Category: Street Food

Langos: Hungarian Street Food

January 8th, 2013 — 9:26pm

So I’m having dinner with my Hungarian friend Gergely and he’s waving his arms excitedly in the air, getting all nostalgic for langos. During the conversation I get the impression very quickly that Hungarian food is all about insulating; it’s cold there in the winter, innit. Although apparently they eat it on the beach too so er, yeah. Basically a lot of the food seems to be rib sticking, fatty, carb loaded and in this case, deep fried. I am instantly all over it like a particularly vicious rash. It’s always good to talk about unpleasant physical complaints when describing one’s enthusiasm for food, don’t you think?

So on Sunday Gergely came to my house and taught me how to make langos and it was brilliant. He freaked me out by managing to get the dough to rise super fast in my rather cold kitchen, then we made sort of cow pat (sorry) sized discs of dough and plunged them into hot oil. A couple of minutes each side and they emerged golden and sizzling; is there anything more appealing than freshly fried dough? No, no there is not.

We’re not done yet though, because here comes the most important thing about langos – garlic water. The garlic water makes the langos special. It’s officially my new favourite thing and I have a lot of favourite things on the go right now. Basically you just get an absolute shit load of garlic and whack it in a jar with, you’ve guessed it, some water. Oh and a little bit of oil. You mix it together and the garlic kind of mellows but at the same time stays er, really strong. Yeah, that makes sense. Anyway so you brush the freshly fried langos with the garlic water and the intensity of perfume created by the heat meeting the garlic is incredible.

Then it’s time to smear that dough with sour cream. I am assured that Hungarian sour cream is far superior and now of course I long for it. I had to make do with some regular stuff from Tesco Metro. Still, sour cream it was. To finish the langos, grated cheese. Yep. Oh and it absolutely has to be the shittiest cheapest most poorly produced ready grated cheese you can find, apparently. Gergely was very adamant about this. We bought some kind of basic stuff from Tesco and he instantly pronounced it ‘too good’.

Unsurprisingly I instantly fell in love with langos. It’s deep fried dough covered in garlic, sour cream and cheese FFS. We washed it down with Unicum which is like Hungarian Fernet Branca. I’d planned dinner afterwards. It didn’t happen. Gergely and his girlfriend rather impressively went straight on to dinner at Koffman’s. Respect.

Langos is the kind of food we should all be eating in January. Sod the diet, it’s cold and the Hungarians really know how to do food that keeps you warm.

You will however stink of garlic for 2 days.

Langos (makes loads)

1kg flour
2 sachets instant yeast
1 pint luke warm water
2 tablespoons sugar

Mix the sugar, yeast and water in a jug. Wait 5 minutes or so until the top is frothy, then mix with the flour to make a semi soft dough. Gergely did this with his hands. The dough should be really sloppy.

When the dough has doubled in size, oil a piece of foil, then add a drizzle of oil around the edges, which makes the dough come out of the bowl really easily (it is very sticky and won’t come out otherwise). Turn it out onto the foil, cut pieces and make little rounds, which are thinner in the middle.

Deep fry the fuckers.

For the garlic water and to assemble:

Mix about 10 cloves of garlic with a jam jar of water and a splash of oil. Leave for a couple of hours to infuse.

Thin the sour cream by whipping it with a bit of water.

To assemble, douse the langos with the garlic water, spread on sour cream and top with shitty grated cheese.

We did some crazy pimping with a bit of smoked salt and some fennel seeds, admittedly after we’d started on the Unicum.

52 comments » | Bread, Guilty Pleasures, Street Food

Eating in Amsterdam

March 1st, 2012 — 8:46pm

A friend and I spent last weekend in Amsterdam. Quite a lot of things went wrong. We arrived to find a rather inappropriate transparent shower cubicle in our shared room, I got sick, we crashed our hired bicycles in the middle of a major junction causing chaos and we missed both our trains home. Through sheer grit and determination however, we did manage to fit in some good grub.

After 5 hours of train and tram travel, we were starving and headed straight to Albina in Albert Cuypstraat for some Surinamese food, a cuisine I’d never even heard of until we started looking into places to eat in the dam. The South American Republic of Suriname was a former colony of The Netherlands and so there are a lot of Dutch Surinamese living (and cooking) in Amsterdam. Completely coincidentally, a reader e-mailed me about Surinamese food almost as soon as we arrived back in London (weird), so I know that our first dish of fried potatoes topped with a kind of fish floss is usually made with cassava. Maybe it even was cassava. She also told me that the floss on top is called teloh, made with cod. Like kids in a sweetshop we excitedly doused it with the various condiments on the table, our favourite being a kind of sweetened soy concoction.

