Meet Your Finalists
Nearly there. The stage is set. The bar is being built. And the sunshine is on order. The coolest city in Sweden is almost ready to welcome the best street food operators in Europe for the 2019 European Street Food Awards. After national competitions in FIFTEEN countries (check them out here although Portugal had to retire hurt after a broken leg) we have invited the best 21 to bring their winning dishes to Malmo. The Bulgarians reckon it’s going to take four days to make the journey in their decommissioned fire truck, while the Icelanders are struggling to book a ferry after one of their national airlines went bankrupt. The Swedes, however, can probably walk to the finals. But it’s all going to be about their food, and we’ll be releasing details of their official entry dishes in a day or two. We’ll also be telling you about our AMAZING panel of judges. And how YOU can vote. Keep an eye on our Facebook page, plus our instagram feed, and our twitter, to see WHO is up to WHAT with their last-minute preparations. Follow the traders as they leave their home territories and head to Malmo. So here we go – ladies and gentlemen, please meet your #EuroSFA 2019 finalists:
Eastern Express is a family project: husband, wife and daughter. The family, from Kaliningrad, love natural and authentic – their wagon is local larch, and it’s all been lined completely by hand. Their food is made to the same high standards. “Our main task in preparing for the European Street Food Awards has been to come up with competitive dishes that reflect the traditions of our country and at the same time matches the current trends in street food” say Eastern Express. “In Malmo we will prepare Draniki – a traditional dish of both Russian and Belarusian cuisine. Draniki are pancakes based on grated potatoes. 100% Russian products were used in the recipe.” They will also be cooking up Kishka – stuffed intestines. It’s the kind of dish that real foodies will head for. Don’t miss the chance of a lifetime.
It’s a long way to the top (if you wanna rock’n roll)…So sang AC/DC back in 1975. And Rock Burgers TOTALLY get it. Born from the passion of its three founders, Ronnie, Marlen and Melany took a small Turin restaurant and learnt how to make it ROCK. But then, in 2016, they wanted to go on the road.
“I felt like a band that played in its garage without ever performing live” said Ronnie. “So we invested everything to buy our food truck and do our first tour around Italy. I haven’t stopped since that day and now, after three years, I’ve achieved the biggest goal: to win the Italian Street Food Awards and become the best food truck in Italy.
All the ingredients come from the Piedmontese area. The veal (the best in Italy) comes from farms certified by the best association of farmers in Piedmont, with Piedmontese DOP cheeses and bread made with flour ground on lava stone. Is it enough to win in Sweden? Ronnie is excited. “The final will be like playing in a stadium in front of a huge audience. And I’m sharing the same stage with the best bands in Europe.”
Bubu Arare Veggie Japanese Food
Monika and Tomasz are partners – in and out of the business. And they’re obsessive about Japanese food. Our van is called Bubu Arare says Monika, from the name of a charming Japanese roasted rice. Everything is handmade. The dumplings, miso paste, natto, the sauces…Even the soy sauce, which Monika and Tomasz call their ‘secret ingredient’. The preparation begins with a special koji strain. Then we grow the appropriate strain on Polish cereals and soybeans, ferment it in a special incubator that ensures the correct temperature and humidity, and add brine from Japanese salt and soft water from the Carpathian mountains in Poland. The sauce we are presenting in Malmo was fermented for 8 months.”
They are excited to travel to Malmo. We would like to test ourselves says Monika. It’s a HUGE challenge. But it can’t be as tough as their first trip abroad. After the first hundred kilometres we had to go back because we didn’t bring chef’s jackets and aprons. Then the radiator started overheating. After an hour’s break, the police stopped us to check if everything was ok. So half an hour more. After further stops for the overheating radiator, we managed to reach the place a few minutes before the start of the festival. On the way back our headlights blew. Twice. Because we were so tired we had to sleep on a petrol station forecourt. When we arrived it turned out that the gate from the square was closed with a new padlock and no one had the key. And then our tyre exploded. Can’t wait to hear how they get on travelling to Sweden!
Jomm started out as a pop-up fast-food restaurant in Reykjavik in the summer of 2018. But the vegan staff always dreamt of taking their Oumph! dishes onto the streets. So when they were voted the People’s Choice (out of 20 traders) at the first ever Icelandic Street Food Awards in July, it felt like a sign from above. Now they are ready to bring their vegan menu to Malmo.
Mika Tuominen, winner of 2012 MasterChef Finland, has joined forces with Herkko Volanen to create a restaurant concept that is creating quite the buzz among foodies. Their Social Burgerjoint uses only sustainably produced ingredients with proof of origin – 90 per cent of which are domestic to attest the duo’s impeccable ethical standards. Having won Best Burger at the 2019 European Street Food Awards, they want to go one better this year and win the WHOLE DARN THING.
