Top 10: Best New Street Food Traders in LondonBy Alicia Grimshaw
A new wave of street food traders have pitched up across the capital as part of KERB’s ‘InKERBator programme’ which fosters fresh, new foodie talent.
This clutch holds: Chinese Yunnan rice noodles (the first to come to the streets of London), drum smoked jerk chicken, saucy ragu-stuffed Roman ciabatta pockets, homemade Mexican steamed dumplings and vegan bagels.
Test them out across three KERB lunch markets; West India Quay on Tuesdays, King’s Cross on Wednesdays and St. Kats on Thursdays – but before you eat, meet the people behind all of that delicious food. Here’s the best street food traders you need to know about:
Founders: Tania and Joel
Signature Dish: 48-hour pimento and scallion marinated chicken, smoked to perfection in a traditional jerk drum, served with rice and peas and tropical coleslaw.
The Lowdown: The Shellbelly’s team understand that jerk chicken has roots much deeper than your local Caribbean takeaway, would you believe. Forgoing hunks of pineapple, and a few coconut shavings on the side, Shellbelly’s takes it back to basics with their offering: homemade everything and doing things just like granny taught them – the good, old-fashioned way.
Founders: Yaofang Zheng and David
Signature dish: Warm silken tofu rice noodles with pork mince and chilli oil.
The Lowdown: The first people to bring authentic Yunnan food to London’s streets, Yun’s homemade rice noodles have already become a talk of the town. Served by the friendliest street food team in London, Yun’s Guo Qiao Mi Xian is unmissable: this 300-year legendary dish features an 8-hour soup broth, filled with rice noodles, meats, fresh vegetables and house-made condiments.
Founders: Matteo Grasso and Lucca Ramzan
Signature Dish: The Sugo di Agnello – slow-cooked lamb leg marinated for 48 hours in homemade stocks with red wine and tomato passata in fresh ciabatta.
The Lowdown: After first discovering sugos in Rome, the group of friends decided to bring these popular Roman-style ciabatta pockets to the streets of London. All Sugos (meaning saucy) are stuffed with either traditional nonna’s recipe ragu to the more vegan friendly bite, which features freshly stewed aubergine, courgettes, peppers and tomatoes.
Founder: Matthew Smith
Signature Dish: The Red Pizza – blend of 3 vegan cheeses, Italian tomato sauce, oregano and extra virgin olive oil.
The Lowdown: Born out of a love for Italian food and experimenting with vegan recipes in the kitchen, Founder Matthew Smith set up Little Leaf, a vegan street food stall specialising in an all-time Italian great: pizza. Expect toppings like homemade pesto sauce, zucchini and cashew ricotta, and soft, yet chewy crusts. Pizza perfection.
Founders: Katrice King and Abraham Garcia
Signature Dish: Tamale. A light corn based ‘dumpling’ steamed in a corn husk, filled with chicken or sweet potato with homemade spicy salsas.
The Lowdown: Shining a light on the lesser known gems of Mexican street food, former humanitarian engineer Katrice started Mexikings earlier this year after coming to a KERB workshop and falling in love with Mexican street eats. Mexikings dish up steamed Mexican tamales (dumplings) and crispy flautas (fried flute-shaped tacos) bursting with vibrant flavours and fresh ingredients.
Founder: Chloe Watt
Signature Dish: The salt ‘beef’ (seitan) with Pepperjack vegan cheese, pickle and mustard.
The Lowdown: Inspired by her favourite delis in NYC and London, Chloe spent hours in her kitchen creating vegan recipes based on the classic bagel fillings. Chloe is on a mission: to make vegan the new normal and open London’s first 100% vegan bagel deli. Look out for her bottomless brunch menu coming soon, and the ackee carrot lox special at KERB x Hornsey Town Hall.
Founders: Kali Hamm and Memby Jago
Signature Dish: The Elote Bowl – black beans, quinoa, tomato, nectarine, red cabbage, kale, pickled coriander, toasted seeds, fresh corn, chipotle crema, guajillo and sesame oil.
The Lowdown: Palm Greens is a salad bar created out of Kali’s love of fresh, vibrant flavours and veg-led food. Each bowl is inspired by Kali and Memby’s travels, made by playing around and trying to make healthy food fun. The team create fast food that fits with the city’s pace without skimping on quality, ethics, and, well, taste.
Founders: Ananda Kaluarachchi, Chandrakanthi Perera and Sujitha Perera
Signature Dish: The fiery red seafood kottu roti (it takes a brave soldier to take the heat!).
The Lowdown: If you’re not familiar with kottu roti, it’s an authentic Sri Lankan street food dish which sees a mixture of fresh veg fried in coconut oil (carrot, red onion, cabbage, leeks), and eggs, topped with shredded roti and finished off with a drizzle of curry. Kottu is a traditional dish, but Ananda uses inspiration from different regions and villages in Sri Lanka.
Founders: Ben Perers-Cook
Signature Dish: The best goddamn Buffalo wings in town (no lie, we don’t lie about meat).
The Lowdown: Ben had a lifelong obsession with Buffalo wings thanks to his American heritage and, after a wing pilgrimage round New York with his dad, Ben started his own thing. And by gosh, these wings are seriously good. We’re talking about free-range chicken wings tossed in small batch, homemade sauces. Grab ’em, stat.
Founder: Shweta Solanki
Signature Dish: Slow cooked Kashmiri lamb handmade roti.
The Lowdown: Shweta left the corporate marketing world behind to set up Bombai earlier this year.And we’re glad about the career change, as these food seriously access a punch. Aiming to become ‘the Leon of Indian street food’, Shweta is a don in the kitchen, cooking up batches of healthy, tasty, homemade authentic Bombay food.
One for luck…
Founders: Kea Teo, Vanessa Goh, and Andrew Yu
Signature Dish: Smoky barbecue pork marinated for at 24 hours and then slow roasted on purple rice
The Lowdown: Rice Guys, run by three certified accountants, brings together some of Asia’s most popular street food dishes, drawing on Kea, Vanessa and Andrew’s mixed Chinese, Malaysian, Singaporean heritage. Here, there’s a strong focus on homemade, preservative-free marinades, made from scratch.
Photo Credit: Photography by Jake Davis