Most unusual request? A vegan creme brûlée made with tofu. No offence vegans, but….

BUFFALO TRUCK
The Scottish champions from last year are back to defend their title! “This year” says chief Trucker Robin Strigner, “we want to stay true to what we serve on the streets, so we won’t be making up any one-off competition dishes but rather serving our amazing buttermilk fried chicken burgers as you would find them at any event. Well maybe with a small twist. But we don’t need to win again to be happy – taking part again will be our pleasure.”

CHICK + PEA
We are SO over pulled pork. And, let’s be honest, fried chicken. For now. So it was the right time to get an application from Chick + Pea, who cook up Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cuisine in their beautiful Citroen van Albert (Al-bear). He’s from England and she’s from Malta — an island that has been heavily influenced by European and Arabic food cultures. Their menu captured our imagination.
Expect them to turn up with Sticky Lamb Buns with Cucumber Relish, Freshly Fried Falafel with Green Tahini and Hummus, Triple Cheese Courgette Fritters (Goat, Feta and Ricotta) with Harissa Yoghurt, and Almond Crusted Chilli Squid with Sumac Aioli.

BARNACLES AND BONES
Barnacles and Bones don’t sell barnacles. Or bones. This Edinburgh trader, that showcases the excellence of Scottish street food, serves up a menu that studiously avoids both. For the sea lover they take the neglected brown crab from the shorelines of Scotland and serve it on crispy fries seasoned with sea salt and tarragon. And for the meat lover they offer up short rib of beef (a cut often overlooked by the British public) which is slow-cooked for 24 hours in sherry, grilled, and then pulled from the bone before it’s topped with a chimichurri made from fresh Scottish herbs. Both the signature dishes are accompanied by a mint and yoghurt slaw.

PRAGUE SHACK
Czech cuisine is mostly about slow-cooked dishes, sauces and meat, and The Prague Shack would like to offer up a menu of 8-hour beef goulash with a traditional Czech bread dumpling and a meat loaf bun with a whisky sauce and homemade pickles. Hard to convert food like this to the street, but we’d sure love to see Barbora and Vincent try.

MOO PIE GELATO
Moo Pie Gelato are the best in the business — custom-built gelato cookie sandwiches all served up from a fabby wee bike called Berty! “We hand craft all our gelato from our kitchen in Leith” says Emma, “which means we’ve complete control over our ingredients. Pasteurising, aging and churning in-house to bring you some seriously creamy, creamy deliciousness.”
We’ll never forget Kitty Travers’ Sicilian Lemon Granita that won La Grotta Ices the first ever British Street Food Awards back in 2010 (check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w5J7ii1DsI). Is Emma set to do it again? She founded MOO PIE in 2016, after completing her training at Gelato University, Bologna.

PRIME STREET FOOD
BSFA finalist from 2017 — Primestreetfood. The crew are a mash-up of Scottish and Swedish flavours – “and we have over 25 years catering experience working in nine different countries” says Scott Gibson. The truck (est 2017) serves everything from hand-cut chips with bearnaise sauce to sourdough brioche with fusion cooked pork and pumpkin seed coleslaw.

THE PERUVIAN
Listen. The great Auguste Escoffier ranked Peruvian as the third greatest cuisine in the world – behind French and Chinese. The country is one of the world’s top culinary destinations. So why are we only just discovering it in Britain? We’ve had a handful of great Peruvian restaurants, like Lima and Ceviche, but why not on the street? That’s exactly what Carlo Carozzi has been asking himself. And why he can’t wait to wow the crowds with The Peruvian at the 2018 finals of The Scottish Street Food Awards.
“As a simple Peruvian guy living in Scotland for nearly 20 years, I missed the flavours of home” says Carlo. “And although five of the world’s top restaurants are in Lima, my home town, great food isn’t just about high-end restaurants – street food in the UK is massive and we wanted Peruvian food to make its mark on the street food scene in Scotland.”
Expect the unexpected. Dishes such as lomo saltado, anticuchos and ceviche for instance. Plus ingredients many people in the UK will never have tasted – like native chilli aji amarillo, queso fresco, and purple corn.

MOSKITO
How does this sound? A fully-converted horse box, serving a selection of Spanish tapas? Good? Then please say ‘Hola’ to Moskito Spanish Bites / Food Truck. Come to the pitt on Bank Holiday weekend for uno small-plate serving of:
• Patatas Bravas ( fresh skin on potato fries, cutted in a square shape mixed with paprika and hand made aioli sauce ).

• Croquetas ( crunchy outside and melted inside, chicken and onion croquettes made with bechamel, also vegetarian options like, mushrooms, spinach, etc ).

• Huevos Rotos ( fresh potato fries mixed with chorizo and a free range fried egg on top ).

• Bocadillo ( baguette bread that comes with different ingredients inside, it depends of the season, product availability etc). Some examples include pork loin with melted cheese, roasted peppers and caramelised onions or Spanish omelette with chorizo, etc.


ROST
Delicious, local Scottish meats, now with a Polish accent. Haggis pierogi anyone?

THE LOST BOTHY
Michael Scott has a real passion for the Scottish countryside and he’s happiest when lost on wanders. Or in his kitchen. “I love finding herb patches and fishing – basically anything that involves being outdoors and eating. Our goal is to take traditional Scottish food and give it a modern twist, keep it exiting and let everyone know what the Scottish larder has to offer.” Expect a menu featuring venison cheeseburger, onion marmalade, pickled beetroot, on toasted rowie or black pudding and potato pakora, smokey oil, chilli sauce and fresh lemon-herb yoghurt.

THE MAC SHACK
Macaroni classics – done perfectly.

PIZZA GEEKS
This pizza team have a strong local following. And an ethical approach to food waste and staffing.

CUBAO
Trying to elevate the bao bun to new heights.

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