London is awash with great street food; Tom Whitehead and Thomas Rees bring you some of the best places to pick up a bite in the capital
The Rib Man – Kerb @ King's Cross on Thursdays (12 – 2.30pm); Petticoat Lane Market on Fridays; Brick Lane on Sundays (9am – 5pm )
Mark Gevaux, aka The Rib Man, has gained cult status for his barbecued rib meat rolls, wildly considered to be the best in town. He even counts Man V. Food's Adam Richman among his admirers! After stripping the succulent rib meat from the bone, Mark piles it into a soft white roll and serves it with optional, expletive inducing 'Holy F*ck' sauce. This secret recipe, laced with fiery scotch bonnet chillies, adds a few Scovilles to the audacious ribs and makes eating at The Rib Man's a gloriously messy business. Wet wipes are more a requirement than a recommendation! Also on offer are half or whole rack ribs to gnaw on in situ or take home.
Spice up your day with the flavours of the Caribbean and a taste of Jamaican home cooked food courtesy of Mama's Jerk Station. Offerings include jerk chicken wraps, sausage wraps, veggie bean cake wraps and salads, served with a generous dollop of home made tropical mayo. There are chicken and dumpling soups too and sides of wings, saltfish cakes and sticky fried plantain. If you've got the coconuts, splash Mama's hot pepper sauce on top.
Anna Mae's Smokehouse - Kerb @ Canary Wharf/The Gherkin alternating Thursdays (12 – 2pm)
All-American Mac and Cheese tops the bill at this Southern-style joint. Also on the menu is The Notorious P.I.G, a decadent pulled pork sandwich drenched in house BBQ sauce and served with a side of sweetheart cabbage and sesame coleslaw. Texas Red Chilli with jalapeño corn bread and sour cream is another winner.
Winner of 'Best Snack' and 'People's Choice' at the 2012 British Street Food Awards, Yum Bun continue to turn heads with their delicate, Asian styled, buns and locally sourced fillings. Their best seller, the slow-roasted pork belly bun (£2.50) topped with sticky hoisin sauce, cucumber and spring onions, is comforting and breathtakingly delicious. Ginger and chilli infused salmon comes a close second, while the Portobello mushroom buns make for a strong veggie option. Bento boxes, which include two buns, miso soup and gyoza cost just £7.50. Not to be missed.
Wholefood Heaven – Whitecross Street, EC1 most Thursdays and Fridays (12pm-3pm)
It sometimes feels like street food only caters for the carnivores but don't dismay. Scattered amongst the burger stands and the barbecues are a whole host of traders catering especially for veggies and vegans. Wholefood Heaven, run by husband and wife cooking team David and Charlotte Bailey, is one of the best, serving their trademark Buddah Bowls to enlightened customers across the capital. Bowls consist of seasonal vegetable curries with homemade relishes, such as carrot and kimchi pickle, rice and tofu. Rich with wholegrains, they'll leave you feeling rejuvenated and make a perfect healthy alternative for red blooded meat eaters too.
Kappacasein – Borough Market SE1, Thursday (11am-5-pm), Friday (11am-6pm), Saturday (8am-5pm)
Elevating the humble cheese sandwich to dizzy new heights, Kappacasein's signature creation consists of two slices of toasted Poilâne sourdough, melted Montgomery cheddar, leeks, onions and garlic. It's incredibly simple but it's also one of the best things you'll ever eat. Almost on a par is their raclette, a mound of molten Ogleshield served on new potatoes, offset by the peppery sharpness of baby gherkins. Who knew melted cheese could be this good?
Luardos – Whitecross Street, EC1 Monday to Friday (11.30am-2pm); Brockley Market Saturday (10am-2pm)
Luardos are London's burrito specialists, doling out soft tortillas filled with chicken, beef, or pork and topped with a choice of salsa, guacamole, hot sauce, black beans, cheese, rice, sour cream, lettuce, and fresh coriander - phew! Select your fillings, grab a fist full of napkins and watch as your burrito is expertly rolled. The result is a wrap packing all the intensity of a Mexican stand off.
