Tab Tries: Street Food

HANNAH GRAHAM brings you her Top Five Street Food Finds

artichoke hearts aubergines black bean sauce Cambridge carrots chives clove Falafel feta guacamole hannah graham kale lemon rind lentils mango chutney market place noodle bar pak choy pancetta polenta sarah and shelly's star anise street food Tab Van of Life

Dedicated journalist that I am, I have selflessly trawled the streets of Cambridge, sampling food from a wide selection of vans, to bring you the best examples of Cambridge street food.

Van of Life

Location: Market Place

Perfect for: The Drunks.

You know the feeling. You’re staggering out of Cindies/Lola’s/Life/Fez/the bedroom of a person who looked attractive in the dim light of one of the aforementioned clubs, and you really need a snack to fortify you for the drunken lurch home. Where better than the famed Van of Life? (Technically called the Trailer of Life, there seems to be a rule in Cambridge that you can’t call things by their actual name.) Serving up delicious burgers, chips and more unusual items such as fajitas since 1992, the Van of Life serves food which, unusually for a late night fast food joint, is genuinely pretty good sober. In fact this guy claims it’s the best food he’s found in the whole of the UK, which is…fine…

Better the trailer than the club

NOT to be confused with the Van of Death (aka Uncle Frank’s, a name which I’ve always found somewhat sinister). Admittedly it’s cheaper, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t take anything ‘Uncle Frank’ had to offer without at least half a bottle of vodka inside me.

Sarah and Shelly’s

Location: Market Place

Perfect for: The Great British Breakfast

This place looks pretty non-descript, serving standard British-van-type food – bacon, eggs, burgers, sausage. Don’t let this put you off, however, because it serves the best bacon buttie you will ever eat. Honestly, it’s amazing. My dad and I came to visit Cambridge when I was considering applying, and I’m pretty sure that our breakfast courtesy of Sarah and Shelly was one of the main reasons I applied here. Go for the baguette: at £2.50 for generous quantities of thick, quality bacon filling the warm, crusty bread, this has got to be the best pig-based bargain in Cambridge.

Cambridge Crepes

Location: Sidney St.

Perfect for: A Sweet Treat.

I love pancakes. I love pancakes with nutella, I love pancakes with cream, I love pancakes with nuts, apples, bananas, lemon, sugar, cheese, ham, chocolate, strawberries, cinnamon, eggs, bacon spinach… and so on. What I particularly love about Cambridge crepes is the effort they’ve gone to to cover their van with every possible combination of their selection of ingredients – you’d think they could have just listed each ingredient, but no. Aside from the detailed decoration the pancakes, sweet and savoury, are delicious, but be prepared to queue at peak times.

Street food not neat food

Taste of Cambridge

Location: Market St.

Perfect for: Vegetarians And/Or The Very Middle Class

Friendly not only to veggies but to vegans as well, Taste of Cambridge offers a fantastic range of freshly prepared wraps… so long as you like falafel. With such varied dishes as falafel with salad; falafel with mango chutney and falafel with aubergines and carrots, this stall truly has something for everyone. In a move which shocked regulars, Taste of Cambridge recently expanded their menu to include pizza wraps, which feature mozzarella, tomatoes and various toppings, none of which include falafel, so even if you’re not a fan of mushed-up deep fried chickpeas you can still sample their delectable cuisine. All the food and packaging is fair trade/locally sourced/organic/recycled/hand-knitted by Himalayan peasants and they support various charities, so this really is lunch with a clear conscience. And those falafels are pretty damn tasty.

Meat is so 2000 and late

The Noodle Bar

Location: Market Place

Perfect for: A satisfying MSG hit.

Cheap (£3-£5), generous portions, tasty noodles. What more is there to say? The staff are friendly (although I’m not sure they really understood my request for ‘the dish that best epitomises your food’ but that’s probably more my fault) and the food takes no time at all. Also the noodles I tried tasted like that perfect Chinese that I always crave when I’m drunk, but can never get my hands on, which is definitely a point in the Noodle Bar’s favour.