Let’s face it: London has a peculiar taste for street food. But while the markets in Camden have been enticing visitors with the unique combination of exotic flavours as one of its many attractions for decades, it was the hipster era that kicked off a true fashion for eating on the streets. Few years later, some claim that hipsters may no longer be around, yet the trend still prevails – and it looks better than ever.
What is it about the street food that makes it so appealing to so many? For one thing, it is cheap and fast; but perhaps more importantly, it is bona fide and just outright delicious in its diversity Think American burgers, Chinese chow mein, Japanese katsu and Polish pierogi, all available on the same spot (albeit at separate stalls) and each one carefully prepared in accordance with authentic traditional recipes. London’s multicultural society fosters and fuels this cultural culinary exchange to the benefit of all. All around the city, once-vacant industrial parcels are being transformed into food markets, for local foodies to satiate their appetites for genuine street cuisine, and for dedicated chefs to make solid profits.
It is an important matter to note: as every exciting and well-acclaimed fashion, street food also constitutes a good business. Good, as it creates jobs and allows small-yet-passionate entrepreneurs to grow and succeed, but also good, because it is both highly profitable and full of potential that is yet to be realised. As said by Jonathan Downey, one of the founders of London Union, an organisation that stands behind places such as Shoreditch’s Dinerama, a single stall set on a food market can make thousands of pounds over the weekend, with some of the traders reaching a £1m annual turnover!
It is no wonder: popular street food spots attract up to 12 thousand of customers each weekend, regardless of season and weather. And they are not there just to feast on food: going to a food market has already become an evening pastime comparable to a bar visit: you can eat well, drink well and even watch the Champions League final, all in a relaxed, casual atmosphere and accompanied with a deliciously extensive menu.
Although London is where it all began, the trend is bound to grow beyond the city’s borders. Street food is already taking over Birmingham and Manchester. It is so because customers everywhere are quick to adapt it, and as they do, local entrepreneurs realise the industry’s true potential. A single stall can now grow to a national chain, a well-performing catering company or an established venue. Altogether, now it is the perfect time to invest in this trend. There are numerous possibilities: consider becoming a sponsor to a major street food festival, or a regular supplier for a popular food truck.
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