The concept of ‘Street food’ is generally considered to be artisan food sold on the street – or more accurately, not served from restaurants or cafés. So could this picture tweeted of KFC getting in on the craze, spell the unfortunate imploding of what has been one of the coolest and certainly delicious phenomenons to hit the UK culinary scene in the last half a decade?
The picture was snapped in Soho, London, and actually I’m not sure what’s worse – the bastardisation of what has been a relatively simple and noncommercial concept – street food – dine outside on food which has been uniquely and personally prepared for you; that tastes handmade; that tastes good, and that makes you look terribly switched on at the same time. Or, the shameless hipsters falling for the trap of being photographed standing outside KFC, like nothing is remotely wrong with the picture. How depressing.
KFC’s is not alone either.
Legendary Californian burger chain In-N-Out Burger (a particular favourite of mine, it has to be said) decided to open a pop-up shop for one day only in an entirely nondescript greasy spoon cafe in Hendon ‘arse-end-of-nowhere’ North London. Why? Well nobody has any idea. But it certainly sent the bloggers and food journos into a frenzy-induced seizure, as the media scrambled to find out from Californian HQ if it was in fact a bonafide stunt and not some cruel prank. Apparently it was legit. And came they did, at least for the day.
And the very latest big brand to open a temporary pop up outlet is – drum roll – Coca Cola. The mass producer of the brown elixir of life has opened up in South Molton Street, again in London, to promote the ‘green’ drink we’ve been seeing pop up on supermarket shelves. By the way, it’s sweetened with stevia and contains a third less sugar and a third fewer calories than the original tipple. It’s the Real thing.
No wonder this recent trend of ‘big brand street dining’ has led to some in the mainstream media questioning if this is the end of street food. It’s not of course, and it’s probably lazy journalism to suggest it is. High streets and villages across the UK, certainly outside the capital, are still booming with authentic, creative eating, non mass-chained food experiences. Reinventing and pushing the boundaries of traditional ways of eating, and traditional ways of selling, is not just alive and well, but independents have been relying on the concept for some time now; for their very survival. And if the chains are getting in on the act, the indie food trader must be doing something right, right?
What next, a B&Q pop up? or, as Time Out London inspirationally suggested – Mcdonald’s kimchee burger stands *rolls-eyes*
Over to you, what’s the worst and best street food experience you’ve had of late?