11er is a 3rd generation, family-owned potato business from the western part of Austria; ‘genuss’ is a German word meaning treat or indulgence. So expect potato-based masterpieces (especially the famous Austrian rosti) that are ideal if you’re about to go and spend a day on the mountains. Come hungry!
“Our signature dish is the one and only 11er Alpendoner” says Florian. It can be roughly translated as ‘Alpine Kebab’. We have ditched the bread usually used in a kebab and replaced it with our 11er potato rosti. The thin, crispy golden rosti is then covered with the best fresh, regional and homemade ingredients and prepared for you a-la-minute.
The story of Indian dhabas started 500 years ago. They served fresh, local dishes for travellers on the busy roads of India. Simple places, with a cashier by the entrance, and walls embellished with family portraits. The menus were small. Everything homemade and cheap – and brought out a table at a time. “We look forward to introducing you to how a dhaba works in Denmark” says Safi.
The Dhaba Kitchen food truck, specially designed in the Netherlands, is the world’s first food truck with a tandoori oven. In a Mercedes Daimler Benz – previously used as ambulance. The mileage of the original engine was equivalent to four times around the earth. That’s a lot of medical emergencies. But now its mission is to bring home-made and tasty Indian food to the people. How will it fare in Sweden?
Heiko Triller trained as a chef in Michelin Star restaurants but decided to set up on his own – with Triller’s Genussmanufaktur – in 2016. He has gone on to reinvent the schnitzel (a breaded slice of pork or veal panaded not with eggs but a special mix of flour and spices based on an old Bohemian recipe he revived), and is proud to point out how his Surf & Turf Knusperschnitzel and his famous Truffleschnitzel have changed the world. Expect to see Heiko a) smiling and b)cooking with German farmers’ beef (boiled, as is traditional, for 24 hours) and real truffles from Italy. It’s not easy serving food as delicious as Heiko’s. “We have to bring more portions to every event for the other traders because most of them love our food and looking forward to see us again” he says.
Venezuelan food always pulls a crowd. But this is the best that’s out there – by a country mile. Pabellon’s home-made corn bread has none of the after-taste of the commercial varieties. Plus there’s the intense taste of the slow-cooked meat, the sweetness of the fried plantain and the acid of the fresh lime juice on the Pico de Gallo salad. That is why Helios won’t lose his queue all weekend – trust.
Per Magnusson, the winner of the 2019 Swedish Street Food Awards, is passionate about barbecue. Whether it’s smoked seafood, rotisserie (whole grilled meat) or “low and slow” directly from the oven. He lives in Huddinge, and travels round with two large smoke cabinets, a BBQ chamber and a charcoal grill. But he’s also keen on getting the atmosphere right, with awnings and candle lighting for the evening. This barbecue is going to be ROMANTIC…
The Georgian team work in a bar serving chacha (a traditional Georgian grappa) in a historic bakery in the old quarter of Tbilisi. But they’re also known for their modern take on Georgian food. And their skills on the barbecue. Expect Mtsvadi with tkemali sauce. And home-made shoti bread – baked in front of you. Plus a shot or two of chacha.
Smoke & Meat BBQ
These guys have their own slogan – “the best that can happen to meat”. They use classic BBQ technology, cooking low and slow, to get the best flavours from their insanely good cuts of meat. They specialise in the Mangalitsa, the hairy pig that’s called the kobe beef of pork, and they sure know what to do with it. Look out for the black and red food truck in Malmo – and see for yourself if the slogan is true.
Famous Burgers bill themselves as the fifth emergency service. A fire truck – from Bulgaria – firing up the best burgers in Eastern Europe. The original idea behind this Bulgarian/ British collaboration was to convert a 1950s London bus, but the couple got a call about a decommissioned fire truck in Germany and couldn’t say No. Getting it to Malmo should be interesting.
“It’s a 2700km journey” says Leigh, “through Romania, Hungary, Austria, Germany and Denmark. We expect it to take four days, with Romania being the most challenging with its many mountain passes. It should be a real experience, with the truck topping out at 70kmh. But we’re looking forward to seeing people’s reactions to the truck as we pass through – we’re sure it is going to be a lot of fun.”
Bao Bun Latvia
Too many restaurants these days buy in their food pre-made and pre-packed. Whether it’s stocks and sauces, or meat, that arrives at the kitchen already butchered and portioned. But the best of the best like to do it themselves – in restaurants and on the street. Meet Bao Bun Latvia, who make their own steamed dumplings.
We have saved some traditional Asian tastes, like pork and pickles, says Monta, but we’ve also added a lot of different influences that Latvians recognise, like chicken, walnuts and mushrooms, and something more exotic like duck confit and salmon! Everything is made from scratch – starting with the buns but including every sauce and pickles.
