Last week’s street food celebration was the birth of a new food revolution for Manchester and, similarly, the new year will continuing to see the Guerrilla Eats gang pioneering in true guerrilla style – popping up in basements, backyards, skyscrapers and secret gardens to bring great food to us all!
Why? To create a buzz around great food served by great people for realistic prices. For me, usually, grabbing a bite to eat from a street vendor tends to be the last port of call; I’m sure many have experience the pre-football match burger which mainly tastes like it’s made of 100% nuclear waste and AIDS. Well, fear not – the times they are a-changing.
London has seen an array of celebrated gourmet street vendors pop up but this hasn’t happened thus far in Manchester.
Mal O’Connor, of Fire and Salt BBQ, said: “We want street food to be accessible to everyone – no one wants to be paying 6 or 7 quid upwards for street food; but with the usual market fees, travel costs etc., street traders have no choice but to charge that much to start covering costs. Working as a collective helps bring our costs down and means no on takes money from the set up – it allows us to keep the quality of our food high and our prices down.”
Guerrilla Eats’ ideology is that street food doesn’t have to be something we all force down in situations of desperation. Street food is a massive part of the culture in many places around the world such as the Americas, East Asia and Africa so has it taken so long to catch on in the UK?
Last weekend saw the best of Manchester’s street food vendors – showcasing and saluting their passion for the using best ingredients, the most creative recipes and the diverse range of cuisines they offer; from BBQ pulled pork to spicy chaat to comforting ice-cream – all served up with a delightful dollop of exciting entertainment to ensure street food is celebrated in the style it deserves.
Fire and Salt BBQ served us up some unbelievable soft and juicy pulled pork which is cooked for hours at 90 degrees to achieve a melt-in-the-mouth texture. They also have their “accidental signature dish” of mac and cheese made with gruyere, cheddar and emmenthal; comfort food at its ultimate best!
Dirty Dogs Hot Dogs had their chilli dog classic to warm the cockles which went down a treat for those waiting in the Manchester rain. The lads are trying to find a veggie-dog option which doesn’t make them gag, and they are keen for any input and ideas on what would make meat-eaters and veggies alike happy. Answers on a postcard please!
Sean Robinson, dogger-supremo, said: “It’s fun, relaxed, inclusive food that makes people happy – there’s not a starched napkin or stiff upper lip in sight!”
Amongst my personal highlights were the Whisky Marmalade ice-cream from Gingers Comfort Emporium which was served in a handy basket you can eat with a little warm brioche on the side – absolutely delicious and although the added cold was slightly odd, it kind of worked in warming you up in a weird way!
Another of my favourites and probably overall highlight was sampling the food from Las Paelleras. As soon as we walked over to their space we could see a lovely big pan of the crispiest potatoes which they drenched in tomato sauce and aioli upon ordering; divine!
They also provided me with the best bread I’ve tasted outside of the continent with their artisan baguettes from Flour, Water, Salt in Macclesfield. Seriously soft on the inside but deliciously light and crunchy on the outside it’s the perfect host for chorizo, rocket and aioli sauce. I think I know decent Spanish food, and this was good! Got the thumbs up from my chorizo-loving partner as well so that’s a real good sign.
Tonight – the Dirty Dogs will be serving up their Christmas-themed dogs, amongst others, at the peerless Port Street Beer House so if you’re hungry for some festive dogs and fantastic beers, you know where to go. I’ll do my best to keep you updated on the next time these lovely lot will be serving their grub in the centre of Manchester but for more info get chatting to @NorthWestNosh – she’ll sort you out.