From Indian to Italian and Thai to Turkish; the street food scene in the UK is booming, and Cardiff is no exception. In recent years, its popularity has exploded within the city – ensuring that whether you’re grabbing a spot of lunch, emerging from an energetic night out at a club, or visiting one of the annual street food festivals, there are vendors and restaurants popping up all over the capital, to tempt your taste buds.
Shawarmawarma | Turkey kofte with tabbouleh salad and harissa yoghurt
If you reside in, or are planning on visiting Cardiff, the great news is that you will be spoilt for choice. A vast array of different cuisines awaits you, along with a host of exciting street food events this summer. Often recognised as being at the forefront of culinary innovation; the transient nature of street food allows vendors to keep up with the ever-changing consumer demand for new and innovative dishes. So whether you spot one of the selection of sellers below, or choose to seek out many of the permanent street food restaurants located around the city, you truly are in for a treat.
“From the streets of Bangkok to the heart of South Wales” Brother Thai’s tagline alone sums up their presence on the street food circuit. Awarded the ‘Best Vegetarian Dish in the UK’ (British Street Awards 2017) for their roti of spiced jackfruit and shitake mushroom; they have certainly made their mark in Cardiff and beyond. With dishes inspired by ‘childhood memories of bustling Bangkok street food stalls and traditional home-style cooking’; whether you’re a meat-eater, veggie or vegan, you can be sure of an exciting choice of lip-smacking, finger-licking Thai dishes.
To join the 6000 mile journey, hop on the Brother Thai Twitter trail @brotherthaicdf
The Queen Pepiada
Introducing Cardiff to the arepa – the daily bread of Venezuela; The Queen Pepiada sets out to educate on the wonderfully unique taste sensation of authentic Venezuelan food. Inspired by the city life of Caracas and Cardiff, and with contrasting and comforting flavours that leave you craving more – you won’t miss their bright yellow street food truck. For the ultimate experience, try out its namesake, the popular arepa ‘The Queen Pepiada’. Stuffed chock-full of chicken, avocado, mayo and coriander, and named in honour of the first Venezuelan to win the ‘Miss World Beauty Pageant’ in 1955, it is a right royal experience.
Be treated like royalty this summer, and follow @tqpepiada to find out where they’ll be popping up next.
Setting the bar high when it comes to Indian street food, Keralan Karavan has now been a firm favourite on the Cardiff scene for a number of years. Headed up by Pankaj Krishnan, he’s a Chef on a mission to discover the perfect ‘spice’ formula. With a big shout out to his father’s Keralan heritage, this vibrant pop-up is all about promoting good vibes, and celebrating good times with good food. Expect bold flavours from fragrant home-made speciality curries, onion bhajees the size of tennis balls, and a mango and cardamom cheesecake to end all ‘cakes of cheese’. If you miss the Keralan Karavan when it rolls into town…you miss out!
‘Every woman, every man join the Karavan of Love’ on Twitter @keralankaravan
A play-on-words of the 1988 (now I feel old!) dancehall classic by Shabba Ranks; Mr Laverman is a venture from Aled Bryon and Claire Fitzgerald. With a desire to highlight the seaweed wonder that is laverbread, and introduce a distinct Welsh flavour to Cardiff’s lively street-food scene – dishes of Welsh spring rolls, rarebit wontons and laver aloo tikki are just some of the Asian/Welsh fusion delicacies that await you. Popping up regularly around markets, festivals and bars; be sure to keep a look out for their Dragon Balls – they are legendary!
If you’d like to brush up on your 80’s pop trivia – ”Mr Laverman…(Shabba), Mr Laverman…Shabba!” and experience Welsh street food with a twist, click ‘follow’ on Twitter @mr_laverman
So whether you’re craving a pork belly steamed bun from Bao Selecta, fire-roasted aubergines from Murray May’s or a ‘Goaty McGoatFace’ burger from Bwydiful (it’s as impressive as its name suggests!), keep a look out for these and some of the other sellers below, and their mouth-watering dishes…
This year we’ve already seen a few of the foodie highlights on Cardiff’s culinary calendar, including the Cardiff Bay Food and Drink Festival. This popular annual event is the city’s original celebration of home-grown local produce, with an array of irresistible street food thrown in for good measure. And 2018 was no exception, with thousands flocking to Roald Dahl Plass to take a leisurely stroll in the sun around the craft stalls and the ‘Piazza’, to soak up the vibrant atmosphere and indulge in some of the best variety of street food around.
We have also glimpsed the ‘changing face’ of street food in the form of Bite Cardiff. The brainchild of Phill Lewis, chef and co-owner of Dusty Knuckle Pizza and with Simon Thomas (previously of Street Food Circus), Bite was inspired by Phill’s recent trip to the Dit’Unto Food Festival in Italy. Badged as ‘The Art and Craft of Food’, this unique dining experience saw vendors produce a single dish for just £3 each. Reflecting different cuisines, cooking styles, and introducing the individual Chefs and their restaurants to the masses in attendance; this event was the stage for some of the most delicious and innovative street food dishes you can imagine.
Dirt Pop-up | Olive oil cracker, hay smoked carrot cream, toasted kale, beetroot pico and pumpkin seeds.
Feeling hungry now?
Here are a few dates for the diary, where you can satisfy your street food cravings…
- Feastival 2018, Sophia Gardens | 17th August to 9th September (every Friday, Saturday & Sunday)
- St Fagans Food & Drink Festival 2018, St Fagans National Museum of History | 8th and 9th September
- Riverside Market, Fitzhamon Embankment | every Sat/Sun
- Depot, Dumballs Road | various events throughout the year, check out their website for more details
Therefore, why not make the most of the summer sunshine in Cardiff this year. Immerse yourself among other diners; explore the different offerings, while taking in the heady aromas and lively atmosphere with a tasty bite in one hand, and a beverage in the other. There really is nothing better than an afternoon of alfresco dining!
Helen (‘The Octopus Diaries’) is a blogger on a mission to explore the Cardiff food scene and beyond. Championing independents; she is a fan of restaurants that are run with passion and an insatiable desire to offer people a different dining experience, value for money and great food.