The North's Best Food On-The-Go

Jess Hardiman | 05 Jan 2017

Poutine pop-up Blue Caribou Canteen features prominently among your votes for Best On-The-Go, suggesting that the street food revolution is far from over. We take a look at some current trends, available from a cart or shed near you...

Poutine

There's been a recent (welcome) influx of Canada's national dish, where fries come loaded with cheese curds and gravy for the very ultimate in comfort food. Among your Food and Drink Survey winners for Best On-The-Go, Manchester's Blue Caribou Canteen either go classic with skin-on fries, cheese curds and veal or mushroom gravy, or let you pimp your poutine with pastrami and pickles or spiced pork, pickled red cabbage and smashed pastry. Forget the cheesy chips of your drunken haze: this is the real deal. 

Small plates

Complaining of too much choice in the street food game may seem like one of the most pathetic first world problems, but we can sympathise. Thankfully, the ever popular 'small plates' mentality of many restaurants is now being increasingly applied to the street food template, with tapas-style grazing so you can try a bit of everything. Bundobust in Leeds (and latterly in Manchester) reign supreme in Indian snacks, indeed they're one of your other favourites in Best On-The-Go (okra fries, anyone?), while The Otto-Men in Manchester are also doing sterling work with their mezze plates. 

Cubanos

A far cry from the humble British sarnie, cubanos are Cuba's answer to the toastie, pressing mojo pork shoulder, pickles, mustard and cheese into a gooey sandwich. They've been made famous by Jon Favreau flick Chef, but a little closer to home we've got our very own advocates of the South American street food staple thanks to Liverpool's FINCA, who've recently taken up residency at The Merchant.

Sourdough pizza

It's the wood-fired sourdough base that's doing the rounds these days, favoured not only for its springy texture and charred leoparding, but also its digestible nature. Yup, thanks to its slower fermentation process, sourdough's reportedly a good shout for those sensitive to the modern-day woes of gluten. Pile that dough high with spicy 'nduja or fennel sausage and tenderstem broccoli (a la Northern pizza stalwarts Honest Crust) and you're on to a ruddy winner.

Oysters

While our penchant for a jaw-bustingly stacked burger or a melting grilled cheese will never die, these days it seems we’re also seeking out fresher flavours from the street food circuit. Manchester-based Holy Crab have been busy raising intrigued eyebrows with their oysters, best eaten with their own Holy Hot Sauce or gin and tonic dressing. If this is a sign of the gentrification of street food, at just £2 a pop you can consider us gentri-fully-on-board.

Dessert

There was once a time when street food meant one none-too-appetising burger van in a parking lot. Now, not only do you get choice by the truckload with tacos, burritos, hotdogs, pizza and bagels just the tip of one very appetising iceberg, you also get to follow it up with pud! Street food events are currently catering to sweet teeth better than ever, showcasing cake-based craftsmanship with artisanal doughnuts, ice cream sandwiches, macaroons and more. Mainstays like Manchester-based Blawd and Leeds' Noisette Bakehouse are churning out la dolce vita with aplomb.

Beyond the street food scene, the North has many great shouts for a quick bite to eat, as evidenced by your other On-The-Go winners. Whether you’re into the wealth of choice available at B.Eat Street or the classic burritos of Pancho's – both Manchester – or Liverpool's old fave Evil Eye and plant-based Caribbean newbie ItalFresh, there's something for you whenever you're in a rush.