Moksi meti (above) was a dish of roasted chicken, pork, sausage and green beans in a sweet sauce; it was lovely but no match for the flakiest of rotis which came atop a mild chicken curry (below). Underneath the roti nestled boiled potatoes, which had spent their time soaking up all the precious sauce and were to be squished, savoured, treasured and fought over. Despite being full to bursting we managed to pack away most of this. The boiled egg however, was a bridge too far.

The next day we managed to pack in a bit of sandwich action despite my sickness, in the form of herring rolls from a stall called Frens Heringshandel. Two glistening fillets of rich herring were beautifully soft, contrasted by crunchy nuggets of diced onion and sweet/sharp pickles. I would have liked twice as many pickles but then, I always do. An excellent sammich. I warn you though, it makes you stink of fish and onions. This wasn’t a problem for me and my mate; we’d been sharing a bed and a room with a see through shower compartment and a toilet in the middle. Fishy onion breath was nothing.

On the subject of street eats, I’d definitely recommend also grabbing a cone of chips at the awesomely named Vleminckx Sausmeesters on Voetboogstraat. The chips seemed triple fried to me as the exterior was thick and crunchy. Topped with a sweetened mayo and diced onion they were excellent. The service was very fast, which is just as well as the queue was constant; a steady stream of tourists and locals, with more than the odd incredibly stoned person after a cure for the munchies.

On the other end of the street food scale, there’s the Febo automats. That’s deep fried stuff, plus burgers and sausages, from a vending machine. I kid you not. The poor burgers looked incredibly sad and the shrivelled sausages were a sorry sight but we chose a deep fried sausage shaped thing which was labelled ‘vegetarian’. It turned out to be filled with a very salty cheesy mushroomy gloop which was actually rather addictive, and I wasn’t even drunk. Worth a try if you’re game for a laugh.

So there’s a few pointers for you, in case you find yourself in the dam with an appetite. Ahem. We also visited a fancier restaurant which my friend assures me was lovely; I wouldn’t know because it was then I got sick and so ended up sitting there watching her eat it alone. Woe! Still, I pushed on through in the name of research, even grabbing a second herring sandwich for the train home. The one we were a spectacular two hours late for.

Eurostar return to Amsterdam from £99. It takes 5 hours but for someone like me who has a fear of flying, it’s an appealing option. 

Albert Cuypstraat 69, 1072 CN Amsterdam

Frens Heringshandel
Singel Hoek Koningsplein, 1017 AW Amsterdam

Vleminckx Sausmeesters
Voetboogstraat 31, Amsterdam

39 comments » | Restaurant Reviews, Street Food, Travel

Viet Van, East Dulwich

October 30th, 2011 — 1:35pm

I must start by apologising to all local parents with young children because you will probably take offence to what I am about to say, which goes something along the lines of: get the hell out of East Dulwich or at least spread yourselves out a bit so I don’t have to fight my way into every shop and cafe and shout to hear myself speak over the noise of your precious little darlings (why do people let their kids scream and run around in shops and restaurants like its a crèche?) Let’s not forget those ankle biting, space invader buggies. How many times have they savagely scraped my Achilles tendon? How many times has no-one even apologised? Can you not just wait or deploy a spot of good old common courtesy rather than using your buggy as a battering ram? You can tell this makes me angry and I’m sorry but this is my blog and I can rant if I want to.

Anyway, there’s a point to this which is that North Cross Road in East Dulwich is home to a super little market which makes the trauma of venturing into the wilds of middle class smugsville totally worth it. There are no cupcakes and certainly no painted plates. There are only brilliant things, like The Dogfather and Viet Van.


The owner of the teeny canary yellow van is David Parkin, a man I warmed to immediately when he told me he lives in Peckham. His Viet Van t-shirt carries the message: “Viet Van – New York, Paris, Peckham.” I asked him why he doesn’t actually sell his banh mi in our ‘hood and his response was, “where would I do it?” He has a very good point. I think he’d do okay at the farmer’s market on a Sunday perhaps, but the footfall is nothing like that of East Dulwich, and I’m not even including the children.

