As the sun beats down it’s impossible to not want to be outside embracing it. These warmer days are the perfect excuse to enjoy alfresco dining and to explore one of the food industry’s newest phenomena: street food festivals.
Why is street food so popular?
As the street food market continues to gain traction around the world, I ask myself: why is it that this style of dining continuing to rise in popularity? The answer lies in a few key ingredients. Firstly, the authenticity. Many street food vendors specialise in one style of cuisine, some even just one dish, and hone it to perfection. This means customers know that when they order from a food truck that dish has been made by someone who lives and breathes it, so it’s likely to be good.
Secondly, the personal connection. The chances that you are dealing with not only the head chef, but also the owner when you order at a street food vendor, is high. This small personal touch means the passion owners have for the food can directly rub off on their customers.
Lastly, the experience. The practice of ordering from a food truck is one unlike restaurant dining. For lack of a better word, it’s liberating. There are no dress codes, no social expectations and no need for social graces at a food truck. It’s dining taken back to its rawest form. It also lends itself to a bespoke experience for those who are dining in groups. If one person desires seafood, but another burritos, that is absolutely fine! You will be able to get whatever you desire, without having to compromise and come together as a group to dine.
CEO of the Centre for Culinary Development, Kimberly Egan, had this to say: “Street food is changing the conversation around food by creating new, vibrant and diverse communities socially connected by a shared interest in a new way of eating. At various turns it is highbrow meets lowbrow, local and eco-friendly, socially conscious and globally diverse. Street foods provide another avenue for consumers to explore new flavour adventures at an accessible value.”
Looking at street food festivals
The appearance of street food festivals is one that has been long in the making. Music festival goers will recount the amazing meals they got out of vans whilst the danced the night away, and eventually people thought, ‘why don’t we just make that a thing?’ Now, street food festivals are popping up all over the world. From festivals dedicated to specific food styles or even ingredients, to those who contain a medley of trucks and stalls, they are hard to ignore.
These festivals make an occasion of street food. When you put together the idea of warm weather, time spent with friends and delectable dishes it’s easy to see why street food festivals are becoming so popular. They allow the summer experience to continue, without having to compromise on food standards.
Festivals for thought
Street food festivals continue to gain popularity and that simply opens the doors for more of them to exist. As the market grows, vendors and festival owners are becoming more focused on what they want to share with consumers, and some festivals are embracing this by celebrating just one ingredient.
One of the best examples of this is the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival. Running in August, the festival celebrates everything garlic, something the Isle of Wight is famous for producing. This shows just how interested in food, even down to the raw ingredients, consumers are becoming.
If you long for a street food festival, but cannot get away from London’s grasp - never fear, there are many festivals taking place in the city centre that can appease your appetite and afford you a fantastic time as they do so. Take the South End Food Festival for example. The festival started in 2012 and has now grown into a great event, with over 12,000 people attending in 2017. The streets of Croydon fill with food stalls, dining tables and performers to create an electric atmosphere.
If you want to spend your weekend in the sun enjoying fantastic food an entertainment at a street food festival, Food Festival Finder is a resource that allows consumers to find their local festivals. From something as focused as the Garlic Festival, to some of the country’s largest festivals, there are events to suit everyone’s taste buds.
I’m looking forward to spending some time in the sun with my girlfriends whilst feasting on the best street food the UK has to offer. I hope this trend continues and the idea that good food can be enjoyed like good music grows in everyone’s mind.