18 | Jul | 22

Richard Johnson

New Blood In Iceland

There are true giants in the world of street food – game changers and disrupters who have rewritten the rules of what “street food” is. There’s Hawker Chan, whose humble soya sauce recipe was recognized by Michelin and received the title of “The World’s First Hawker Michelin-starred Meal”. There’s Roy Choi, the Korean-American chef who created the gourmet Korean-Mexican taco truck Kogi, and founded the gourmet food truck movement. And now, maybe, there’s now Sigvaldi Jóhannesson.

Sigvaldi – better known as Silli Kokkur – who was voted champion for the THIRD TIME RUNNING at the Icelandic Street Food Awards in Reykjavik this weekend. The TV were there. So were the press. Sigvaldi is a hunter, and now he’ll take his wild game menu (featuring everything from goose chowder to his famous reindeer burger) to Munich to represent Iceland at the grand final of the European Street Food Awards in October. His appreciation of nose to tail eating is a REAL breath of fresh air in a fast-food world full of processed and pre-packed meats. And the judges loved it.

Reykjavik Street Food — in collaboration with the City of Reykjavik, Food Mutiny and the European Street Food Awards — hosted Iceland’s biggest ever street food festival at Hljómskálagarður. And what a great lineup of the country’s chefs competing to be voted Iceland’s street food champion – from The Gastro Truck to Íslenska Flatbakan, BumbuBorgarar, Vöffluvagninn, Dons Donuts, Fish & Chips Vagninn, Chikin, Just Wingin it, Vængjavagninn, Víkinga Pylsur, Tacoson, Arctic Pies, Grill of Thrones, Mijitas Tasty Burgers and Fish And Chips Wagon.

The truck from TASTY – RVK truck, was a real head-turner. It was owned by the USA army when they were stationed in Iceland and converted into a food truck five years ago. They were parked up next to the tiny Grill of Thrones mobile kitchen owned by Thaís Chaves and Gunnlaugur Snær Jósefsson, who offered up their Latin take on barbecue. “People suspect that in such a small trailer, there can’t be such good food” says Thais. “But after eating the first skewer, they always come back for more. We use a mix of onion, paprika, parsley, garlic and pepper to unite my Brazilian origin with Gunnlaugur’s Icelandic heritage.”

And then there was Chikin, who trade what they claim are the best spicy chicken burgers in Iceland. But it’s not an easy market to penetrate. “We’re in the middle of fucking nowhere,” say Chikin, “where everybody is used to eating boiled fish and mashed potatoes. And we wanted to introduce the first REAL spicy chicken burger to the Icelandic population….” It was a tough contest, running all weekend, but the Awards went as follows:

Iceland Street Food Champion – Silli Kokkur
Iceland Street Food People’s Choice – Silli Kokkur
Iceland Street Food Best Vegetarian – Arctic Pies
Iceland Street Food Best Bite – Just Wingin It

Keep up with the latest news from the other heats, plus plans for the European Street Food Awards grand finals, and recipes from the finalists, with our media partners, The New European.

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