Several years ago, if someone were to mention having dinner from food trailers in a carpark, I would have instantly thought of greasy chow mein and soggy spring rolls, or those rubbery hot dogs on a stick dunked in tomato sauce.
My, how times have changed. Who knew semi-decent, let alone delicious food, could be produced in the tight confines of a vehicle!
Food trucks are no longer the transportable grease vats of my childhood, dishing out artery-clogging fare that no one particularly wants to eat, now they are quite the opposite. These days food trucks are trendy and cater for all your cuisine cravings. There are even websites dedicated to stalking them out because don’t you hate it when your favourite truck is suddenly no longer in its usual spot?! You can imagine my excitement when I heard of Urban Food Fest in Shoreditch- a food market involving a range of food trucks being parked together in the same place- hooray!
The Urban Food Fest has been running for a couple of years now, and judging by the rave reviews I had read or heard, is rather successful. So with my partner in crime M in tow, I headed north to Shoreditch for the Festival’s opening weekend to see what the fuss was all about. While not as big as we thought (clearly I’m still overestimating the size of London carparks) there were still lots of options to get the mouth drooling and the tummy rumbling.
After a quick scan of the trucks from the carpark entrance, we spotted the bar- this solved the problem of where our first couple of quid would be spent. I was impressed by the selection; there were a couple of craft beers and ciders, some not so crafty beers, and even cocktails and champagne. I usually like to indulge in the latter beverages while lounging in a less hectic environment so I went for an Orchard Pig Cider. The ‘Reveller’, described as ‘riotous celebration of apples’ seemed to be an apt choice to keep me hydrated as we set off for a closer inspection of the truck fare.
Judging by the size of the carpark, I assume that different trucks and stalls come and go as they please every week; a nightmare for those monogamous orderers out there, but a dream for those like me who want their fingers in every pie, so to speak. On this particular night we could have dined on wood fired pizzas, burgers, crepes, pulled pork sandwiches, sushi, meat skewers, and filled bread-bowl concoctions, and I haven’t even got to the sweet treats yet.
There was much umming and ahhing. Ok, it was mainly just me; M is far more decisive and clearly does not share my crippling fear of food envy. I went for a classic- burgers. I love burgers in all shapes and styles so in hindsight, this should have been easy, I just had to decide which of the two Korean burgers to go for. Galbi Bros had a massive line almost spanning the length of the carpark, so presumably it’s good but having not yet embraced the English love of queuing I went for the options with the shorter wait time- Busan’s Bulgogi Burger. It was delicious- a sticky soy flavour hit served up on a sturdy bun which managed hold everything in; no easy feat considering the patty was a little on the soft side, and they were generous with my extra kimchee.
My more decisive counterpart went for Peru Sabor’s Peruvian Ox Heart Skewers with quinoa salad, fried potatoes, and popped corn. Let’s be honest, I had the slightest bit of food envy. Whatever their marinade is, I want it because anything that makes me want to eat ox hearts on a regular basis is a winner in my book. Why have we never done this for the good old Kiwi barbie!?
Burger and skewers devoured, and a couple of drinks later we thought about ending on a sweet note- some brownie bites or mini macarons perhaps, but with my tummy filled to the brim, it wasn’t to be. There’s always next Saturday… and while you’re in the neighbourhood, stop into Boxpark, just like Christchurch’s container mall, only more monochrome!
Urban Food Fest is every Saturday night, 5pm-midnight, until 21 June 2014 at Euro Car Parks, 162-175 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6HU
Connie is a keen eater of all things tasty; weird or wonderful, she’ll try anything at least once. She likes to cook, but loves to wine and dine out even more, sometimes to the detriment of the bank balance. When she’s not daydreaming about being on MKR or adding to her growing list of ‘must try’ restaurants, she dabbles in a bit of policy and project management.