Street Eats by Halal Gems (Old Spitalfields Market)
The festival’s free entry was always going to ensure, despite the miserable outdoor weather, that Old Spitalfields Market would be inundated by hungry visitors from all walks of life.
The range of stalls that guaranteed a plethora of food types from a variety of cuisines made certain that people were spoiled for choice.
In the end, however, the undoubted success of Street Eats was in the platform it provided for “celebrating halal conscious dining” along with an atmosphere of inclusivity and community cohesion.
While seasoned street food vendors from KERB’s Camden Market were there doing what they do best, there were also a few newcomers.
Of these, arguably the most notable had to have been one of the UK’s leading Halal burger brands, Band of Burgers, which took the opportunity of introducing its latest creation: The Mexican Burger.
Another well known Halal restaurant chain was Meat & Shake who were serving their impressive 12-hour smoked brisket burger.
Unfortunately for them and for many visitors, both they and Camden regulars Oli Baba’s, who are known for their famous Halloumi fries, had both sold out and shut up shop five hour before the scheduled closing time of 9.30pm.
Among the more unusual setups was Cabbi Coffee – an iconic 1996 Fairway London Black Cab converted into a quirky mobile coffee unit that served fine Italian Lavazza coffee.
Orange was also well represented as both a colour and a fruit with charity group Penny Appeal busily squeezing and pressing fresh orange juice at their stall.
Event organisers had also arranged a Games Area that would serve as the two-day event’s entertainment.
While intended for both adults and youngsters, most of the activities, which included the Giant Jenga, table football, Buzz Wire, Mega 4 in a Row, and Tin Can Alley, would have resonated far more with the latter group than the former.
Prizes were also on offer with the winner of the Batak wall, for example, a game that tests one’s reactionary hand speed, winning a meal for two.
Having also managed to sell all his stock, the founder of the Halal confestionary company, Halal Sweets Co, was full of praise regarding the festival: “It’s been a really great day; an amazing day. It’s been so great that we’ve managed to sell out. People have been going crazy for our sweets.”
For a first time event, Street Eats attracted a sizeable crowd that helped create a convivial setting for the coming together of street food enthusiasts who, as the festival’s founder Zohra Khaku put it, “really do appreciate good quality food”.