If you want to remember how excited everyone was about food trucks before they began complaining about them, then you might consider booking a ticket to England, where the whole street-food thing is “very ‘now.'”
In an article that reads like a thumbnail history (or satire) of New York’s ongoing street-food craze, The Guardian declares, “There’s a revolution happening in British food, and it’s happening on the street.” Thanks to the combined forces of the the recession, farmers’ markets, and a preference for “relaxed” dining experiences, the article explains somewhat breathlessly, “Right now some of the most exciting food is being served out of trailers, carts and vintage vans.”
The movement in England shares certain hallmarks with its stateside counterpart: There are vintage Airstream trailers, Mexican food trucks run by white people, lobster rolls, pop-up appearances in “artfully knackered” venues, and “US-style burgers.” The latter are served out of a “rejiggered American ambulance” that answers to the name of “Meatwagon.” Yes, it has a Twitter feed.
One thing they have in Britain that we don’t have here is an official “industry bible.” It’s called Profitable Mobile Catering, which, if slightly unimaginative, is refreshingly straightforward. They’ve also got British Street Food, a website created by a food writer named Richard Johnson.
“The new generation of mobilers have got none of the grit, or the grease, which used to authenticate the whole British street food experience,” Johnson writes. “And their ingredients have changed too. Where you used to find limp white iceberg, you now find organic lamb’s ear. And where once you squeezed on an (unidentified) red sauce, you now find a rich, home-made tomato ketchup. That’s actually got tomatoes in it. The times are changing.” No kidding.
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