Podcast Summary (It's way better to listen)
The Perfect Street Food Dish
What is the perfect street food dish?
00:00: Voices from the street – What’s the perfect dish?
02:35: Robin Leeburn, KERB Life host
03:43: Victoria Stewart, Journalist and Food Blogger
10:21: Matt Harris from BBQ Lab and Thunderbird Chicken at Street Feast, Dinerama
15:08: Oli Baba and his halloumi fries at KERB Camden Market
20:46: Graham Bradbury, Mac Factory KERB Camden Market
24:38: Prominent London Food Bloggers KS Ate Here and Adam Layton
32:38: Ollie Hunter, Head of KERB Community,
This episode takes a deep dive into the pots and pans of London’s food trucks and market stalls to find out what makes them so damn tasty. Hear how the top street food traders are making it work in one of the world’s most competitive trading environments.
Victoria Stewart, a prolific freelance food journalist, has sampled the best of London’s street food from the very beginning, writing for The Evening Standard, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, and more. Vic is willing to wait for the most delicious street food, which she said should have “4 or 5 things going on in every bite.” Vic has watched the variety and number of stalls expand over the years and seen the classics duplicated, refined and reinvented, in the quest for the perfect dish.
One of KERB’s early traders, Matt Harris, spent years in his BBQ Lab, with flamethrowers and liquid nitrogen, ’making American BBQ awesomer’ until the wings exploded into an entirely new concept, Thunderbird Fried Chicken. BBQ Lab, which Matt now calls “a hobby that got out of hand” was too complicated and expensive to be sustainable. But he had found the perfect dish —his award-winning fried chicken wings.
Sometimes, when you’re perfecting a classic, something entirely new is erupts in the kitchen. Such was the case when Oil Baba made his first halloumi fries at KERB Camden Market. Oli says that the perfect dish has got to look pretty. “Presentation is a massive factor in street food and everyone is obsessed with snapchat, twitter and instagram so it can make your business.” And he should know, his halloumi fries are the most Instagramed dish at KERB and one video of Oli’s halloumi fries on The Culture Trip blog has been viewed over 20 million times.
A neighbouring stall at Camden Market, Mac Factory has mastered a different art, live performance. When your kitchen is in the street, you always have a captive audience of customers. Graham Bradbury said, “You need to have a pull factor. We had the idea of the cheese wheel and for the theatre of it, you can’t ask for more.” Fresh hand rolled pasta is dipped into a huge block of cheese and swirled until it stretches and oozes and begs to be eaten. In London, people are going mental for cheese porn. Is this the perfect street food dish?
Two of London’s most prominent food bloggers, KS Ate Here and Adam Layton weighed in on the topic with this advice to traders: “Serve the one thing you love, stick to it and don’t compromise, like The Rib Man.” What is the perfect dish? The Yum Bun pork belly bun. Or maybe a Bleecker Black. It’s the dish that you finish and immediately want another one.
And finally, some words of advice from Ollie Hunter, Head of KERB Community, who loves all KERB traders equally and can’t pick a favourite dish. His advice: concentrate on the quality of the food, the look of the stall, the banter, the price and if all else fails…just stick it in a deep fryer.
The KERB Life podcast has been produced, edited and hosted by Robin Leeburn, of Fairly www.fairly.media.
Executive Producer: Petra Barran
Meet the traders in this story
Matt Harris – Thunderbird
Oli Ilplicjian – Oli Baba’s
Graham Bradbury – The Mac Factory & The Cheese Wheel