Eats From the Street – Glasgow Fort

Last month saw the first of four Eats From the Street events at Glasgow Fort. Eats From the Street is a showcase of local & national street food vendors, providing good eats for reasonable prices.

The venture is the brain child of Richard Johnson who set up British Street Food & the namesake   awards in 2009 to get street food seen & heard. The concept of Eats From the Street was developed a few years ago & has this year, finally been put into practice. As well as the street food vendors, the ensemble also has a massive double decker London bus which has been converted into a dining area. So even if it’s raining, you can still enjoy street food in the comfort of the bus without getting soaked!

We popped along to check out the vendors & see what was a on offer. We had a dish from Mighty Mexican who have recently started out on the street food scene in Scotland. Providing fresh, authentic style Mexican food, Mighty Mexican also provide the biggest burrito I’ve ever seen! We had a chicken burrito with their Mucho Macho sauce, which is the hottest they offer (that should come as no surprise). The burrito was tasty, full of smoky & chilli flavours. We initially didn’t think much of the Mucho Macho sauce but it had been dulled down by the sour cream & guacamole but thankfully a lot had gathered at the bottom so the burrito ended in a nice spicy burst.

Mighty Mexican

We also sampled the wares of Nusou, a street food revelation, focussing on healthy street food. They also recently won Best Newcomber in this year’s British Street Food Awards. Nusou offers cooked to order Noodle Soups which are cooked & ready to eat in a few minutes. We had a chicken noodle soup with all of the trimmings & some extra chillies & peanuts added on top. I have to say, the soup was better than some of the dishes we had when we were in Thailand this year.

Nusou

Eats From the Street are back at the Glasgow Fort this weekend, 1-2 November & another 2 times before the end of the year. I’d definitely recommend popping along  & trying out some of the nation’s best street food on offer. Other outlets taking part include Glasgow’s very own Babu Kitchen & Breaking Bread.

Date Featuring:
Saturday 1 & Sunday 2 November Zoete Koek
Mighty Mexican
Bowl Food
Breaking Bread
Nusou
Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 November Zoete Koek
Mighty Mexican
Babu
Nusou
Breaking Bread
Fuel Coffee
Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 December Papaganoush
Babu
Mighty Mexican
Nusou
Breaking Bread
Fuel Coffee

Topolabamba

Mexican food is always one of my first choices of cuisines to go for & when I heard a new one was opening, I obviously was looking forward to trying it. I hadn’t heard of the name Topolabamba before so assumed it wasn’t a chain & was even more surprised to find out it was owned by the company who also own Glasgow favourites such as Di Maggios, Pinto & Cafe Andaluz. Before I go on with this post, I will state that we were invited along to the pre-launch night after I posted information about the restaurant opening in an earlier post.

Mexican DecorMexican Decor

On first impressions, I was taken with the decor which contained a lot of wooden wall panels dotted with authentic looking Mexican bric-a-brac. Now I love skulls & was taken with all of the sugar skulls they had dotted around the restaurant. My most favourite part of the decor was, surprisingly, in the toilets which are covered with Mexican skull themed wallpaper. Unfortunately it was custom made for the restaurant so won’t be able to get my hands on some!!

WallpaperWallpaper

Topolabamba is another restaurant centred around sharing food with lots of small plates. The menu is split into 3 sections – bar bites, street food & bigger plates. The drinks are a mix of margaritas & mexican beers along with some imported soft drinks.

Mexican Decor

When seated, we were asked if we wanted any bar bites whilst waiting for others to arrive. Since we had literally just sat down, we suggested that the waitress bring anything. From the menu we had crazy corn & nachos with both guacamole & salsa. I don’t really know what was so “crazy” about the corn since it was 3 bits of corn on the cob with some crumbled cheese over it. Nothing really jumped out. The guacamole was fantastic, with big chunks of fresh avocado & a nice kick to it. The salsas that they have range from mild to quite spicy on the scale, however we could not find much difference between the house & the spiciest salsa which was a bit disappointing.

Crazy CornNachos & Salsa

The street food section contains typical Mexican dishes such as taquitos, tacos & fajitas whereas the bigger plates have more variation with stuffed peppers, coca cola short stack ribs, burritos & baked fish. I was really pleased to see cactus on the menu in a few dishes as I’d only come across it in the Wahaca restaurants in London. As we were at a sampling night, we were encouraged to order a few dishes between us to start then order more once we had finished.

From the street food section, we sampled dishes including crab ceviche tostadas (the crab was fresh but lost in the lemon that had been added), barbacoa beef tacos (nice strong flavour from the meat but accompanied nicely with a blend of spices) & our favourite dish from that section – fish tacos which were in a light batter & accompanied by a smoky & spicy aioli.