Buen Provecho – Lower Marsh, Waterloo, SE1 7RG; Weekdays 12 – 2.30 pm
While Luardos might lay claim to serving the best burritos in the capital, Buen Provecho, run by Mexico City born Arturo Ortega Rodriguez, boast the tastiest tacos (£6 for 3). Stand out fillings are the Cochinita pibil (slow roasted pork, marinaded in chili, spices and citrus juice) and chorizo-spiked chicken tinga. Fresh tomato salsas and guacamole are the perfect foil for the fillings, sharpened with a squeeze of lime and garnished with fresh coriander.
Monty's Deli – Arch 76, Druid Street SE1 2HQ; Saturdays (9.30am - 5pm) Sundays (10.30am - 4 pm)
Monty's are serious about their sandwiches, decadent New York-style creations rarely seen this side of the pond. Everything is made from scratch and the peppery pastrami and salt beef, widely regarded to be the best in London, are cured and smoked to a secret recipe. They're then thickly sliced, topped with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, mustard and Russian dressing, piled onto slices of caraway flecked rye bread in reckless quantities, and toasted. Sides include coleslaw and pickles and other Jewish deli staples, such as chicken soup with matzo balls, are also on offer. If you're up to the challenge, order a Reuben Special, a teetering mound of pastrami and beef. The meat sweats are more than worth it.
Churros Garcia – Saturday at Portobello Road Market (9am - 6pm), Friday to Sunday at Real Food Market (10am - 8pm, 6pm on Sundays)
If you want to be up to date with your fried puddings then you need to grab a churro. The doughnut's continental cousin, this sweet Spanish snack is crisp on the outside and soft within, delicious when rustling beneath a snowstorm of sugar. Like in Spain, the churros are served with a pot of dark chocolate for dipping.
Big Apple Hot Dogs – Tuesday to Friday (12pm-6pm), 239 Old Street, EC1V 9EY
94-98% meat, made with free-range pork and cuts of prime beef and served in buns freshly made by a local London bakery, Big Apple hot dogs have pedigree. Varieties include the Huge Pole (£6), an eight inch pork and beef sausage flavoured with sage and cayenne pepper, and the garlicky, marjoram infused Big Dog (£4). The latter is double smoked over heady German beech wood for that authentic New York taste. Top off your dog with a choice of buttery fried onions, sauerkraut, pickles, mustard and relishes, then sink into a blissful food coma.
La Tua Pasta – Borough Market, SE1 Mon-Thurs (10am-5pm) Fri (10am-6pm)
For a taste of Italian home cooking in the heart of London, seek out La Tua Pasta. This little stall sells delicate ravioli and tortellini served with fresh tomato sauce, Parmesan and a drizzle of grassy olive oil. There are a huge variety of fillings which change with the seasons. Favourites include lobster, pea and shallot, pumpkin, and wild boar. Stock up while you're there with boxes of cannelloni and fresh tagliatelle to take home. Buonissimo!
The Moroccan Soup Stand, Golborne Road, W10
Winner of the 'Best Street Food' category in the BBC Food and Farming Awards 2012, this unassuming stand serves Moroccan lentil stews, fish tagines and baguettes filled with grilled chicken, sardines and prawns. Run by cousins Ibrahim and Mohammed Sidari, it has long been a West London favourite. With bowls of the gently spiced stew going for under £3 it's no wonder.
With flavours like sea salted caramel and bourbon crunch, greengage and hazelnut, and Alphonso mango sherbet, Sorbitium is an ice cream van with a difference. The choices on offer vary according to the seasons and are made using organic milk and fruit from local farms. Look out for their homemade choc ices, milkshakes and decadent sundaes. In the winter, there's baked Alaska and warm toppings so you can enjoy an ice cream whatever the weather.
Horn OK Please – Borough Market, SE1 (days and times vary); Real Food Market, SE1 (10am - 8pm, 6pm on Sundays)
For vegetarian marvels from the Indian sub continent, you can't do better than Horn OK Please. From their stalls across London, this street food team serve a range of Indian snacks including bhel puri, moong dhal dosa, curried chickpeas and samosas. Garnished with a sprinkling of pomegranate, tamarind chutney, yoghurt and fresh coriander, it makes for some of the freshest street food in the capital.
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