Scotland's Best Street Food & Takeaways
If you want some of the most inventive food in Scotland today, your best bet is to hit the streets. Literally.
The unstoppable rise of street food has been one of the best trends in food for a long time, bringing brilliant and inventive dishes to all manner of places and encouraging all of us to try new things even when we're standing in the cold or rushing for a train. But, you ask, surely there must be some limits to what you can do in a takeaway, on-the-fly, street food context? Well, naysayers, we have two words for you: crème brûlée. The Crema Caravan serve up burnt-to-order crème brûlée in a host of configurations, and it's incredible. Next time someone doubts the joys of street food, pull up alongside them eating a freshly-topped brûlée with pieces of chocolate brownie sticking out the top, and watch them eat their words while you eat your dessert.
The Caravan pops up at venues, festivals and markets across the country, but they're also one of the first traders at the ambitious and enormously welcome Dockyard Social venue (95-107 Haugh Rd) in Finnieston, which aims to provide a permanent hub for Glasgow's street food vendors as well as act as a training centre for up-and-coming culinary talent. They're joined at the Social by Chompsky, the buccaneering street food van that packs an impressive variety of styles and flavours into its ever-changing menu. From bao to bowls of freekeh to outrageous takes on macaroni cheese, wherever you find Chompsky they're sure to be up to something fun and interesting.
Speaking of permanent hubs for street food scenes, let's talk about The Pitt (125 Pitt St, Edinburgh). Since throwing open its gates in 2015, this unassuming car yard has fast grown into a genuine foodie institution with a rotating cast of street food vans serving a litany of tasty dishes. But it's the ever-growing infrastructure of The Pitt that's impressed in the last year; go to a good pop-up event or a well-programmed music festival and chances are The Pitt are nearby, luring you in with delicious sandwiches and enormous piles of steak frites. They've built a network of street food venues to go with Scotland's vendors, and the result is that incredible street food is never really that far away any more.
And when the weather's too bad for standing outside, there are street food-inspired venues and takeaway options that are delicious and offer some respite from the elements. Kimchi Cult (14 Chancellor St, Glasgow) is what an industry bod might call 'fast casual', but what we'd call 'really really good fast food'. KC themselves call it 'punk riffs on Korean classics'; that's everything from Korean fried chicken and action-packed rice bowls to kimchi burgers and bulgogi-topped fries. Bross Bagels (186 Portobello High St, Edinburgh) bring authentic Canadian bagels to the party, then stuff them with brilliant combinations of ingredients to make that party even better. Montreal native Larah Bross has joined forces with community bakery Breadshare on the bagels, with local suppliers also chipping in when it comes to fillings; grab a bagel to go, run it off on the beach, come back for another, repeat until you've cleared the menu.
Or you could take your fellow readers' advice, and grab a burrito; with its baton-like shape and sealed ends, it should be universally recognised as the best food with which to make a mad dash in a rainstorm. You lot liked Los Cardos (281 Leith Walk, Edinburgh), home of an Irvine Welsh-endorsed haggis burrito, and proof that street food is so powerful it can even make haggis appear innovative.