It’s no secret that I love street food, so I was thrilled to hear that the first Scottish Street Food Festival had been organised for the weekend after my exams finished. We decided to head along on Sunday and, despite the rain, it was packed with folk enjoying the food on offer.
Chick and Pea
After wandering down the length of stalls and vans, we decided to start at Chick and Pea – partly because we fancied their menu, partly because we’d never eaten from them before, and partly because they had one of the shorter queues. We opted for their Falafel Flatbread, a chargrilled flatbread filled with gorgeous, vibrant colours and complimenting flavours. Some of the flatbread was a little too chargrilled (i.e. burnt) but the soft falafel, hummus, garlic yoghurt and creamy tahini sauce inside all melded together to form a very tasty mouthful. The harissa aubergine was lost, with no discernible spiciness, but the pickled red cabbage was crunchy and tart, making the perfect accompaniment to the soft falafel.
Having decided to try and buy food from vendors we hadn’t visited before, our next port of call was Martha’s. Yes, this is the same Martha’s who sell healthy fast food from their store in St. Vincent Street in the city centre. I was surprised to see them at an event like this, and wasn’t sure how good the food would be. I’ve never ventured into Martha’s before, thinking it was all super-green, ultra-clean eating type fare that wouldn’t be my cup of tea. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Dad suggested their Red Dragon Pork – slow roast pork cooked in a secret marinade with sesame, chilli, ginger and spring onions, served on rice. Sorry, not just rice, but “slow burn brown basmati rice”. Whether the rice was slow burn or not, this was actually a fantastic little dish. The tub came with a generous portion of succulent shredded pork, and whatever is in their secret marinade is certainly tasty. There was a hint of chilli, but not so much as to be overpowering, with a fresh ginger kick in every mouthful. Not only this, but we all agreed later that this was the best dish of the day – high praise for Martha’s indeed!
Julie’s Street Kitchen
Despite visiting Taste Buchanan more times than I can count, I never ordered from Julie’s Street Kitchen when she was in residence there. With three dishes on offer, we chose to have the Slow Roasted Chicken Satay and the Corn Fritters.
The satay certainly had a good peanut flavour and the chicken was tender, whilst the sweet and tangy tamarind dip that accompanied the fritters was nice. However, both dishes lacked oomph and we were a little underwhelmed by them. As much as I wanted to like these dishes, I probably wouldn’t go rushing back if I had the vast choices of Sunday’s market again.
To say I hadn’t ordered from Nomad before would be a slight lie – Olivia and I once had a portion of their truffle fries when they were in Taste Buchanan. I hadn’t, however, tried their pizzas and, since that is what they’re known for, we thought we’d try one. We opted for a good old pepperoni pizza, something which is very difficult to do wrong. The pizza base was uber-thin but still had a nice chew, and the cheesy, slightly smoky topping was well cooked. Not at all bad for pizzas cooked in a portable wood-fired oven.
Despite a couple of disappointing dishes, nothing we ate was bad. In fact, the worst moment of our visit was seeing the sold out sign on the Crema Caravan menu – I had been looking forward to that crème brûlée all morning! However, this is a sign of just how busy the festival was across the weekend, and that can only be a good thing. If these types of events are busy and well-received then they are far more likely to become regular occurrences, and everybody knows that that’s fine by me!