Saturday, 12 August 2017

Street Eats – Halal Gems 2017

Being a lover of all things food related, I was so excited when I discovered Street Eats 2017 organised by Halal Gems #StreetEatsFest whilst browsing social media hard at work. Street food is all the scene in London at the moment, and although it isn't too difficult to find halal street food, there's nothing better than having all these vendors under one roof at Spitalfields Market.

After pestering the little brothers to join me from Luton, we embarked on an afternoon of feasting, munching, slurping and plenty of...... queuing. Sadly, there wasn't a shortage of that!

Before committing to any of the 30min+ queues, we deemed it wise to scour the stalls to see what type of delicious treats were on offer. From Khao Suey and adorable mini-Dutch pancakes to 12-hour smoked brisket and Indian fish and chips, there was something for everyone! 

The best approach to tackling the theme-park-style queues was to divide and conquer, so youngest brother and I stood in line for these divine coriander chicken naan/paratha wraps dressed in mango and mint chutney whilst eldest but still younger brother stood in line for the brisket, which the boys couldn't get their eyes off, followed by a succession of excited ooohs and awwws.

The queue for the wraps was probably the fastest, which was brilliant as they didn't fail to impress! It was by far the best savoury food we ate and had a tantalising mix of sweet, aromatic and sour. We became so occupied with munching these wraps while waiting with big little bro for the brisket, that someone actually took advantage of our food bliss and jumped in front of us in the queue!

Ok, ok so it's not a looker, but it tasted amazing
When we finally came to the brisket, I mean the meat was super tender, but the whole bun was stone cold. I mean come on, if you've waited 45 minutes for a burger, you at least expect the bun to be warm!

Our food fest ended with one of the longest queues of the afternoon to sample the Indian fish and chips and min-Dutch pancakes. By this time, if there wasn't already enough chaos, the queues were now merging into one another with people having no idea what they were standing in line for and you had to physically fight your way to get from one end of the event to the to the other.

When we finally made it to the fish, what I anticipated to be light and crispy battered fish actually turned out to be a little on the soggy side with some random cauliflower raita on the side. Yes, you heard right....cauliflower Raita!!!! Ok, so just because cauliflower rice, courgette spaghettii and beetroot cake work, but that doesn't mean plonking this Brassica in a yoghurt dip will work too. Sorry guys, it was a miss for me.

On the plus side, while waiting in line for the fish, we tasted these gorgeous tiny bites of goodness in the form of these min-dutch pancakes. It wasn't the most revolutionary food item at Street Eats, but anything drenched in Nutella and doused in strawberries has got to be good!

The advertisement of the event as a "street food festival" was a little misleading, and apart from the crowds and congestion which was down to the capacity, it didn't really resemble a food festival. The demand was certainly there. I heard that people had travelled across the country, even as far as Birmingham, to attend the event. It's a shame that it was just so small! Had the organisers booked out all of Spitalfields Market and invited more food vendors, we would have had a real food festival on our hands!

Overall, I did have a really fun afternoon with the little brothers. Yes, the crowds and queues were a pain, but it gave us the chance to digest our food, look forward to our next meal and have a good catch-up – makes me realise how much I miss their company, now that I don't live with them!

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