Last night, I finally got myself down to east London for a glorious night of street food at Street Feast's Hawker House. (And yes...this has got to be my all-time record for celerity of blogging after an event. I'm so proud of myself right now.)
Grazing at places like Kerb and Street Feast makes me very, very happy. It's fussy, unpretentious, and usually cheap, and I was practically raised on a diet of hawker-style food on childhood trips to my mother's hometown in Malaysia. Familiarity breeds content. So I love that Street Feast has been running with this Asian theme at their Hawker House set-up over the past few months. This year it was housed in an old office block in Haggerston. Okay, so not strictly adhering to the al fresco rules of 'street' food, but it's still pretty cool - the ugly office fittings have been ripped out and replaced with neon typography, candles and three levels of achingly delicious food. And, to my delight, arrows on the stairs dictate the rules of walking in classic Angry Londoner style - keep to the left, this way up, this way down, etc.. I'd actually love it if we had signs like this spray painted on the actual street, just like on this New York sidewalk.
Street Feast know that feasting isn't just about the comestibles, it's about the beverages too. The crowds of young London hipsters make Hawker House so warm that jackets must be quickly divested and drinks ordered. The family (including Alex) and I sipped on spritzers, mojitos and juices of all colours and flavours, which made me long for summer.
For those seeking a stronger tipple, there's the opportunity to indulge in a little whisky roulette. For £8 you can spin the wheel and have the chance to win a dram worth up to £22 - though you might also get something worth £7...
Since our idea of hawker food is solidly Malaysian in origin, we made a beeline for the Sambal Shiok stall for a chicken satay rice box and beef rendang slider. The taste was pretty authentic and I'm so on board with the idea of Malaysian flavours in a burger. Nasi lemak sliders next time lah!
After my sister guzzled down a tray of Breddos Tacos and pronounced them muy bueno, Alex and I headed down a level to check out their offerings.
Al couldn't resist this fried buttermilk chicken beauty...
And you know what they say. A thing of beauty is a joy forever... in my mouth.
And after a little stalk of Lisa's blog I knew that I absolutely had to get a cone of Duck 'N' Roll's 'mussels popcorn' with black garlic aioli.
Rendered in black and white to try and offset my inexplicably mauve face.
The fried mussels were definitely the most interesting thing I ate last night. The dark creamy aioli complemented them perfectly, and came in what I'm assured is some sort of nut shell...can anyone enlighten me on its origin? Back at the table, my mother and sister took one bite and sent me right back to the stall for another cone. I love my family.
I also finally got to try Bleecker Burger's Angry Fries, drenched in piquant chilli and blue cheese sauce, which I imagine would be the perfect drunk snack. Next time I'll be diving headfirst into their sweet potato fries.
And Alex and I ordered a couple of Yum Buns: a savoury one bursting with slices of sticky, crispy pork belly and cucumber, and a sweet fried one stuffed with Vietnamese coffee ice cream. We tucked into them before I could remember to take photos, but trust me - both were incredible and I could have subsisted off them alone all evening, they were so filling. I'd like a vat of Vietnamese coffee ice cream for when the weather heats up please - it packs such a kick!
The Hawker House season finished last night (you know me, I'm all about jumping on the bandwagon at the very last minute...) but I'm sure they'll reprise the Hawker love for another year in 2016.
Meanwhile, Street Feast will be back in the blink of an eye, with Model Market in Lewisham re-opening on 17th April and ventures at Dalston Yard and Shoreditch Yard opening this spring. I for one can't wait to get my street food fix again!