Mei Mei Street CartStreet traders are the first to offer the latest food trends, from friands (the new cupcakes) to agua frescas (Mexican drinks). Blondies are the new brownies. Burmese is the new Vietnamese. And tea is the new coffee. That’s what the trend predictors said about 2013, and street food traders are doing their best to keep up with it all. Whether it’s waffles, empanadas or pambazos, the first place you’ll find the latest food trend is on the street.

1. Friands

We used to get excited about cupcakes – not any more. We’re over them. So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the friand. These small French cakes, made with almond flour and egg whites, are light but beautifully chewy and moist. Baked in distinctive banquette moulds, they look like spongy little gold bars. They’re what teatime was made for.

2. Agua frescas

In Yorkshire, people are prepared to take two buses to try Chinampas’s agua frescas. With good reason. Agua frescas – literally translated as “fresh waters” – are the drink of Mexico. Ice-cold and colourful, they’re everywhere from Chiuahua in the north to Chiapas in the south.

3. Jian bing

Heard of the jian bing? It’s not quite a crepe, not quite a burrito, and Mei Mei Street Cart is the first to offer it up in London. The soya milk pancake is cooked fresh to order, sprinkled with spring onion and coriander, brushed with hoisin sauce, chilli and soya bean paste, and folded around roasted duck or char siu honey roast pork. Topped with a fried wonton cracker and it’s good to go.

4. Arepas

People will queue for arepas from Guasacaca in London without knowing exactly what they’re queueing for – such is the buzz around them on Twitter. Arepas are round cornbread patties from Venezuela, two fists big and the team stuff them with shredded beef, black beans, grated cheese, avocado and chicken. Just don’t forget the picante sauce.

5. Smoking

Pickling, brining and smoking were picked out as THE hot trends for Britain this year. But the street isn’t really the place to pickle and brine. Smoking, however – with all its attendant stoking, coking and poking – provides enough theatre to draw a crowd. And the smell will fill a high street. Hall’s Dorset Smokery has been doing it at festivals for years.

Find the entire article by Richard Johnson at The Guardian <here>