Pete Hewitt from Nottingham was a Masterchef finalist in 2015. And yet his real passion is for more informal dining “ what he calls ˜the bread and butter, the everyday eating.’ So he imported himself a 1978 Grumman Olson Stepvan from the US and set up Homeboys, specialising in Japanese soul food. Expect a strong veggie menu (braised aubergine donburi with soy cured yolk, pickles and tempura sauce) and meaty classics such as karaage and pickles or Japanese fried chicken. It’s been on the up in recent times, but is 2019 the year of Japanese street food?
It’s a change of pace, working in a food truck when you’re used to a restaurant. But Karol and Jennie from Tabemasu Ka-jen have managed. Although a 2004 Fiat Ducato (a one-time bread truck, in red, called Bert) doesn’t leave a LOT of room to prepare a full Japanese menu.
The couple took out all the interior and packed it with new coolers, deep-fat fryers and ventilation. The key to success was extremely good planning of the storage, preparation, cooking and serving says Karol. Any tips for beginners? Carry as few unnecessary items as possible – such as a full water tank. Fill the tank when you arrive.
The Name means Sushi Burrito – a new concept in street food fusion. And it’s the brainchild of Kevin Ip. Kevin grew up in a gastronomic family with over 40 years of experience – across two generations – and he’s been running a restaurant in Saarbrucken for the last nine years. But he wanted to take the fresh sushi experience to the people. So FutoBuri was born. Like Subway, but for sushi. We create the sauces ourselves – -and focus on uncompromisingly fresh fish says Kevin. And the concept has been well received.
Take the street food festival in Saarbrucken last year. The queue in front of the FutoBuri stall was 30 metres long. Suddenly one customer appeared directly in front of the stall next to the line remembers Kevin, and said ˜This looks very good¦’ My brother answered ˜It IS very good, That’s why the line ends wayyyyyyyy back there. And pointing at the end of the queue, 30 metres away. Everyone (including the customer) started laughing loudly. Be warned Malmo. Arrive early!
These are no ordinary waffles…Utter Waffle stuff the batter during cooking, which results in pockets of molten, hot deliciousness, covered with fresh toppings. Waffles like these really haven’t been seen before – plus, they are all gluten free! They even have a vegan batter! And Reggie, their Waffle Wagon, is one of the most handsome food vans around town! He is a 1975 Vintage Ford Transit, meets 21st Century sleek and beautiful design!
Marie Sedin is a trained pastry chef. In 2013 she started making delicious hand-crafted gelato from goats’ milk – but she felt there was something missing. The only times we actually met the customers was at different food festivals so in 2016 we got our gelato bike.
Things have changed. Marie no longer makes as much gelato from goats’ milk, using local organic cows’ milk instead. And, in 2017, she decided to expand her range – in an effort to extend Sweden’s ice cream season. I saw the machine for a gelato panini in a youtube clip and I was immediately convinced that the Swedes would love it.
We make all gelato by ourselves from our own recipe, also all syrups, crunch we do ourselves. We don’t like shortcuts and are convinced that the customer can taste the difference. We try to use locally produced ingredients as far as possible. We have a real passion for all the fantastic ingredients that exist in our country and the fantastic producers that make them.
Thrilla In Manila
Thrilla in Manila is a family-owned business run by husband and wife Carmelita and Alfie Escabarte. The couple came to Scandinavia from different areas of the Philippines and wanted to be the first to present Filipino fusion in Denmark – they now trade at the presitigious Reffen Copenhagen Street Food. We’re taking the traditional Filipino food and making it with our own twist says Carmelita. Our signature dish is Filipino pork bbq which is long marinated and served grilled with crispy salad, rice and fresh herbs.
Street food has brought the couple a lot of happy times. We have a lot of memories says Carmelita. Like the moment when the Philippines Embassy in Denmark came to randomly support us. The moment when we traded at Malmo Festivalen last year and we were delivering our food faster than Mcdonalds – we were on Number 60 while our neighbour was still on Number 11. The best was of course when we won the People’s Choice Award at the Danish Street Food Awards in Copenhagen. We can’t wait for Sweden!
Zakarya Eddaifi learned to cook from his mother and grandma, and started Marokkanische Spezialitat to promote his food culture all over the world. “I was born in Essaouira, a beautiful, ancient coastal town in Morocco, whose Medina is a Unesco World heritage site” says Zakarya. “Even though I am now a German citizen, I have kept a very strong bond with the place; if you look at the picture on my food truck you’ll see a beautiful view of where I came from.
“I’ve never been to Sweden” says Zakarya “and it makes me very happy to be able to visit a new place thanks to these Awards. I don’t want to boast, but I think I may have a chance to win. What I offer is something you don’t see every day and so far I have been incredibly impressed by the good response from people willing to try my specialties. I am really looking forward to participating in this event and to seeing what the future holds for me and my business.”