The British Street Food Awards will be hosted at Hackney Bridge this weekend (September 9-11).

Chosen from across the UK, 12 finalists will compete to become British champion and represent the country in the European Street Food Awards in Munich on October 7-9.

Richard Johnson, who founded the Awards in 2010, said: "Hackney and east London is where this iteration of street food really began: all around Brick Lane, Shoreditch, Hoxton.

"I worked with places that were almost like food raves where it was a little bit edgy and that was very much rooted in east end culture and sound systems so its lovely to be able to come back."

He said this year features a lot of plant-based foor and "lots of creole, lots of Japanese influences".

"We've got fresh sushi blowtorched in front of the customer," he said. "We've got a dessert illusionist. We've got Indian. So it really is a huge range."

Richard said his appreciation of street food developed while he was working as a restaurant critic.

"Street food was more democratic," he said. "You got more bang for your buck and you could meet the person who ran the business.

"Restaurants aren't the be all and end all that they used to be. They are really struggling to survive at the moment and lots of restaurant chefs are pivoting into street food because it's much easier to make a living working on the streets.

"Plus, since the pandemic it feels more appealing as a lifestyle - in charge of your own menu, taking your food to the people and seeing their reactions. When you cook, you want that interaction."

Customers will each get a vote for one winner and a judging panel, including two Hackney Michelin Star chefs and singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, will choose another winner.

Tickets cost £5 and can be bought on the BSFA website at They include a vote per customer and a free beer or rescued fruit mocktail.