Most chefs when abroad wax lyrical about street-food, but not here at home, why ?
Is it because we are too rich & our street food is just junk, a bunch of calories smothered in cheap sauce with onions. Or is it the regulation that food vendors have to deal with ?
It's goose fair time here in Nottingham, the origins of which are all about food, Christmas geese and cheese mainly, of course this century has seen it change to mainly rides and attractions, with the usual burger vans, chips and candy floss. However it still retains some interesting food foibles.
First off is the tradition of coconuts & pomegranates. My guess is that this is just the generation before mine's main exposure to such exotic fruits. There also seems to be a much wider selection of dishes than normally found at such events, including Chinese,Indian,Carribean(*),German and some new sensation (this year it seemed to be a spiral crisp made from half a potato). However there are a couple of things that seem to be unique to the Goose fair.
First off is mushy peas, at least one stall cooks them in a giant bubbling vat over a coal fire, giving a mesmerizing smell as the warm coal notes cut through the usually chilly October air. They are served in cups mostly splattered with a generous helping of mint sauce. It isn't a hand food I've come across elsewhere.
Then there is the Cock on a stick. This is a boiled sugar confection, that has been pulled into a kind of S-shape and then turned into a reasonable resembelance of a rooster, of course they are sold by the double entendre, they come in 3 sizes small, medium & large, though the small ones are a bit less popular. Fortunately the BBC interviewed their maker and he can explain it better than me.
My weakness is for pig in a bun, preferably with a bit of crackling and both stuffing & apple sauce, this year I was spoilt by a man with an entire pig on a spit which seemed to have been cooked very slowly, it was a pleasure to sit on the bank above the fair, sauce dribbling down my chin the cacophony of the rides drifting upto me. It may sound like a humble, dodgy van snack, but it was the very essence of enjoyable food & drink.
(*) The jerk chicken though is better at the Carribean carnival, that takes place in July.