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Pork belly gua bao, Bao Bar
The “bao”, or bun, at this Taiwanese food stall is stuffed with generous slabs of slow-braised pork belly (sourced from Peckham butcher Flock & Herd), pickles, sprigs of coriander and caramelised peanut shavings. The bun itself is perfectly steamed: milky and soft throughout. Bao Bar’s owners make everything from scratch, from their pickles to their soya milk.
£3.50; Netil Market, 23 Westgate Street, London E8; Saturdays
Poutine, The Poutinerie
All good Canadians know that a proper cheese curd should squeak when bitten into. Poutine, a classic late-night street dish from French Canada, consists of a pile of hot chips covered with a layer of salty cheese curd and a healthy pour of gravy. The result, admittedly, is not pretty but the version served at this truck is certainly squeaky – and its wanton decadence hits the spot.
£5; Brick Lane Market, Brick Lane, London E1; Sundays
Soft shell crab burger, Crabbieshack
This is not your typical crab-on-a-roll. Fresh crab is coated in gently seasoned tempura batter and fried to the bliss point: hitting crispy but falling short of greasy. An array of toppings includes fennel, almond, avocado and harissa. Another features tart pomegranate, harissa, red onion, coriander and red cabbage. The burger bun itself is a no-nonsense affair.
£6.50; Red Market, 1-3 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3DT; Thursdays
Koshari, Koshari Street
This Egyptian street dish is a dense mix of rice, noodles and lentils – covered with spicy tomato sauce, chickpeas and a smattering of crisp caramelised onions. Ingredients are meticulously sourced by Koshari Street founder and food writer Anissa Helou: olive oil from western Sicily, fragrant waters from Lebanon and rice from London’s Brindisa empire. Comes in mild, hot or “mad,” for those of a chilli-tolerant disposition.
£3 for a small, £4.50 for a regular; Real Food Market, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX; Friday-Sunday
Biangbiang noodles, Mama Wang’s Kitchen
Mama Wang’s thick Shaanxi wheat noodles are hand-pulled – and then slapped “mercilessly into submission”. A pile of them are served with a fantastic mélange of accoutrements: minced garlic, ginger, spring onions, Sichuan peppercorns, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, chilli flakes, wood ear mushrooms, home-preserved vegetables, fried salads and a light Biangbiang dressing. Add slow-roasted, cumin-spiced lamb shoulder for some heft.
Location varies; mamawangskitchen.com