Fancy street food with a free side of fun? Track down one of these guys.
The Everybody Love Love Jhal Muri Express
It's sometimes hard to find this stall, as Angus, the man behind it, takes his food all over the country. When he does land around London however, you won't be able to miss him. The stall itself is spectacular and seems to grow more so every time it appears. Angus sells jhal muri, a Bengali street food snack which satisfies on many levels thanks to its contrasting flavours and textures. It tastes amazing but is also nutritious, vegan, wheat free and basically good for everyone. Angus chops ginger, squeezes limes and tears herbs into a paper cone and what emerges is more than the sum of its parts. He's got some pretty amazing chat, too. We love you, Angus.
Follow Angus on Twitter to find out when he's next in London.
These egg shaped waffles are a common street food in Taiwan, and we love this decadent approach to them. The batter is poured into a rotating mould over a heater, which cooks the batter inside into the distinctive oval shape. While in Taiwan these waffles would usually be served plain, the Dhan Waffle stall serves them covered in thick salted caramel sauce, homemade custard, peanut butter or Nutella. They come in batches of six, which the girls serve in a handy egg box.
There's something about ice cream sandwiches that really taps into the inner child, conjuring memories of wafers holding chiselled blocks of vanilla. The most fun thing about Blu Top is that you can build your own ice cream sandwich according to your mood: pick a cookie flavour, then the ice cream, followed by the toppings. The flavours are not your regular chocolate or strawberry either; our favourite is the 'brown toast and jam,' which is brown sugar ice cream with ribbons of raspberry jam and crispy cinnamon rye bread crumbs. Yum.
Decatur specialises in Cajun and Creole food — something we don't have a huge amount of in London. We love their classic po' boy sandwiches, but the real fun starts when they get the blow torch out for their oysters. They shuck them, top with flavoured butter, then get them bubbling on the grill before giving them a final roasting with the blow torch. All the juices of the oyster mix with herbs and garlic and they're just about the most delicious seafood you can buy from a London street food stall. Dip into those shells with bread provided.
We love the Fatties stall for the way Chloe goes all out with the salted caramel. Her brownies are oozing with puddles of the stuff, and everything she does is made with serious care and attention (but a cheeky wink on the side). One of her most fun products during winter time is proper hot chocolate (thick, engine oiling stuff) topped with a swirling cloud of meringue. Take that, February.
The Bowler ("balls out since 2011") does meatballs really well. It may not seem so now, but back when Jez started out, meatballs were a pretty radical idea for a street food stall. What we think is so fun about Jez's balls is that he shook up the format, particularly around the time when street food basically meant 'some kind of fried meat in a bun'. We particularly love his meatballs 'shots' — individual balls and sauce in a cup, which give you the chance to try different flavours without ordering a whole portion. Keep your eyes peeled for his van, The Lawn Ranger.
Check The Bowler's website to track them down.
Dumpling Shack has brought more queues to the streets of London with their plump, pleated cushions of dough and playful, inventive fillings. Their pan fried pork and crab soup dumplings are pretty special, with their golden crispy bottoms and hot soup. We love their 'take on a scotch egg' — a brunch dumpling with sage and onion sausagemeat and a runny quail's egg in the middle.