GLASGOW’S buzzing street food scene is celebrated in a delicious new book by acclaimed foodie Ailidh Forlan.

The writer credits her love of this growing gastronomic phenomenon to her childhood visits to her grandparents, who lived in Maryhill.

“Grandad loved a good walk, so many of our days out included a trip to the park, where he would buy me a pokey hat from the van parked at the gates,” she recalls.

“Maybe that’s what sparked my love of street food.”

Ailidh adds: “My mum grew up in Maryhill and spent her student days dipping in and out of the many curry houses on Gibson Street, sampling the vegetable pakora.

“Back then, street food didn’t exist in Scotland but given that these crispy golden fritters have been flogged on the streets of Kolkata for decades, you could say Glaswegians were ahead of the times.”

In her book, Street Food Scotland, which includes recipes and interviews, Ailidh devotes a section to Glasgow’s dynamic, thriving street food scene.

“Glaswegians are renowned for their friendliness: everyone is welcome and the concept of a ‘stranger’ doesn’t exist,” she adds. “Is it any wonder the city is well suited to the convivial nature of street food?”

Ailidh, who was a judge at the 2019 Scottish Street Food Awards, has included prominent street food locations such as the Big Feed in Govan, Platform at The Arches and Dockyard Social in Finnieston, in the book, alongside the likes of Gallus Pasta, Ginger & Chilli, Babu Kitchen and Freddy & Hicks.

“Anyone who believes vegetarian food must mean virtuous salads and couscous-stuffed peppers, clearly hasn’t eaten from Freddy & Hicks,” says Ailidh.

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Anna Robertson, the driving force behind Freddy & Hicks, started off with monthly pop-ups in Bakery47 before getting a temporary residence at the CitizenM Hotel. She now trades from a converted horsebox around Glasgow.

“The adrenaline you get from doing a great street food event is like no other,” says Anna in the book. “Whatever we do in Glasgow, no matter where we are trading, the people and customers make it great. They’ll turn up rain and shine and they make this scene a pleasure to be part of.”

Ailidh also catches up with Paula O’Rawe, who runs legendary burger stall Tiny Dancers. For Paula, the quality of ingredients is key - she uses Cumbernauld-based Bavarian Bakehouse for buns, William Cranston’s in Pollokshields for patties and JJ Mellis on Great Western Road for cheese.

“I went there on the first day it opened - I must have been 21 or 22 at the time and I’ve been going there ever since,” she says. “In street food, it’s the passion and interest and care that makes it different from anywhere else.

“It’s easy to do stunt burgers and load them with all the mad, bonkers stuff but I wanted to be the polar opposite of that trend. I wanted to be simple and transparent - good bread, good meat, good cheese.”

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She adds: “There’s an ageless element to street food - it’s so welcoming.”

Ailidh sums it up: “Street food culture is an accessible, affordable way for people to sample some of the best, freshest food in Glasgow,” she says. “It’s also an alternative route for those who are passionate about food to make it their livelihood.”