Review: Big Feed Launch

This weekend saw the launch of an exciting new venture for the Glasgow food scene – the first indoor street food showcase, Big Feed.  There has been a lot of press and a big build up to this event, with top street food vendors like Shrimp Wreck, The Cheesy Toast Shack and Chompsky attending, so it’s no surprise that attendance at the launch on Saturday was through the roof.

Based in Govan, Big Feed launched on Saturday at 12pm, featuring food stands from Nomad Pizza, Fizz Buz, Campervan Brewery, Freddy & Hicks, Street Food Putter Club, Moo Pie Gelato and more.  I arrived at around 1.45pm, and it was already at the stage where they were operating a one in, one out system.  Each food truck had huge, chaotic queues that stretched into every corner, and it quickly became clear we’d be waiting a while before we got to eat anything.

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The space itself is really charming, decorated with fairy lights and wooden pallets, adding a very rustic, festival feel to the room.  There was live music playing and a really good buzz about the place, with each stand working hard to keep up with the insane demand.

I had been waiting to try the food at Shrimp Wreck after hearing such great things about it and decided to join the queue, which just so happened to also be the longest.  The reason for this is that the fish is all fresh and cooked to order, there’s no big vat full of greasy fish waiting to be dumped on a tray, each person gives their order and the prawns or fillets of fish are then grilled or coated in batter and fried before your eyes, so it’s not entirely surprising that it was slow moving.

Thankfully, my friends had already jumped ship to the Chompsky queue, who were offering barbacoa pulled pork and spicy pulled chicken burritos.  Even more impressive, they managed to grab the last three burritos before Chompsky sold out at around 3pm, despite the fact the event was open until 10pm!  I was still waiting in the Shrimp Wreck line, but I happily devoured the pulled pork burrito as I waited.

The burrito itself was filled with delicious pulled pork, pickled red onion, lime sour cream, corn salsa, guacamole and coriander, and it was worth the wait.  Every flavour and texture was well balanced, with sweet, sour, creamy and spicy elements all wrapped in a flour tortilla.  I was so happy we managed to bag the last three, but felt incredibly sorry for the many people behind us who had been waiting only to be told there was no food left.  Surely it can only be a testament to the high quality of the food and the demand for something like this?

While I continued to wait, my friends nipped off to the Campervan Brewery stall and brought me back a half pint of their ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ beer – the only one they had left at this stage – a milk stout infused with coconut, dark chocolate and vanilla pods.  I’m not usually a big beer fan but I actually really enjoyed this.  The flavours listed were quite subtle and not overpowering, and it certainly kept me going while I stood in line!

After about an hour and a half waiting, I finally got our Shrimp Wreck order, and though I’m not sure I want to wait 1.5 hours for it again, the food was incredible.  I ordered a portion of Salt & Chilli squid and some sweet potato fries as, at this point, they had sold out of their signature shrimp tempura burger.  The squid was perfectly cooked, with a deliciously salty and slightly spicy crumb coating, and served with lime and sweet chilli mayo.  The chips as well, which were cooked to order alongside the fish, were crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside and well-seasoned with lots of lovely sea salt.

As we sat down and enjoyed our feast, we noticed how many of the food stalls had closed signs, were sold out, or only had a few items left, and this was only four hours into a ten hour event.  It’s clear that the organisers, and the food traders, were not expecting this level of attendance, and because of this, the event was both a huge success and a slight failure.

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I heard and saw many people complaining that they had waited in long, confusing queues only to be told there was nothing left, with many people paying the £1 entry fee, seeing how busy the place was, and simply turning around and leaving.  There is another event planned for two weeks time, on the 25th March, and it’ll definitely be interesting to see what changes are made to improve the many issues this launch had.  It would have been a much smoother opening if the event had been ticketed so that numbers could be anticipated and capped, and it certainly would have helped if there had been more traders available and a clearer queueing system in place.

Despite this, the sheer volume of people who came to the event shows that the idea is a great one, and people want to flock to it, so there is definitely potential.  Regardless of the long waiting times, I can’t praise the food highly enough.  Everything I ate was delightful, especially that squid from Shrimp Wreck.  Yes, I had certainly hoped to be able to sample some of the other vendors while I was there, and yes I’m disappointed, but the food I did try was fantastic, and in fact everyone I spoke to who did manage to eat something, was raving about how delicious it was.  If the details can be ironed out and improved, this could become one of the go-to foodie places in Glasgow, and I’m really looking forward to seeing that happen.

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