A cultural feast

by Carmen Allan-Petale

When we heard the Real Food Festival was to be held at South Bank, we knew we couldn’t miss it. The event focuses on bringing together street stalls selling food from around the world. With a passion for travelling because we love experiencing different cultures – especially their food – this festival sounded right up our alley.

A big crowd turned out for the free festival

Street food in the UK has come a long way in recent years. No longer for those wanting simply a cheap eat on the way home from a boozy night out, street food is often gourmet, with vegetarian and special dietary requirement options. Although more expensive than it would’ve been traditionally, street food has improved dramatically and often vendors use local and fresh produce to create their food. Even some top restaurateurs, like Jamie Oliver, have cashed in on the popular trend of dining out on cuisine from a street food stall.

A stall selling ostrich biltong, among other things – posh grub indeed!

The World Food Festival was no exception, featuring food of top quality. It was perfect for someone like me, who is intolerant to gluten, to pick and choose from a couple of stalls offering gluten-free food. This can be difficult at the best of times, so to have a choice of foods was a bonus.

Baklava and other Turkish food

There was paella and churros from Spain, schnitzel from Austria, French crepes from Brittany, Italian pastas made fresh while you waited; spicy Indian curries; bubble tea from Japan; and much, much more.

Britain, of course, was well represented, with local seafood, bangers and mash and a delightful selection of cakes and teas.

A British van selling tea and cake

After inspecting all the stands, Dave decided to go for a giant steak burger between two slices of ciabatta and topped with spicy mayo, whilst I had gluten-free risotto balls with stew and salad. We washed it down with some local British wine and finished the meal with a gluten-free brownie and macaroons.

My gluten-free risotto balls with salad and stew
Our Jubilee-inspired macroons. At £7.50 for five they were a little expensive but tasted light and crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle

Delightful!

I couldn’t help but scoff down a gluten-free brownie

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