We spoke to the team about the KERB dishes over the past ten years that have blown their minds. It was a tough one, and there was a lot of moaning “it’s impossible!” “not fair!” “too hard!” “there’s too many!”…but eventually we pinned them down, and here’s what they had to say.
WARNING: stop reading now if you’re feeling hungry, this won’t help…
Charlie Casey, KERB’s Head of Food
NOMINATION: Yum Bun, Pork Bao
FIRST TASTED: Dalston, circa 2015
“It is the epitome of why love, care and consideration is needed in every aspect of a dish to make it work and stand the test of time. Yum Buns Pork Bao is the Big Mac of street food dishes. It stands as one of the most consistent products I have ever come across. It may not be the most traditional representation but the quality of the ingredients, the attention to each process used, the purity in its simplicity and delivery means that it;s nothing but a steamy ball of happiness each and every time and there’s always room for another.”
Simon Mitchell, KERB’s CEO
NOMINATION: Kimchinary, burrito
FIRST TASTED: Camden Market, circa 2015
“Kimchinary’s burrito, literally the most delicious burrito you could ever hope to eat. 10 out of 10 for taste and texture. The perfect flavour combination wrapped up to grab and stuff in your face. Single handedly responsible for my additional KERB-stone of weight gain when we opened at Camden Market.”
Claudia Bovey, KERB’s Markets & Development Manager
NOMINATION: BBQ Dreamz, Chicken satay box
FIRST TASTED: West India Quay, circa 2016
“Mine’s got to be the chicken satay box from BBQ Dreamz with extra pineapple. I first tried it at west india quay circa 2016. My first ever trader swap after the market finished. One of the best rice and sauce combos I’ve ever eaten, extra pineapple is an absolute must. Lee and Sinead are also UNREALLLLLLLL.”
James Brooks, KERB’s Partnerships Project Manager
NOMINATION: Kaki Lima, Chicken Soto (Indonesian Noodle Soup)
FIRST TASTED: At KERB at the Gherkin
“Twin sisters making incredibly hearty bowls of Indonesian Soto. Made from scratch and (what felt like from the soul) and topped with all sorts of greatness. Gooey egg, beansprouts, crispy shallots, crispy potatoes, spring onions and their home made signature spicy sambal topped with a crunchy cracker. First had this when I was running KERB at the Gherkin – made even more iconic when it won first prize at our InKERBator weekender on the Southbank.
It was a real case of complete dedication to the dish. It was elevated street food at its finest. Deeply delicious and yet so refined – it was hard to believe it was being served out of a 3x3ft gazebo pop-up. Served with the biggest smiles from the girls, it was always such a treat when Kaki Lima were on the line up.”
Sam Mason, KERB’s Development & Events Manager
NOMINATION: Smokin’ Lotus, 8 hour Char Sui BBQ pork belly with Japanese potato salad and rainbow slaw.
FIRST TASTED: Circa 2018
“True innovation in fusion food. This was American / Chinese BBQ hybrid that really showed me what could be achieved on the streets with a little ingenuity and a brave idea.
Pork belly smoked for 8 hours to make it super tender, cut into cubes and then grilled on the stall to get the crisp brown char. Coated in a home made Char Sui bbq sauce. Sweet, Savoury, Fatty, Crispy. YUM! Potato salad that was a 50/50 mix of Japanese mayo and potato. Fresh cabbage slaw coated with a thick sesame dressing. All topped topped with spring onion, fresh chillis and sesame seeds. Rosie had a vision and stayed true to it (+ also the best Korean chicken wing sauce I’ve ever had).”
Alana Buckley, Head of Events
NOMINATION: Dosa Deli, chilli cheese dosa
FIRST TASTED: Circa 2015–2016, maybe at Alchemy
“Spicy tomato chutney, paneer, diced red onion, thin and crispy dosa. Perfect balance. Served with bhel puri and the most delicious coconut chutney. A staple of KERB events for years, it always managed to taste amazing even eaten cold during a 3am load out!”
Sophie Alexander, People & Culture Director
NOMINATION: El Pollote, guava-glazed wings
FIRST TASTED: Bucket List Festival
“My first week at KERB was the Bucket List Festival which was a friend chicken competition. 8 traders all producing different types of chicken and I was in my fucking element. It was the first time I’d tried El Pollote’s wings – masa fried pieces with guava glaze and habanero mayo. Sweet, spicy, salty, sticky- basically banging. They ended up being crowned the winners of the event and are still dishing them out at Seven Dials Market to this day.”
Lily Spendlove, Member & Event Manager @ ExCel
NOMINATION: Mexican Seoul, Pork Belly Tacos
FIRST TASTED: At an ExCel event
“At one of my very first events with ExCel, Ashley from Mexican Seoul was so nice and easy to work with and I helped him set up his gazebo as he talked so passionately about his business and when/why he started it. And especially how proud he was of his wing fest awards after not even having the business for a year! His pork belly tacos are the ultimate melt in the mouth pork, topped with that crispy onion and my fav pickled red onions packed with a real nice bit of heat that gives this dish that extra bit of edge to it!”
Dom Marsh, Social Media & Content Manager
NOMINATION: Only Jerkin’, mixed box with all the sauces and jerk gravy
FIRST TASTED: ~2017 at KERB at the Gherkin
“It ain’t just ‘another fried chicken dish’, it’s completely its own movement (ask the suits who queue for it, rain or shine at the Gherk). I don’t even consider it fried chicken to be honest, it’s a flavour in its own right. Jess and Luke created a dish that slaps AND ensured it is the exact same quality at every place/event they and their team hit. Consistency is the key to a strong brand and their success emulates this.
It’s actually addictive… the chilli mango aioli, jerk ketchup, ginger beer battered 48hr marinated jerk chicken, the dusted fluffy dry jerk chips with a fuck tonne of jerk gravy on top to tie in some serious soul to this Caribbean inspired dish from Luke’s upbringing. It’s crack, I’m addicted. So is most of London. Also they are so cool it hurts. It may not seem the most ‘OUT THERE’ but when it comes to an iconic dish by an iconic brand, they are up there in the KERB history.”
Priya Narain, Events Sales Manager
NOMINATION: The Frenchie, duck confit burger
FIRST TASTED: KERB at the Gherkin
“As an avid cheese and truffle lover, having the two together in a gorgeous burger is just divine. Think of shredded confit duck sitting on a soft brioche roll, now throw on some truffle honey and rocket. And as with all amazing burgers the cheese drips down the side, but in true French style they use raclette. Can’t really get more French than this!!
I first tried their burger at one of KERB’s food markets at the Gherkin. With so many wonderful dishes on offer, it was simply a no-brainer that I give this one a go – and I have been hooked since.”