Crab Ceviche Fish Tacos

Ever since I’d seen the menu I’d been really intrigued to try the coca cola short stack rib. However, I was quite disappointed by the dish which consisted on one large beef rib with a little sauce on the side. The meat was tender & fell off the bone but the lack of sauce meant there was no edge to it & it was at the end of the day, just a bit of beef. Other dishes we sampled went down a lot better:

  • Stuffed pepper – it contained crumbly cheese, spicy cactus, potatoes & chipolte peppers which gave it a good spice rating but you could taste the individual elements
  • Salt & Pepper Ancho Chilli Squid – this was my favourite dish filled with fresh baby squid (including some tentacles) & accompanied by such a delicious ancho chilli aioli that added so much flavour
  • Chargrilled flat iron steak with peanut mole – The steak was pink in the middle & had been seasoned with some spices. The peanut mole was so full of flavour with the spicy chocolate richness & texture & slightly salty taste of the peanuts
  • Queso Fundido – a melted cheese dish containing chorizo & roasted peppers which was a bit sickly in my opinion, with the cheese overpowering the meat & pepper.

Stuffed PeppersBarbacoa TacosSalt & Pepper Ancho Chilli Squid

I sampled a few of the margaritas they had including the house & mango versions. I have to say, that for being affiliated with Jose Curevo, the margaritas were slightly lacking in any oomph or taste. The mango version was a bit better than the house but I think that was due to it being a more fruity flavour. The Mexican beers went down well with A, with a porter, IPA & pale ale being on offer. I also liked them but only for the amazing labels!!! For dessert I sampled some of the churros which didn’t contain cinnamon sugar as you would normally expect & had been slightly overcooked since they had lost their doughy texture. I did eat some as the dark chocolate sauce that came with them was so moreish. I accompanied it with a pear & chocolate margarita which was quite sweet but a nice flavour from the traditional lime margarita.

MargaritaPear & Chocolate MargaritaMexican IPA

Churros

Overall, I quite enjoyed Topolabamba but there are clearly some areas that need to be worked on before I could class it as in the same category as Bibi’s.

Sombreros

Thai Treats in Bangkok

On our recent holiday, we also visited Bangkok & Koh Samui. I’ll be honest in that I’m not the biggest fan of Thai food with any I’ve had in the UK being either too lemony or having too much coconut. Given that, I was a big apprehensive going to Thailand as I thought the food would be of a similar taste. How wrong was I?! The food in Thailand is much much better, with lots of different flavours & nowhere near as much overpowering flavours as what is passed as Thai food in the UK.

We only really had 2 nights in Bangkok as we arrived after midnight on our first time. We were unfortunately caught up in the Thai Coup which meant we could only stay out til 10pm at night so it was a bit restrictive as to where we could go at night. The first night, we went to Issaya Siamese Club which had been recommended to me. The menu takes a twist on Thai food but with keeping traditional Thai flavours & cooking methods at heart. We picked a selection of dishes including tender beef, papaya salad, soft shell crab yellow curry & soft spicy chicken summer roll. The food was fabulous, full of flavour & also really well presented. My favourites were the tender beef which was served cold but was quite spicy & the soft shell crab yellow curry. There was so much crab on the plate & the yellow curry was a more creamier curry than the red or green but not too creamy that it was a heavy curry.

Tender BeefSoft Shell Crab Yellow CurrySoft Spicy Chicken Soft Roll

Whilst in Bangkok, we also sampled some tropical fruits & street food. On a riverboat cruise we were on, there was a fresh fruit platter with loads of fruits I hadn’t come across such as sour fruit, queen fruit, lychee, guava & pomello. There was also mango & sticky rice which is a popular traditional Thai dessert. The rice is cooked with coconut milk to make it sticky but not too coconutty & it just so moreish!! Some of the fruit, such as dragon fruit & guava, I found to be quite tasteless but others such as the sour fruit, were delicious!

Fruit BuffetSour Fruit

The next day, we went to Bangkok’s biggest market & I had hoped to try some weird street food (including insects). I was a bit disappointed to find that the food area didn’t offer anything from the norm. We decided to sit down & have some food & opted for pad thai (when in Rome & that) & a shrimp fried rice. Both dishes were full of flavour & the one thing I like about the Pad Thai was that the peanuts & chillies with it are optional, you have to mix it in. Another thing I love about Thai restaurants/eateries, is the condiments. As standard, you get 4 pots, 1 with dried chillies, 1 with chilli fish sauce & 1 with chilli vinegar (my favourite). The fourth is either empty or filled with a soy/fish sauce.

Pad ThaiShrimp Fried Rice

On our last night, we opted to dine at the street food stalls we had seen at the end of the street where our hotel was. There were a couple of stands with some tables & chairs along with a couple of mini kitchens. We ordered a few different dishes including sweetened grilled pork, spicy hot beef curry & spicy hot pork soup. I honestly do not think I’ll taste pork nicer than the sweetened grilled pork! It was so tender, sweet but not sickly sweet & just so moreish. There was a mixup with the order as both the pork & the beef tasted the same so I think they gave us the hot & spicy soup for both. The soup was the type of food I had been dreading. Yes it was spicy but it was also full of lemongrass. So much so, that’s all I could taste  & I couldn’t really eat any of it.

Sweetened Grilled PorkHot & Spicy Pork Soup

Bangkok was a good starter for an indication of what authentic Thai food is but when we went to Koh Samui, that’s when we tasted some really good dishes. Blog to follow shortly!!