'Chaat' makes it to UK street foods awards final

An intrepid Indian-origin entrepreneur who relishes putting together spicy 'chaat', 'bhel puri' and 'samosa' has climbed up Britain's food charts by being one of 16 finalists out of over 3000 entries for the British Street Food Awards 2012.

The awards, to be announced in London on September 15 and 16, celebrate the variety of street food available across Britain, usually sold in vans and trolleys stationed at key locations in city centres and some residential areas.

Based in Leeds, Britain-born Manjit has enticed customers with her freshly prepared street food sold from a 'thela' named 'The Number 1 Chaat Station', which also plays songs on a vintage sound system.

After awards organisers announced the 16 finalists, Manjit is preparing to slowly roll her 'thela' all the way to London, where the finalists will congregate with their vans and trolleys outside celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's restaurant for the judges and food lovers to adjudicate.

She started her company 'Manjit's Kitchen' on 2009 when she was made redundant from her office job, and soon gained culinary popularity as her vegetarian offering went down well with people who prefer authentic Indian food to dishes that are customised to the British palate.

Food journalist and founder of the awards Richard Johnson writes: "In the old days, British street food meant cheap sausages and overfried onions, served off rusty metal handcarts. But that's changing. And about time too.

"For a nation that's stacked with food magazines and food programmes, we've run out of excuses".

He adds: "Our food isn't a joke any more – we've got more three-starred Michelin restaurants than Italy. So it's about time we got our street food sorted too. And make every single one of us proud to be British".

Popular Indian street food such as 'pani puri', 'kachori', 'vada pav' and 'pao bhaji' are now widely available in London and others towns.

Since 1810, when Sake Dean Mohamed from Patna opened the first Indian restaurant in Britain, the 'Hindoostanee Coffee House' in George Street, central London, the Indian food industry has grown exponentially as Britain's love affair with spicy Indian food continued over the years.

Today, there are over 12,000 Indian restaurants across Britain and the industry is estimated to be worth 4.2 billion pounds annually, including the revenue from the large volumes of packed Indian food sold in supermarkets.

Comments (+)