For most people, northern streets are not readily associated with ‘great food’. Street food for them is likely to conjure up images of a burger van, a hot dog stand or that guy selling chestnuts? Ah, how wrong they’d be. Exciting things are happening in the north, as Cathy McConaghy from Northern Streats demonstrates.
Cathy runs Lulabelle, a 1959 VW splitscreen campervan, charmingly converted to a cake and tea stall. Originally her plan was to use Lulabelle to cater to the lunchtime crowd in Harrogate and, while this went well, Cathy wanted to expand into something more varied. So she now spends summers taking Lulabelle to festivals and rallies though, if you can catch her with a spare day, Lulabelle also caters for children’s parties and offers a sort of mobile cupcake school. All the cakes are homemade, to traditional recipes – chocolate Guinness being a particular crowd pleaser.
Northern Streats is a collaboration between Cathy and Andrew Critchett of Fish&. Residents of Leeds are increasingly flocking to Andrew’s charming beach hut on Commercial Street, and with good reason. Offering a fresh twist on fish and chips, Andrew’s van serves up some serious foodie treats, like salmon and sweet potato fishcake, mackerel bap, calamari and the more traditional fish in batter – though a batter spiked with lime and chilli. All fish is sustainably sourced and reasonably priced, making it a Leeds lunchtime favourite.
As if this wasn’t enough deliciousness, and work, the pair decided that independent food traders in the North needed an organisation that could support them, a version of London’s Eat St for the north. Working collectively not only allows the traders to support each other, it also gives them strength to market themselves as a group. Cathy is quick to point out that while some events organisers are catching on to the public’s desire for better food, others can take a bit more convincing. This is where the organisation comes in. They can offer a service which pulls together an excitingly varied group of food traders, covering all bases and suited to a wide range of events
Personally, I’m already sold. I’ve long lamented the disparity between the amazing food on the hoof available pretty much everywhere I’ve travelled and the depressing offerings at home. A quick look at the list of traders in the group is enough to show the street food revolution is spreading. From the Greedy Bassets Kitchen offering treats such as hot chicken liver, black pudding and wild mushroom ciabatta to decadent icecream flavours from Every Day is like Sundae.
And for burger buffs, Yorkshire Chorizo has got you covered with their chorizo burgers. They’re also diversifying into music events like Stir it up, a regular night that mixes Jamaican music with Indian Street food in the gorgeous setting of Temple Works, Leeds.
For a rare chance to catch most of the above vendors in the same place pop along to West Park Stray in Harrogate over the Jubilee weekend.