I am rather fascinated by food carts and the way that everything is crammed in to make the most efficient use of space. I’ve worked in Petra Barran’s Chocstar van a couple of times which taught me a thing or two about not wasting a storage opportunity. The top of the Viet Van opens up to reveal various tubs of ingredients and a warmer/cooker thingy for the baguettes. A slow cooker full of pork sits on the back and a small BBQ at the side.

Obviously I chose the pork banh mi but there are caramelised chicken and mushroom and tofu options plus the choice of having a salad (‘Asian style slaw’ was one), with the banh mi filling on top. “For the carb-phobic East Dulwich ladies?” I sniped cynically. “Well, more for the gluten intolerant” he replied. Ah.

He begins the build with a baguette (not rice flour – apparently the only supplier he’s found is in Stoke Newington and they’re so overwhelmed with demand they can’t keep up) on to which he squeezes a line of lightly garlickly mayo, followed by a scarlet smear of Sriracha. The pickled radish and carrot tendrils come next, followed by coriander. The cucumbers are sliced thin and even, so they layer perfectly into the sandwich. Next, a foundation of crumbly pate followed by the main event: the pork. It’s stunning. Marinated in a salt, sugar and spice paste and heavily gingered, cooked all the way down to tender shreds. I could have stuck my face in that pot. The banh mi is devoured in minutes.


The amount of pork filling is incredibly generous, especially at £4 a pop. My only criticism is that I would like more chilli heat and coriander, but that’s easily rectified by asking for extra. At 1pm there was a queue down the road but by 2 I only waited 5 minutes – a little tip for you there. He’s popular for very good reason though and as a result, is looking for a permanent helper. Applicants, get yourself down to North Cross Road on a Saturday. Must like banh mi, street food banter and other people’s children.

Viet Van
Saturday’s at North Cross Road
East Dulwich

41 comments » | Peckham, Sandwiches, Street Food

Eat. St at King’s Cross

October 23rd, 2011 — 3:40pm

Photo: John Sturrock

You know by now that I’m a big fan of the Eat. St Collective. As I’ve iterated many, many times: I consider some of London’s street food to be more delicious than the food served in most swanky restaurants. Here’s the low-down on the latest street food adventure from Eat.St founder Petra Barran: has been chosen to bring some street-level flavour and sidewalk swag to London’s brand new street in King’s Cross – King’s Boulevard, N1C – a tree-lined pedestrianised street running from King’s Cross Station and St Pancras International, up to Goods Way, the Regent’s Canal and Central Saint Martins’ new home at King’s Cross.

This will be a first for many things:
1st dedicated street food zone in London
1st permanent base for the growing collective
1st major developer in the city to embrace the new-wave street food movement.”

Traders to look out for include:

Luardos - burritos and tacos. Of Whitecross Market fame
Buen Provecho – traditional Mexican street food. Best Mexican in London according to Marina O’Loughlin
Choc Star – ice cream, milkshakes, sundaes, hot chocolates. Britain’s only dedicated choc-mobile and originator of the scene.
Jamon Jamon – Spanish paella. Portobello stalwarts doing live cooking demos.
Homeslice Pizza – wood-fired pizza from mobile clay oven. New kids and contenders for best pizza in London.
Tongue ‘n Cheek – Italian street food using under-rated cuts of meat. Italian maverick Cristiano
Anna Mae’s – pulled pork, mac ‘n chees, Texas chili
Kimchi Cult – Korean sliders
Street Food Kolkata – jhal muri and other chaats
Healthy Yummies - pan-seared scallops
Bean & Gone – Monmouth coffee from a coffee pro
Banh Mi 11 – pho, banh mi and other Vietnamese food
Hardcore Prawn – Asian fusion skewers and soups
The Rib Man – baby-back ribs served with the famous Holy F*** sauce
Big Apple Hot Dogs – gourmet hot dogs. Blazing the trail for the new school hot dog vendor
Yum Bun – steamed handmade buns with free-range pork
Bhangra Burger – Indian spiced burgers and pakoras
Creperie Nicholas – Breton galletes

WHEN: Every Thursday and Friday from 10am to 4pm a rotating group of London’s best curbside cooks will form a ‘micro market’ at the top of King’s Boulevard, bringing a changing selection of food including burritos, paella, seared scallops, wood-fired pizza, spiced burgers, mac n cheese, ribs, Banh Mi, milkshakes, sundaes, coffee
and a whole load of other deliciousness.”

