Cardiff Street Food

I've now witnessed several cities as they embarrass the mobile food truck scene.  It's been frustrating and nail-biting all at the same time (I'm talking to you Greensboro). I even did a research project during my undergraduate degree on this exact topic. Truth be known, restaurants hate them (it's hard to compete with a food trucks overhead and mobility), and cities may see them as code violating, ugly, additions to the town landscape. Yet a simply truth remains, you have to be really, really, good at food or you're not going to last long in the food-truck industry.. In fact, street food is an industry where you're either going to be good at it or fail at it very quickly. There is no learning curve. Your reputation and respect rely solely on how good your product is, and how well you prepare your food.

Of course, if you know me, I'd take street-food any day of the week  over a five-star restaurant. So when I heard that a hip new venue appeared in Cardiff, where street food was at the center of it all. I'll admit, I was tiny bit excited. In fact, this exact concept was almost identical to one I suggested for use in North Carolina at the Old Steel Plant. Like there, here in Cardiff, the building  consists of an old industrial building on Dumballs Road (a very unique place). It's completely dark, and it all seems a bit shady for someone a bit unfamiliar with the area. A strange man with a tally-counter stands outside a door where you enter down a long hall, like something out of Torchwood. I ask, "Is this...." and before I can finish he replies, " is." Down a couple more corridors and the smoke starts filling the corridor. Through a plastic curtain, and suddenly you're there, a giant space filled with trailers and food. The music is playing, a football match is projected on to the wall, and the smells are enough to make you run to a queue like a child excited to ride the Tea-Cups at Euro Disney.

I grabbed a beer, walked around, and was overwhelmed with choices like churros and chocolate, burritos, or what I finally decided on, wood-fired pizza. I sat myself on a tractor tire and enjoyed myself to bits. So much so that I considered a second round. However, I decided to control myself and simply relax in the near-Burning-Man feel of hipster gastronomy.

When I left, the line to enter was wrapped around the building like some hip dance club. I suddenly regretted my decision to stick to a single portion. Needless to say, if heaven does exists, than it's here, somewhere down Dumballs Road in Cardiff. This place has changed my entire view of street-food here in the Capital City. It throws down gauntlet to overpriced city restaurants with poor food, and reclaims the night to those who are lucky enough to get in. While others sleep, we eat. It just goes to prove that the brightest lights are oft at the end of the darkest alleys.


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