Experts seek Northern Ireland’s tastiest Street Food

For the first time ever, two Street Food businesses from Northern Ireland are being provided with the opportunity to demonstrate their culinary expertise at THE major event for the industry in Britain – The British Street Food Awards 2016.

Twelve street-food traders – from all over the country will be judged on the quality and innovation of their food, along with customer service at the Hillsborough International Oyster Festival on Saturday 3rd September.

The two winners of the first-ever Northern Ireland heat, which is being organised by Food NI and Tourism NI as part of Year of Food and Drink, will go forward to the finals of the British Street Food Awards in Birmingham on 17/18 September.

Michele Shirlow, Food NI Chief Executive, commenting on the awards, said: “We’ve seen a remarkable growth in the number of Street Food businesses. Street food is now the most dynamic sector of British food — the laboratory of new tastes. It’s the starting place of a lot of the most exciting restaurant openings throughout Britain in the last three years, including Pitt Cue, Yum Bun, Homeslice, MEATliquor, Pizza Pilgrims and Bao. And they have all been through the British Street Food Awards! Plus, there’s a lot of venture capital floating above it all, ready to pounce on the fresh new ideas for the High Street”

“We’ve seen quirky vans, bespoke trailers and even a former ambulance turned into mobile food bars serving outstandingly unique, informal and fun food; everything from the traditional burgers to healthy salads, noodles, hog roasts, pizzas, pies and even Belgian waffles.”

“Raising the profile of Street Food here was a key objective of Year of Food and Drink. We saw a need to support the expansion of food festivals throughout Northern Ireland by encouraging those interesting in a service that has long been a feature of many global cities and has won recognition from tourists.”

“We wanted visitors to Northern Ireland to rate our Street Food along with cities such as Amsterdam, Paris, New York, Hong Kong and Bangkok. We knew that Northern Ireland had the quality ingredients and enterprising people to succeed in an exciting industry that’s reckoned to be worth an amazing £600 million a year and is growing annually by 20 per cent. Northern Ireland is now part of what has become the most important and dynamic food trend in Britain for decades,” she added.

Don Spence, Chairman, Hillsborough International Oyster Festival added, “We are delighted to be hosting the first ever Northern Ireland heat of the British Street Food Awards at the Festival. The awards are an integral part of our Festival activities on 3rd September and we look forward to welcoming food connoisseurs from across the country to Hillsborough and of course sampling all the delicious street food on offer.”

The 12 street food traders at the Hillsborough International Oyster Festival will have to impress the public with innovative and outstandingly tasty food that also has a great visual appeal. Who wins – YOU decide! They will also have to tickle the taste buds of a guest judging panel.

The British Street Food Awards was launched in 2009 by UK food journalist Richard Johnson who had enjoyed delicacies from around the world and wanted to encourage the industry’s growth in Britain. He subsequently won the backing of celebrity chefs such as Mark Hix and Marco Pierre White as well as respected food writers including Tom Parker Bowles.

“We had a Northern Irish entrant in the first ever British Street Food Awards back in 2010. They were called Rocket and Relish — a beautiful Airstream trailer serving Dexter burgers, from Ulster, with Cashel Blue cheese. They made a lot of friends that weekend. But we’ve had no Northern Irish entrants since — so we decided to come and find the best for ourselves” sais Richard Johnson
“2016 is Northern Ireland’s Year of Food, celebrating the bounty of land and sea, and we’re honoured — more than a little excited — to be parking up at the world-famous Hillsborough International Oyster Festival. We know that the knees-up is also big old party for all the family, with a soapbox derby round the gracious Georgian town, live music, dancing and a barful of Ireland’s best craft beers. So we’ll fit right in.
“We’re been really impressed by the CVs of Northern Ireland’s finest traders, and the way they allow the amazing ingredients to speak for themselves. We’re looking forward to bringing them all to town on September 3. After Belfast, it’s full speed ahead for the national finals in September.”

The 12 Northern Ireland Street Food vendors taking part at the International Oyster Festival in Hillsborough are:

Broughgammon Farm
Linen Hill Kitchen
The Fabulous Food Factory
Pheasants Hill Farm Kitchen
Krazi Baker
Rocket Van
Cuban Sandwich Factory
Café Livanto
Piccolo Mondo
On The Hoof
Wolf and Devour
Andy Rea – Mourne Seafood Bar