From New York bagels to Japanese choux buns and Kashmiri curry; it's the world in one city
BACK in the olden days, street food to most people meant a booze-fuelled visit to Botan Kebab House for a doner with chilli sauce and a drunken snog on the side. Hot stuff, truly.
These days when you fancy a quickie (we’re talking food now, not the canoodling at the bus-stop) there’s a wealth of places where you can grab and go, and at all hours of the day. From New York bagels to Japanese choux buns and Kashmiri curry; Liverpool is the world in one city when it comes to street food.
Here are ten of the best street foods you can get your hands on right now.
Lunch time in the business district will never be the same again once you’ve stumbled across Chop Chop. Bento boxes, teriyakis, katsu curry, chicken popcorn and sushi are all here, and a steady stream of regulars make a beeline for the tiny eatery every day. Grab a big, steaming lunch for around a fiver or an even bigger, steamier dinner version, for just a few bob more. Chop chop, before the boss notices you're MIA.
Halloumi, is it cheese you’re looking for? Nikolaos Fylladitakis, owner of Laros Greek restaurant and takeaway, says that his Talagani cheese fries are even better than halloumi. We’ve tried these squeaky blinders and can confirm that it’s definitely worth a visit to Nikolaos’ place on Bold Street, which also serves gyros, souvlaki and pita wraps. You’ll never lay the lips on a doner again. Leave space for dessert - loukoumades are little sweet donut balls filled with white chocolate or hazelnut filling and served with lavender honey syrup. Get me to the Greek.
One thing we’ve learned so far this year is that Sex and the City without Samantha is like a broken pencil - pointless. Like a Reuben without pickles. Thank gawd for Derek's, the Italian-American deli that has got us screaming for more like Miranda in Carrie's kitchen. Derek’s menu of New York sandwiches is small but mighty, with signature dishes The Gabagool (a Tony Soprano classic), The TKY turkey sub, The Moltisanti, The Skinny Dennis; and of course, The Reubenstein, piled high with pastrami, Emmental and sauerkraut. Get there early - when they’re gone, they’re gone.
Savoury or sweet? What do you do when you just can’t decide? Throw it all into one bin lid, that’s what. From the owners of KO Grill and Midnight Delivery comes one of the most unusual street food munchie boxes we’ve ever come across. Bubba’s Trap Kitchen started life as a lockdown takeaway before setting up shop in Smithdown and a resident spot at the Baltic Market. On our last visit to Cains, we went for Bubba’s boneless chicken box with chicken wings, popcorn chicken, corn on the cob, curly fries, and a Kinder Bueno waffle. Who doesn’t want rainbow sparkles on their tea? Weird, wonderful, and wrong - in all the right ways. Hubba hubba, Bubba - keep it coming.
Born after a trip to Japan, Sutikku started life as a pop-up food vendor in 2019 and earned itself a cult following with residencies in places such as Manchester’s GRUB and our own Baltic Market. This hip little corner stop brings a slice of Japan to South Liverpool with its menu of gyoza, katsu curries, noodle dishes, bowls, don buri and street food. They only serve one dessert but when it’s a Japanese choux bun that’s really all you need. Look out for special flavours like Dulce de leche and chocolate and hazelnut praline. Read our full review of Sutikku Bowl.
Fozia runs Liverpool's first authentic Kashmiri street food take-away, serving halal food cooked just the way her mother made it; samosas, pakoras, spicy omelette wraps - all classic street foods sold by the street vendors in Pakistan and Kashmir. Since opening in the new Lodge Lane market, Fozia says she has served more than 5,000 samosas to her customers. Spice world. The special chilli garlic lamb is a cracker too.
The guys at Cahita certainly know a thing or two about street food having brought the incredible Cubano to the yard. Their new concept, Big Lola’s Taqueria, is serving up a range of Mexican dishes inspired by the Mission District of San Francisco. Tasty tacos and banging burittos are on the menu at Duke Street Market, including slow cooked beef brisket and grilled chicken, as well as confit mushroom rice bowls and chocolate caramel churros. Named after Big Lola, the “notorious jailed donkey”, the kiosk is also trialling a number of specials alongside the regular menu. If you're a Mexi-can not a Mexi-can’t then head down and give them a bash.
A Venezuelan cafe in Fazakerley? When we stumbled upon NOSO on Longmoor Lane, we had to share it with the world. NOSO’s reputation for authentic Venezuelan street food, including arepas, empanadas and tequeños, has put it on the Liverpool foodie map. We recommend the arepa; a corn flour flatbread, typically filled with a variety of toppings. Choose from the “Pimped out queeny” (shredded chicken with avocado), “Old clothes” (shredded beef with grated cheddar cheese), or “Veg love” (black beans, sweet plantain and guacamole.) Follow one of those bad boys with Nutella tequenos. Magic.
Fritto has been an old favourite on the Liverpool food scene for a few years now, starting out as a Granby Four Streets Community Market vendor. Last year, Fritto moved into Smithdown Road with a boss new bakery that has helped breathe new life back into the area. Alongside their legendary deep-fried pizza (panzerotti) - which made it into our prestigious 10 cult dishes to tick off your Liverpool bucket list - Fritto serves the best pistachio cream bomboloni we have ever tasted. It’s doughnut o’clock time, anytime.
For authentic Thai food, it has to be Spice Thai. Fragrant pad thai, rich gang massaman curry, deep-fried sea bass, and fiery udon kee mao, aka “drunken noodles'', traditionally eaten at the end of a big night out to keep that hangover at bay. It’s also home to the signature dish Weeping Tiger: marinated sirloin steak served on a sizzling platter. As well as the restaurant on Fleet Street, Spice Thai has a pop-up in the Baltic Market which serves the belly-busting OMG box - if you think you can handle it. Challenge accepted.
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