British Street Food Awards 2014

The British Street Food Awards were held in Leeds (26-28th Sept) after months of heats finding regional street food winners. Amongst the list of regional finalists, including Leeds’ Fu-Schnikens were a number of local wildcard entrants too, with Manjit’s Kitchen, Fish& all in the shout for awards.

Twitter had told me one thing – get to Fu-Schnikens ASAP, as they’d sold 800 Gua Bao over two days!! Within a minute of ordering it was in my hand…ahh the simple joys food can bring!  I love the damn things, if you’re unfamiliar with Gua Bao, they are Taiwanese steamed buns and should be light, even pillowy in texture. Often filled with slow cooked meats, pickled vegetables or variations on this theme. I admired it for a minute, the obligatory photo shoot ensued then sizeable mouthfuls later it was gone. UNCTUOUS – the meat literally disintegrated in my mouth, the ox cheek was gorgeous, lovely beetroot helped to cut through the richness in the meat, whilst the palm sugar worked well tempering just a touch!

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Sticky Ox Cheek Gua Bao, topped with pickled beetroot, palm sugar, chives and sesame
Sticky Ox Cheek Gua Bao, topped with pickled beetroot, palm sugar, chives and sesame 

Second on my hit list Dorshi – a Leeds favourite amongst the street food fraternity, serving dumplings to die for. Grabbing a combo to get a taste of everything was recommended, so who was I to go against their advice?! There’s no surprises when it comes to these dumplings, and trust me I mean this in a 100% positive way, as I’ve never been anything but wanting more of these. The fillings are bang on for flavour, their ingredient choices and flavour combinations are thoughtful. There are differences in textures from steamed and fried dumplings, pickled vegetables and lovely barley salad, delicate sweetness from the damson hoisin, saltiness from the fish, sourness from pickled vegetables.

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Dorshi - Gurt Meal box - selection of 4 dumplings with sides
Dorshi – Gurt Meal box – selection of 4 dumplings with sides
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The Real Junk Food Project – Pomegranate, plum and beetroot smoothie

I was so looking forward to trying something from The Crabbieshack, going for soft shell crab (without bread) and the pomegranate, Harissa, red onion, coriander and red cabbage. Advertised as being coated in ‘Old Bay’ Tempura batter, umm I wouldn’t have called it Tempura batter as it was thick and greasy. The salad, however tasty just wasn’t sharp enough to cut through the greasiness. Bread probably would’ve soaked up some of the oil, but the batter needed to be lighter! Hate to be negative, but I was disappointed and I’ve had much better!

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Crabbieshack - Soft Shell Crab with salad of pomegranate, Harissa, red onion, coriander and red cabbage
Crabbieshack – Soft Shell Crab with salad of pomegranate, Harissa, red onion, coriander and red cabbage

Fancying some liquid refreshment, I got a shot of HY Kitchen‘s homemade Schnapps…oooh it was warming, and would give anyone a bit fire in the belly. So good, that these guys from Austria won the Best Drink award! 

HY Kitchen - Schnapps!
HY Kitchen – Schnapps!
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Some of Leeds’ finest bringing their dishes to the judges – Richard Johnson, Lisa Markwell (Editor of The Independent on Sunday) chef Ed Baines, street food entrepreneur Yianni Papoutsis and actress Gaynor Faye.

Some of Leeds' finest waiting to bring their dishes to the judging panel

Manjit’s Kitchen was looking mighty fine in front of Leeds Civic Hall, often with a long queue of hungry people wanting their Chapasty or Flatbread. Late in the day I had one of their Beetroot and Paneer Chapasty’s – tasty, moreish, nice and small so great for sharing!

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Manjit's Kitchen - Beetroot and Paneer Chapasty with salad
Manjit’s Kitchen – Beetroot and Paneer Chapasty with salad
Buddha Belly The Moocher
Buddha Belly and The Moocher
Ahimsa
Ahimsa
Best Newcomers - Nusou and Best Dessert - Antto's Fish Bar
Best Newcomers – Nusou and Best Dessert – Antto’s Fish Bar
People's choice - The Little Blue Smokehouse
People’s choice – The Little Blue Smokehouse
Best Overseas Trader - Nordic Street food
Best Overseas Trader – Nordic Street Food
Best Snack  - Fresh Rootz
Best Snack – Fresh Rootz
Best Sandwich - The Cauldron
Best Sandwich – The Cauldron
Best Mobiler - The Hip Hop Chip Shop
Best Mobiler – The Hip Hop Chip Shop
Best Sandwich - Original Patty Men
Best Sandwich – Original Patty Men
Best Main - Fish&
Best Main – Fish&
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Best of the Best – Fu-Schnikens!!!

Congratulations to all the winners, great to see some of the traders who we’ve seen at Trinity Kitchen, such as Fresh Rootz and The Cauldron win, and also amazing overseas traders too!

I’m so happy Leeds was represented really well, and for two of the city’s traders winning awards (Best Main and Best of the Best), it’s just brilliant and reinforces the city’s stature in street food!!

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