Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Local Heroes: EAT! Festival

I love to eat.

Luckily, my family love to eat too so when my mam had eagle-eyedly spotted that EAT! festival in Newcastle was taking place again earlier last month, I couldn't say no to sampling some of the region's best local and international food on offer. As part of the EAT! festival, Boiler Shop Steamer had extended their usual monthly event to 4 days. The event features street food, local ales and live music and takes place in the incredible surroundings of the Boiler Shop - where Robert Louis Stephenson's Rocket was built. How's that for a claim to fame?!

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Fenwick's Food Hall were running a stall with lots of local chilli-based products, there were also some seriously hot sauces there (even for me, I have an asbestos mouth when it comes to hot and spicy food)

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Entry cost £4 and to buy most of the goodies on offer, you had to buy however many tokens of your choosing, each of which cost £3. There was so much choice on offer, we bought additional tokens to our original 3 as we couldn't whittle it down to just 3 dishes.

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We started off with a spicy green papaya salad from Tasty Thai Deli. This was one of my favourites of the day. The salad was the perfect combination of sweet, sour, spicy and tangy, which tasted wonderfully fresh. Next time round I'd have it "Thai spicy" as we were with my slightly chilli-phobic mam at the time.

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Next, we had a beef and horseradish pizza from Pizzette, an affiliate of Marco Polo in Newcastle. Pizzette is a converted 70s van which has a woodfire pizza oven. The pizzas are made from scratch and were ready to eat within two minutes. For me, the peas was an unnecessary addition and there wasn't enough horseradish. However, the base and the sauce was superb. There were other interesting flavours on offer such as Pear and Pecorino which we unfortunately didn't have time, nor money nor room in our bellies to try.

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Goat curry with fried plantains. I unfortunately cannot remember who was doing this but the curry was lovely - nice, tender meat with great flavour. The plantains were nicely fried with a sort of caramelised effect.

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Another one of my favourites, jumbo pork dumplings from Lulu's Kitchen. I've always been a big fan of Chinese dumplings but these were just to die-for! Lulu regularly does pop-up kitchens and workshops so be sure to keep an eye out for her!

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To say the least, when Mam suggested we go for Octopus stew from Marco Polo, I was very hesitant. But in the name of research I gave it go. And I'm so glad I did. The octopus was cooked perfectly with a nice, tender texture instead of the usual, rubbery one. To think we had octopus for only £3!

Boiler Shop Steamer is on every first weekend of the month on Friday and Saturday. Be sure to check it out if you're in the area.

Boiler Shop Steamer, Sussex Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne. Find out more on their Facebook page or their Twitter account.

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