The Metro’s Marina O’Loughlin:

“These aren’t your average mobile food merchants – the collective is delivering some of the most exhilarating cooking in the Capital right now. And to have them assembled in a brand new London street at the heart of newly vibrant Kings Cross? Everything from BBQ to banh mi? It’s fair to say I couldn’t be more excited.”


4 comments » | Street Food

Smoky Aubergine and Lamb Pide

October 10th, 2011 — 8:09am

I’ve got a new oven. This is brilliant for 2 reasons. Firstly, it’s all clean and shiny; I mean, how often does your oven look clean and shiny on the inside? Not very often I think you’ll find. Not if you’re a slovenly layabout like me anyway. Second, my old oven was, quite frankly, a piece of shit. It had no numbers on the temperature dial and no symbols for the oven settings and it cooked unevenly so that everything had to be turned around halfway through or it would burn on one side – not exactly ideal.

So, I cooked pide in my swanky new oven; I made nice, evenly cooked pide and I knew exactly what temperature I was cooking them at by means of the lovely little digital display (imagine my panic when I saw the temp dial had no numbers around the outside). That’s 15 minutes at 220C, in case you’re wondering.

Pide are rather similar to lamacun* and are apparently sold on every street corner in their homeland. I topped mine with aubergine (which I blackened on the gas hob before scooping out the smoky flesh); lamb, minced; spices like coriander, cumin and cinnamon; onion, garlic and a little tomato. At one point I was feeling particularly rock and roll and recklessly squeezed in some incredible  Le Phare du Cap Bon harissa (from The Good Fork - they have some great stuff, like sardine spread, which is impossible to stop eating). Very spicy indeed. You could also use the fiery red pepper paste found in Middle Eastern shops or failing that just a decent amount of chopped red chilli.

I garnished the finished pide with diced Persian pickles (dill pickles would make a nice substitute), a sprinkle of lemon juice and some parsley. These things are essential for distracting from the richness of the lamb. The dough is a piece of piddle too. Well, it is if you have an electric mixer, anyway. It was thin, yet soft – extremely easy to demolish.

The end result is a bit like a banana shaped pizza. A delicious, meat-smeared boat of soft, spicy flatbread. Very evenly cooked.

*If you like the look of this, you’ll probably also like the look of my similar, Peckham Pizza.

Smoky Aubergine and Lamb Pide (makes 4)

For the topping:

1 large-ish aubergine
250g minced lamb
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
Pinch ground cinnamon
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tomatoes
A squeeze of tomato puree
2 red chillies (or a squeeze of very good quality, hot harissa)

To garnish:

Chopped pickled cucumbers, chopped parsley and lemon juice

Place the aubergine on the ring of a gas hob on a low heat (or under the grill), turning often, until completely blackened and collapsed. I think the hob gets a more smoky flavour but it sure as hell makes a mess. Once cool enough, scrape out the flesh, taking care to avoid any pieces of black skin. Finely chop the flesh. Set aside and discard the skins.

Skin the tomatoes by scoring a cross in the bottom and covering with boiling water for a couple of minutes. Drain, peel away the skin and chop finely. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan over a low heat, moving them around; when they start to smell fragrant, tip them into a pestle and mortar or spice grinder and grind to a powder.

Sauté the onions in a little oil and when soft, add the chilli and garlic and continue cooking for 30 seconds or so, stirring. Add the spices and stir again for another 30 seconds. Add the lamb and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until it is all brown and cooked through. Add the tomatoes and aubergine flesh and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until any excess liquid has cooked out. Taste and season with salt and pepper. The topping is now ready so allow it to cool.

For the dough:

For the dough I used a recipe I found online which I now can’t locate for the life of me. If it’s your recipe, I’m sorry! I’ll reproduce it here anyway.

1 x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
150ml warm water
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
2.5 tablespoons olive oil + more for brushing

Mix the yeast and sugar with the warm water. You want warm water, not hot, as it will kill the yeast. Leave it to one side to activate. When it’s ready (in about 5 minutes), it should be very frothy on top. If not, your water wasn’t warm enough or it was too hot – start again.

Sift the flour and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer or large mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture and oil. If using a mixer, set it on low speed for 10 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic dough. If mixing my hand, you’re going to have to knead it until you have the same result.

Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Let it rise for about half an hour, or until doubled in size. Knock back the dough then cut into 4 pieces. Roll each piece out into a rectangle with tapered ends (much easier than it sounds – they don’t need to be neat at all).

