I could have sworn I had just walked into an episode of The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives – Food Trucks Edition, when I arrived at the Jo’burg leg of the Visa Street Food Festival this past weekend. On what has been the warmest day of Spring so far, the Common Ground in Maboneng had been transformed into a soiree of local food entrepreneurs showcasing their unique talents for all of the Guy Fieri wannabes in attendance to enjoy.
The festival’s extensive offering of local and internationally inspired street cuisines meant that I was spoilt for choice. But in true foodie spirits (or maybe just the spirit of “let’s eat everything we can get our hands on” that has taken control of my cravings for the past month), I managed to come up with a carefully selected menu to satisfy every one of my taste buds. Gourmet cheese griller for starters, sticky pork belly on a bed of Asian slaw for mains, and a refreshing scoop of sorbet-like strawberry ice cream for dessert.
In between courses, I made my way to the NOLA #CreateAStir stand which was graced by the infectious presence of Celebrity Chef, Mokgadi Itsweng, who showcased a mini food festival of her own. The complimentary canapés of local delicacies on offer, accompanied by one on one recipe advice by Chef Mokgadi herself quickly turned my three-course meal into five memorable courses. Chef Mokgadi and her team served delicious bite sized wraps filled with pulled beef and slaw, topped with a spicy twist to traditional mayonnaise. Also on the NOLA #CreateAStir menu, were freshly deep-fried chicken wings that melted in my mouth.
I was pleasantly surprised by chef Mokgadi’s willingness to share her hot recipes with me, and just as I was beginning to think I had craftily extracted this information from her with perfect finesse, I learnt that every NOLA #CreateAStir recipe is available on their Facebook Page. I think it is safe to say my ego was saved from bruising by the overall fun experience my afternoon at the Street Food Festival was. So much so that I thought happily to myself in my best Guy Fieri voice “that’s all for this episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives!”