This article has been a long time coming. Over a period of three months I asked as many people as I could what their favourite food stall was at the monthly piazza market so I could crown Warwick’s winner. In my quest to discover the best market stall, I was shocked to find that a lot of people at Warwick have simply never bought anything from the street food market.
This is a travesty. We need the market. Warwick’s other options simply do not compare. Bar Fusion can sometimes be satisfying (gotta give a shout out to those chunky chips). Varsity is pleasing but everything they sell is beige, covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. I once paid £9 for a sandwich and chips at Xananas. Curiositea is fabulous but nothing there really constitutes a meal. Same for the cakes sold in the Arts Centre. I am yet to explore most of the academic department cafés and have faith that the library café’s crepes and Social Sciences’ waffles will make me happy but NONE of these places could ever compare to the monthly Wednesday street food market.
As a person who has only eaten meat once in the past three months, my soul was lifted by the presence of actual flavour in my food…
The market is a treasure. Talking in-depth to some of the 100 people I asked, most of whom were strangers, I received some very passionate answers and judgements (as well as hostility and confusion about why the hell I was talking to them). There was a lot of love expressed for baked goods, mostly the huge brownies sold by Scratch Bakers. I could sense some people’s cultural ties to certain stalls, like Indian Kitchen, which is completely vegetarian and possesses, as I noted on my piece of paper the day I ate there, “F.L.A.V.O.U.R”. As a person who has only eaten meat once in the past three months, my soul was lifted by the presence of actual flavour in my food. A fan of Mister V said that they appreciated the consistently good customer service, delicious burgers and reasonable price. Side note: to all the haters who claim that the food at the market is overpriced, double-check the prices at Fusion then come back to me. One person longed for a stall which no longer exists at the market, which sold hog roast sandwiches complete with applesauce and stuffing. Vegans raved about Fresh Rootz. There were a surprising number of votes for Halloumi Fries, even though those people are content with literally just eating cheese for lunch. Alas, none of these were the winners.
I praise each and every one of the stalls for providing enriching and fresh lunchtime options. But the most votes went to a stall you might already be able to guess. It was actually a tie until I received my last answer from a rogue respondent to my survey on Snapchat. Winning the title of (The University of) Warwick’s Favourite Street Food Market Stall (if you multiply my statistics by 20) is Sharian’s Cuisine! This marks a day of celebration for students of Jamaican heritage. I am sad to admit that I have not had the pleasure to even taste their food, but I am frequently tempted to abandon vegetarianism to taste jerk chicken again. The line at the black-tented stall is always super long, with people still lining up for generous portion sizes well after 3pm has passed and most of the other stalls have started packing up. Jerk pork, jerk chicken and chicken wraps with rice and peas are on offer and you can smell that the meat has been marinated for hours. Even Levi Roots thinks it’s excellent, according to the stall’s website, calling it “THE BEST CARIBBEAN FOOD IN BIRMINGHAM!” There are a lot of people of Caribbean descent in Birmingham and a lot of them sell food, so this is a high honour.
I just walk into fudge stores in quaint English towns to pick my free sample, enjoy my free sample and leave upon realising how much you actually have to pay for it…
In second place was the always popular Buddha Belly, whose voters chose it with conviction and passion. Halloumi Fries came third, followed by Flying Cows and Freshly Baked Pizza tied in fourth place. Fifth place was Churros and Chocolate. Pancakes, samosas, dumplings and doughnuts were all spoken highly of. Shout out to the stall that sells cheese (Warwick is quite firmly middle class but not quite that fancy) and the one that sells fudge. Does anyone buy fudge? Like ever? I just walk into fudge stores in quaint English towns to pick my free sample, enjoy my free sample and leave upon realising how much you actually have to pay for it. Also lacking votes were Chili Dogs, Taste of Persia, Cider Company and Mrs Mills Makes Cakes. They just couldn’t compete with Warwick’s passion for hot saucy meat.
So there it is. No matter what your personal favourite is, keep supporting these small businesses because firstly, they make delicious food and are all run by really nice people and secondly, you deserve better than what Rootes or Fusion can offer you, at least once a month. Make sure you look out for when the stalls are next on.