Nowadays, street food is probably less of a trend and more of a main stay in the hospitality sector. Many have embraced the quick to prepare, flavour-filled dishes that are versatile for use in cost sector catering and events to fine dining occasions. With such a variety of global influences, it can be a little overwhelming for those navigating their way through the treasure-trove of recipes in search of the right fit for their menu. To help, we got in touch with a few operators, suppliers and chefs to share their experiences and advice on how to get started and what to focus on.

Jimmy Garcia Owner, The BBQ Club

The secret to a successful street food menu for us throughout all of our pop-up restaurants, is making chef-quality
food more accessible. We do this by putting our own interesting twist on all the classics. From burgers with chimichurri and manchego to harissa spiced monkfish burgers with spicy slaw – we’re always wanting to mix things up and surprise people in the best way possible!

Adrian Greaves
Foodservice Director, Young’s Foodservice

The flavours of Japan remain on-trend and are being incorporated on all menus, including schools. Zingy and colourful noodle ramens or stir fries with lots of tasty ingredients are easy to create and are always satisfying! They also complement different proteins like Young’s Pink Salmon & Alaska Pollock Pieces which can be added straight from frozen for the ultimate convenience. The Alaska Pollock & Pink Salmon Pieces are a fantastic source of Omega 3 and provide a quality protein source that can be used in multiple ways to create different street food inspired recipes bursting with plenty of nutritional value and flavour.

Owner, Sfera Sicilian Street Food, Chicago

We wanted to focus our menu on an item that was unique to one area. My partner Daniela grew up summering in Sicily and I was inspired by my time working in kitchens in Europe. We chose arancini because they’re easy to eat, insanely flavourful and a good vessel for local ingredients. In addition to our kitchen, we also sell at farmer’s markets. We wanted a compact dish that customers could enjoy while perusing other vendors. We also liked that the labour is in the preparation and the pickup time is fast, making it the perfect street food.

Gordon Lauder Managing Director, frozen food distributor Central Foods

Opt for street food choices that feature a fusion of flavours and trends to appeal to all tastes. Wraps, bao buns, pizzas and sandwiches are great street food favourites, but try mixing ideas to create new, appealing menu items. The recently launched KaterVeg! vegan and gluten-free mince makes a super plant-based sloppy Joe pizza-style sandwich when teamed with a naan bread. According to Mintel, a quarter of British millennials say the coronavirus pandemic has made a vegan diet more appealing. Simplify menus by serving all-in-one products that cater for multiple dietary requirements and taste good enough to be enjoyed by all.

Jessica Ayling
Food To Go Chef Ambassador, Philadelphia Professional

Wraps are a fantastic option for chefs looking to offer street food at an affordable price point. Not only are they quick and easy to prepare, they’re also highly versatile allowing chefs to swap ingredients and showcase global flavours. Kick your street food selection off with Falafel & Philly Mezze Wraps, the creamy texture of Philadelphia Original complements the zingy slow and spiced pine nuts. Due to its unique texture and richness, Philadelphia Original can withstand being prepared in advance, sitting alongside juicy cucumber and tomatoes, a real win for time-poor chefs.

Paul Babra
Owner, Karara

Street food is often tasty snacks or fast-food dishes which are easily affordable and quite often ‘karara’ (Spicy) like the samosa chaat, aloo tikka, pani puris, pakoras, kebabs, parathas and curries that we produce at Karara. Those who produce these delicacies usually inherit the skills and recipes from their family members and continue to run as a family business for generations. Street food is prepared, cooked and sold at a very fast pace, dishes are usually eye-catching, portable and meant for immediate consumption.

Jeff Temperly Owner, Temperleys Street Food

First and foremost, it’s got to taste great, so don’t be afraid of using other peoples’ recipes and dishes for inspiration as long as you put your own personal spin on them, like I’ve done with my ‘Drunken Leprechaun’ burger (with onions sautéed in our whiskey infused BBQ sauce). Location is absolutely crucial too; getting the right spot for you gives you access to the right people, which will make a huge difference to how well you do. Once you have these in place, you have to plan for success. Expect to sell a lot and make sure your kitchen can keep up with demand. There’s nothing
worse than long wait times or running out of ingredients!

Charlotte Turner
Founder, Health Nutritionist

Our children today have more influences than ever, from Instagram stories, TikTok videos, Facebook news feeds, Snapchat – and many more. These influences have sparked their appetite for more regional cuisines and are changing their meal preferences and appetite to try new things. Street food, such as Indian, Mexican or even Chinese (think bao buns) can be made into nutritious and healthy meals. Integrating street food within schools can promote cultural cuisine, diversity and brings flavour along with much needed fibre and nutrients from a wealth of fruit and vegetables.

Andrea Deutschmanek
International Marketing Lead Northern Europe, Lamb Weston

The best street food is easy – it’s tasty, down and dirty comfort food, without fine-dining fuss. Lamb Weston is bringing the party to street food with German Sausage and British chips by partnering with The Sausage Man, think quality German charcuterie and exciting flavour fusions! One traditional German dish is spice-packed currywurst and fries. MasterChef finalist Chef Philli created Katsu Curry with Crispy Currywurst and Togarashi Fries, using Lamb Weston Hot2Home or Stealth fries, and Korean Kogo – sausage and fries together on a stick! Instagrammable and irresistible.

Annette Coggins
Head of Foodservice, Tilda UK

New wave Mexican, Indian and African dishes are just some of the exciting cuisines influencing street food. Authenticity underpins their popularity with consumers and rice is at the heart of many of these recipes. Using the right rice for the right dish will take your recipe to a whole new level, Tilda’s new Peri Peri Steamed Rice is perfect with BBQ chicken! The relaxed, social nature of street food also makes it a fantastic option for school menus too. Caterers can take advantage of one pot recipes and give their street food a nutritional boost too by swapping to Tilda Brown & White – just don’t tell the pupils!

Barny MacAdam
Taste Creator UK & Ireland, Santa Maria Foodservice 

With a growing interest in global cuisine since the rise of the pandemic, ‘Mexitarian’ – plant-based Mexican food, is set to be the standout trend of 2021. It’s a street food flavour must have on any menu and it appeals to students on every level, delivering flavour and versatility in an easy, grab-and-go format. Take our Mexican or Carnitas Spice mix, simply sprinkle over vegetables or sweet potato fries or rub on plant-based protein to make tantalising tacos and burritos. Our Carnitas Seasoning and Kerala Curry Spice Mix can be added to soups, poke bowls and all sorts of street food style dishes, offering vibrant flavour and buildable heat.

Manish Sharma
Development Chef, AB World Foods

Many international cuisines are known to the world by the dishes sold in their local markets, hawker food courts and hole in the wall restaurants away from the crowded tourist centres. Today, chefs are looking at dishes from different parts of the word where it’s all about grab-and-go such as Wada Pao – a popular street food from western India, a simple spiced potato cake in a crusty hard bun with a dry and wet chutney. In Bangkok, one of the most visited cities in the world, Beef Krapaw – ground beef with Thai basil, chillies and fish sauce lends itself perfectly to the street food scene. There is no limit to the types of food you can make and sell, but the crucial thing to remember is that it must be made from high quality ingredients.