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2018: The Year of Sophisticated Street Food

street food london

The Independent’s Lizzie Rivera discusses the changing face of the UK’s street food over the past few years in her article, ‘Why 2018 will be the year street food gets a lot more sophisticated’.

Regional cuisine is highly in demand, and that means being far more precise than simply serving ‘Indian’ food, Rivera explains. Consumers want to know that their seafood dish is ‘inspired by the ports of Kerala’ and that their curry is from ‘the streets of Gujarat’.

Also at the top of consumers’ lists is a wide range of vegan and vegetarian options, sustainable food sources and environmentally-sound waste solutions.

“Vegan dishes are getting an unhealthy makeover,” says Kerb’s Alison O’Reilly. “There are only so many buddha bowls one person can eat, so it’s time for some jackfruit chicken wings from Biff’s Jack Shack, a tofu fish burrito from Club Mexicana and melting chocolate brownie mud pie from Young Vegans.”

According to Rivera, street food catering is now a more promising career choice, with a higher demand for pop-up events as well as permanent homes for street food markets opening up all over the country. Events organisers are now receiving hundreds of applications from caterers every month, and Alison O’Reilly explains, “Now a lot of people are leaving nine-to-five jobs in finance, tech and marketing [for mobile catering]. They see it as a low-risk way of setting up a restaurant without having to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

In terms of sustainability, there are obvious limits of street food when it comes to plastic cups, plates and cutlery, but there has been a reduction in the use of plastic straws throughout the industry. At Altrincham Market and Mackie Major, traders are encouraged to use crockery instead of disposable plates and wash up using in-built catering sinks.

We agree that more can be done to implement new sustainable practices, and that ensuring traders and their staff know where the ingredients they serve are sourced is vital to building trust in the industry, but who says street food hasn’t always been sophisticated?

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