Who makes Ireland’s best street food?

Top notch taco, banging burger or brilliant bao ... vote now for your favourite food eaten on the hoof

Are Box Burger beef burgers the ones to represent Ireland at the European Street Food Awards? You can  vote now for your choice of vendor to head to the competition in Berlin

Are Box Burger beef burgers the ones to represent Ireland at the European Street Food Awards? You can vote now for your choice of vendor to head to the competition in Berlin

 

Voting opens today in the first Irish Street Food Awards which take place next month, with the aim of selecting an Irish representative for the European Street Food Awards in Berlin in September. It’s a public vote to begin with, and you can nominate any provider of food that is served not just on the street, but in parks, markets and any open air venue.

Nominations can be made at irishstreetfoodawards.com until July 7th, after which 10 finalists will be selected to take part in a cook-off in front of the public at the Beatyard festival in Dún Laoghaire in August.

“Ireland is in the grip of a street food revolution and we want to celebrate this exciting change to our culinary landscape ... streets, parks, yards all over are becoming laboratories for new food ideas,” says food writer Ali Dunworth, who is running the awards with the team behind Eatyard, the Thursday to Sunday outdoor eating pop-up at the Bernard Shaw pub in South Richmond Street, Dublin 2.

Do Pow Bao have what it takes to put up a strong show for Ireland at the European Street Food Awards?
Do Pow Bao have what it takes to put up a strong show for Ireland at the European Street Food Awards?

The European Street Food Awards were conceived by the organisers of the British Street Food Awards, which have been running since 2010. “Street food is taking over,” says Richard Johnson, food writer and founder of the BSFAs, who will be a guest judge at the Irish final.

“That’s because we are choosing to eat in different ways. We don’t want a fixed starter-main course-dessert menu any more – we want a bit of this and a bit of that. It’s flirty, low-commitment dining, and it’s why pop-ups and street food have become so popular. It’s a much nicer way to eat.”

”The next step is to form a European team to take on the Americans,” Johnson says. “Take a container ship to New York, full of our very best traders, and compete on the streets of Manhattan. Then it’s the Far East. This way of eating is all about coming together and sharing food.”

Voting at the Berlin final will be done on the new European Street Food app, launching in May, which will have live GPS maps showing who is trading where and when.

The Irish competition could pit traditional beef burgers from Box Burger against more exotic snacks such as soybean burgers from Mark Senn’s Veginity food stall, Taiwanese bao buns from Pow Bao and Kerala Kitchen’s authentic South Indian street food. Food to be eaten on the hoof knows no national boundaries.

So what will the judges be looking for from the Irish vendors? “We will use the traditional food competition judging method of EAT – execution, appearance and taste. With street food judging, taste will be about 80 per cent of that score as execution and appearance can be tough when cooking from a truck and using disposables,” says Dunworth.

“It really comes down to wowing on taste. And you generally have smaller portions, so you can hold onto them, so you only get a few bites to wow.”

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