Bangkok Street Food Vibes at Zaap Thai

Leeds is a pretty good place to be a Thai food addict – there are so many fantastic restaurants both in Leeds city centre and in the surrounding suburbs that you could go out for Thai every night for several weeks and never visit the same place twice (or have a bad meal!). But out of all of them, Zaap Thai might just be my new undisputed favourite. After a fairly average first visit I gave the place a second chance and am so glad I did, because now the food seems to get better every time I visit. I particularly love their starters – so much so that I am now more likely to order a tapas-style banquet of chicken satay, fish cakes and dumplings for my meal instead of a main.

Chicken satay at Zaap Thai Leeds

However the food isn’t the only reason I love Zaap. For me the thing that really sets it apart is the decor and the atmosphere – as soon as I step through the door I feel like I’ve been transported back to my time in Bangkok, perching at a kerbside table with a curry and a beer that cost me less than £1, simultaneously disorientated and intoxicated by the choreographed chaos going on around me. Unfortunately the prices at Zaap aren’t quite as low, but they’re as good as you’ll get in Leeds and the rest of the experience is fairly close. Continue reading

Leeds’ Best Street Food: Spring 2015

For hardcore foodies, relationships with your favourite food servers are almost as serious as your relationships with people, and when we’re talking restaurants vs. street food there’s an easy comparison to draw. Your favourite restaurants are like a long-term partner; you know what you’re getting, you know where to find them when you want them, and you know they’re always going to be there for you. Street food vendors are more like a casual fling – it’s not going to last forever and one day they might just disappear without a reason or a goodbye, but that’s ok. You both know you’re going to have fun while it lasts, and the transience of it makes you savour it all the more.

However all too often, flings end up feeling underappreciated and ignored. Long term partners get pride of place in Facebook profile pictures and are praised as our #bae who makes us feel #blessed, while any reference to a past fling is hurriedly shushed and swept under the carpet. We don’t want our favourite street food stalls to feel that way, and so we praise, and tweet…and blog! They could move on at any time, and possibly already have, but these have been my favourite street food vendors of the past few months.

Dim Sum Su

This is some damn fine Cantonese food. I’ve encountered Dim Sum Su several times this year and have been over the moon with my choice every time. Steamed dumplings are pretty much a staple of this stall but they keep it varied, offering different delicious fillings at almost every event. My favourite nibble, however, is the ‘guo bao’, a steamed bun filled with pork belly or duck and sprinkled with spring onions and peanuts. The bun is incredibly soft and the meat is fall-apart-in-your-mouth tender… In fact I’m drooling a little bit just thinking about it. I’m gonna stop.

Dim Sum Su steamed buns

Patty Smith’s

Patty Smith’s have made themselves at home in the Belgrave Music Hall for the time being, but as they do travel around (and are awesome) I’m giving them a mention anyway. This is probably my favourite burger joint in Leeds; their Dirty Burger skips the crazy toppings and showmanship of my other go-to Almost Famous and instead keeps it simple with perfectly cooked meat, pickles and incredible sauce in a brioche bun. Don’t forget to grab a stack of napkins when you collect it – these babies get gloriously messy.

Pizza Fella

I discovered Pizza Fella on the word of a work colleague this week and they’re threatening to hijack all my lunches. My pepperoni pizza was made fresh in front of me in their wood fired oven and the proof was in the taste – the tomato was beautiful and the topping was authentic pepperoni sausage, not the cheap substitute that often ruins a promising pepperoni pizza. My friend and I shared one pizza between us and found it just the right amount of food for a lunchtime, and even if you’re feeling greedy, at £6 a pizza it doesn’t break the bank!

Pizza Fella Leeds

The Punch Stop

Not technically ‘food’, but you always need something to wash down your meal, right? I found The Punch Stop at Leeds Dock Market back in April and was immediately seduced by their cute stand, all chalk boards, fairy lights and pretty tale decorations. Their Lemon Fizz – prosecco with limoncello – was something a bit different that I had to try, but my favourite was their Spiked Cooler – apple and raspberry mixed with gin and garnished with a sprig of mint. If I ever get married, I want them catering my wedding!

Northern Bloc

If you’ve got room for dessert, it has to be Northern Bloc. I hope these guys are sticking around for the summer, because if not I’m seriously worried about where I’m going to get my ice cream. All ingredients are locally sourced and they have a real knack for putting unique spins on even the most established of flavours (see: chocolate & sea salt, roasted strawberry, vanilla & bourbon…). With so many crazy combinations on offer I generally sample something new every time I go, but I’m particularly drawn to the Earl Grey and lemon sorbet. Was there ever any chance I wouldn’t like tea-flavoured ice cream?

Northern Bloc ice cream