Fish finger sandwiches, cream teas and 1920s seafood treats: Amy Charlotte Hughes chooses her favourite British street food vendors
Featured in issue 1, the suited and booted street food experience offered by What the Dickens is a Pretty Nostalgic favourite. Long-time friends Adam, Michael and Dominic enable the great British public to rediscover time-honoured dishes, such as devilled kidneys and kedgeree, street-side, producing much of the food themselves. In addition to the What the Dickens vegetable garden and bacon curing set-up, plans are afoot for a smoke-house and selection of home-made cheeses. Find them at Chatsworth Road Market, East London, every Sunday.
Ginger’s Comfort Emporium
Forget sticky Fabs and melting Flakes: this Manchester-based ice-creamerie-on-wheels takes frozen treats to a whole new level of kitsch cool. Selling flavours such as ‘Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble’ and ‘Red Wine, Chocolate and Spices’ from the hatch of her beautifully made-over van since 2009, founder Claire Kelsey has already been bestowed with a Northwest Fine Food Award and British Street Food Awards. She shares some of her favourite sweet treat recipes in Issue 2, on sale until 31st August.
Strumpets With Crumpets
A hot, buttered crumpet washed down with a good brew is a time-honoured cure for all manner of ills, most notably rumbling bellies at soggy British festivals. So thank heavens for ‘Strumpets’ Yaz, Emily and Katten, and their glamorous crumpet box Scarlet, who have been bringing their unique brand of burlesque-tinged griddle cakes to muddy fields since 2009.
Eat My Pies
Enjoyed everywhere from football terraces to festival fields, the mighty pie is a trusty stalwart of British cuisine. Eat My Pies has rescued these and other quintessentially British goodies – including scotch eggs and custard tarts – from the realms of modern-day junk food, specialising in simple, high-quality ingredients local to the businesses London roots. Find them at London’s White Cross Market, EC1 (Thursdays and Fridays) and Broadway Market, Hackney (Saturdays).
The Fisherman’s Pier Fish & Chip Van
If one meal screams British summertime at the seaside, it’s the classic cod and chips combo. Friends Jeanette and Jane take street seafood to a whole new level with their Tobermory-based based set-up, however, gaining a Les Routiers award for dishes such as seared fresh king scallops, and acclaim from the likes of HRH The Prince of Wales. Fresh fish is supplied daily, and all food is cooked to order.
The Mussel Men
Touring their distinct 1920s-themed mussel menu around summertime events across the British isles, The Mussel Men are on a mission to “make seafood more accessible to the masses”. Adding a dramatic twist to the street food experience, you’ll find The Mussel Men team flexing their pecks in circus strong-man attire, challenging their punters to regular ‘mussel-offs’ for the chance to win a free meal.
Everyday is like Sundae
With a name that plays on the title of a Morrissey song written about its home town, it’s no surprise that this beautiful ice cream van revels in northern nostalgia. From its Morecambe base, Everyday is like Sundae delivers a range of locally produced ice creams to the sweet-toothed masses, catering vintage fairs, weddings, parties, PR events and festivals. And the van itself is a visual treat, fronted by hand-printed signage, decked out with vintage kitchen paraphernalia and decorated inside with displays of knitted ice creams.
Wild Rover Food
Last year Rob and Cat left their office jobs with the dream of reconnecting with people, the community and the land. “The Wild Rover is an expression of our efforts to promote fresh ingredients, grown locally,” enthuses Cat. “We love chatting with our customers over the frying pan, and hope to ‘grow our own’ one day!” After the pair spent the summer volunteering with organic farms and food projects, and exploring community food networks, Rob restored 51-year-old Land Rover ‘Bessie’, and The Wild Rover was born. Their menu boasts a glorious range if sustainable dishes, from pheasant and haggis puff parcels to sloe truffle torte.
The Flying Ducks
The home of The Flying Ducks is an original 1964 Carlight Cassetta, from which is served fish finger sandwiches, full roast dinner in a bap, Eton mess – in short, all manner of retro culinary delights. “I had always loved the ’50s style and decided to make British street food sexy!” says Ruth Tidd. “The van has been totally restored on the outside, adding that little bit of sexiness to boot. Neon lights underneath and 1950s burlesque girls in aprons adorn the front.” Find The Flying Ducks at a range of events from corporate parties to festivals to weddings across the UK.
It began with a cream tea in 1959. Thomas Braithwaite Milburn (‘Braith’ to his friends) and his wife Laura enjoyed their first Cornwall cream tea experience so much that, on returning from holiday to their home in North East England, they set about baking batches of scones and creating their own special strawberry preserve. Soon the Braithwaites’ cream teas were the talk of the town, and today great grandson Paul continues to tout the tasty treats across London.