Preheat the oven to 220C

Put each rectangle onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and then smear the topping over each, spreading it evenly. Fold up the sides of each pide and crimp at the ends. Brush the edges with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes. Brush the crust with olive oil once more when cooked. Sprinkle with the garnish and serve.

25 comments » | Beer, Bread, Main Dishes, Meat, Pickles, Pizza, Sandwiches, Snacks, Street Food

The Rib Man

September 24th, 2011 — 8:24am

I’d been meaning to visit Mark Gevaux, a.k.a The Rib Man for ages since a friend told me about him and then yesterday I happened upon him by chance on the South Bank. What a beautiful little bit of luck that was. He sells slow-cooked baby-back rib sandwiches, and we’ve had much discussion on Twitter about his reputedly spectacular ‘HOLY FUCK HOT SAUCE’. “You’re really speeding up”, my friend said as we approached the stall. Damn right – I’m getting me some tender rib meat in a bun. We’d eaten a bratwurst about 10 minutes earlier but I choose my friends wisely and she was more than up for round two.

Mark has been trading on Brick Lane for about 3 years now, since an accident cut his career as a butcher short. He was apparently a “speed boner” (don’t laugh) but circumstance forced him to think about his options and his ribs had always gone down well with colleagues. He started out just selling racks, but people were finding it a bit tricky to eat a rack of ribs on the go and kept asking for bread; eventually he decided to shred the meat off the bone and put it into a sandwich.

The spiced, melty (so melty) meat has the texture of classic pulled pork and he stuffs that bun to bursting with it (“some people say my rolls are too big…I’m not one of them”). You can choose from either BBQ sauce, regular hot sauce or HOLY FUCK HOT SAUCE. I tried the latter, obviously and oh my goodness me if it wasn’t the best damn hot sauce I’ve ever tasted. He uses my favourite Scotch Bonnets but also a small amount of Naga; one of the hottest chillies in the world. The sauce was, of course, hot but genuinely not too hot; just the right amount of tingle, hum and numb and the flavour, oh my goodness…incredible. One of the fruitiest chilli flavours I’ve ever tasted and something you don’t often get without knife-like heat. He could bottle that stuff and make a million.

I feel like the hot sauce is over-shadowing the ribs but they are at one with each other, trust me. The meat is just so juicy, with wibbly strands of fat preserved. For me, this is a rib meat sandwich stall rather than a rack of ribs stall as the name might suggest but what’s not to like? It’s a fantastic sandwich and as I’m sure I’ve mentioned about a hundred times, I’m very, very fond of a good sandwich.

The Rib Man is on the South Bank (next to the South Bank Centre until the 25th  and otherwise at Brick Lane on Sundays. See His Website for details. 

The Rib Man on Eat. St


22 comments » | Street Food

The Collective at The Thames Festival

September 10th, 2011 — 9:54am

Not sure what to do this weekend, Londoners? Get yourselves down to The Mayor’s Thames Festival, because the food is going to be special. The Collective will be there, hawking their wares all along the banks. In fact, I’d suggest skipping breakfast because there’s a ridiculous amount of amazing street food to be had, all in one stretch. So, the details from founder Petra Barran:

“The collective will be occupying two areas – one by Tate Modern and a smaller ‘splinter group’ by the Lord Mayor’s Office (More London). has been recognised by the Festival organisers for its wide array of amazing food, as well as its dedication to the collective spirit of street food trading in the city. We aim to help transform the outside dining experience of London by promoting more interesting and personality-driven food on its streets.

Traders representing for will be:

Tate Modern
Luardos – Mexican burritos
Jamon Jamon – Spanish paella
Anna Mae’s – Deep South pulled pork and pimped up mac ‘n cheese
Churros Bros – churros
Buen Provecho – Mexican street food
Big Apple Hot Dogs – gourmet hot dogs
Bean and Gone Coffee – Monmouth coffee
Hardcore Prawn – new kid on the block doing amazing crab bisque, tom yum, char-grilled skewers

More London
Bhangra Burger – Indian spiced burgers with homemade pickles
Creperie Nicholas – Breton gallettes
Tongue ‘n Cheek – Italian street food using ‘under-rated’ cuts of meat (with salsa verde/mostarda in Wild Caper sourdough rolls)
YumBun – soft, pillowy steamed Chinese buns with Blythburgh pork”

The festival takes place on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September, 11am-11pm. Map of locations HERE.

Eat. st on Twitter and Facebook

5 comments » | Food Events, Street Food

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