Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
You probably know all about The Hunger Stage by now. If not, where have you been!?
It’s our mission to give food at festivals the love that it truly deserves – because let’s face it, these days, the edible line-ups are almost as exciting as the musical ones.
Step onto a field today and you’ll find katsu, poke and banh mi stalls alongside your standard burger and pizza trucks…but what’s the ultimate festival food?
Throughout the summer, we’ve been asking you, dear Twisted reader, to vote over on our Instagram, and the results are IN (well, almost).
Twisted’s Hunger Stage Line-Up – the ultimate festival food
After weeks of polling, we’ve whittled down 32 of the most popular choices of festival scran, and now, we’re left with an official top eight.
Don’t worry if your fave hasn’t made the cut, all the rest of the dishes will still form part of our fantasy line-up… let’s call them the support acts.
But first things first, behold the foods that have made it onto the official Twisted main stage.
In no particular order, the top eight are:
No surprises here. Pizza is an excellent shout when you need a big feed at a festival – it’s fresh, substantial and suitably carby.
You can just as easily share it with your mates whilst watching your favourite band or hurriedly scoff the whole thing on a raging hangover.
Top it with something jazzy like truffle or nduja if you want to spoil yourself, or go for a simple marg if you’re feeling fragile.
Sure, it’s not the most adventurous option, but it’s a safe one, and done right it’s always gonna please the crowds.
Twisted’s top choice: Green Pepper Red Tomato – a lovely little Bath-based festival food stall from the folks at Dough Pizza. They’re Glasto legends and regulars at loads of the big festivals throughout the summer.
This one threw us a bit, ngl. We gave Mac n Cheese its own category and you picked the standard pasta stall instead!?
Still, we do think pasta is a very solid festival choice in its own right. It’s the kinda food you pick when you want something quick, comforting and reliable. Slopped on a plate in seconds, you slather it with cheese and straight down the hatch it goes.
It should also be said that you can actually get really great pasta at some festivals these days. We’re talking freshly made pasta dough and parmesan cheese wheels galore.
Twisted’s top choice: The Cheese Wheel UK – originally from Camden Market, these guys do pasta-to-go properly – no messing around. When they’re not slinging spaghetti from their market stall they can also be found at BST festival, so keep an eye out for them next year!
3) Chicken Burger
Ah, the trusty chicken burger. Who wouldn’t want one of these when the Hunger Stage hits?
There are several reasons a burger reigns supreme. It’s portable, compact and you can eat it on the go – a very important factor to consider when racing from your tent to the main stage to catch an artist you wanna see.
And…well, we all love fried chicken don’t we? Shove it in a bun and it’s easier to scoff. Win, win.
Twisted’s top choice: Rad Burger – hailing from Whitstable harbour, Rad Burger have popped up at Glastonbury with their incredible chicken burgers (other fillings are available). Their pictures speak for themselves, don’t miss ’em!
4) Chicken Wings
A substantially messier way of consuming fried chicken, eating wings at a festival is a risk, but it’s a risk worth taking.
Sometimes you just need some deep fried goodness, and that’s what a chicken wing provides. Drizzle on a punchy hot sauce and awaken your senses (you probably need it).
Just make sure you bring a spare t-shirt for when you inevitably spill this meal down yourself…
Twisted’s top choice: Mexican Seoul – hailing from Wing Fest (where Twisted crowned them champions), these guys sell Mexican and Korean inspired chicken wings with flavours like you’ve never tasted before. They’ve hit up Glasto for the last couple of years, and they have a bricks and mortar site in London’s Bow, too!
5) Beef Burger
A beef burger is the original fast food option, of course it was one of your top eight.
Juicy beef, melty American cheese, some sorta mayo, a brioche bun… there’s a reason that it worked for Ronald McDonald.
As with the chicken burger, this bad boy is great on the move, easily devoured and feeds you up when you need it most.
You’re not looking for bells and whistles, you’re looking for a hearty meal to fuel your raving…but pick a good’n and it could very well be a festival highlight.
Twisted’s top choice: Burger and Beyond – nobody does a festival beef burger as well as these guys. With three branches across London, you’ll also often find them in a field – Glasto being their most recent venture.
Chicken wings and BBQ food? You guys aren’t messing about with this line-up, are you?
We totally get it, though. What cures a grumbling stomach better than sinking your teeth into a messy, meaty feast?
The smell of grilling meat wafts through the air, it lures you in. There’s something distinctly summery about eating BBQed food at a festival, too.
Get yourself in the spirit of the occasion, even if the weather isn’t!
Twisted’s top choice: From the Ashes – these guys have a few pop-up locations across London, but they are also slinging BBQed meat at festivals. With everything from pulled pork buns to Del Piero doughnuts, this year they hit up BST, Smoke and Fire and Red Rooster festivals, as well as several craft beer ones.
Ah, the kebab.
Traditionally, this order says ‘it’s 2am and I need sustenance.’ It’s for when you wanna scoff as much meat as you can in a 10 minute period and then fall asleep with garlic sauce still around your mouth.
All of the above may still true, but at festivals these days, you can actually get pretty incredible kebabs.
They might one day have been thought of as one of the less sexy festival foods, but you just need to know where to find a good one.
Twisted’s top choice: Kebab Cartel – using the best rotisserie meats and Turkish and Middle Eastern flavours, this street food stall trades at markets up and down the country, and is a regular at festivals including Glasto, Latitude, Boardmasters and Tramlines (keep an eye out if you have any of these coming up!).
8) Bacon Butty
If you looked up ‘how do you cure a sore head?’ in the dictionary, the bacon butty would be there.
Thus, it’s inarguable that it’s a pretty fantastic festival food choice – well chosen, guys.
Savoury, smoky, salty and smothered in ketchup… forget about breakfast, at a festival you could very well order one at any time of day and it’d be guaranteed to sort you right out.
Twisted’s top choice: The Jolly Hog – Bristol born Jolly Hog might be a regular on your supermarket shelf, but they’re at festivals too, slinging their sausages and bacon to hungry punters. They call their stall their pigsty, and it’s definitely worth tracking down.
Oh, and you didn’t think it ended there, did you?
Next, we’re going to be asking you to vote for a top four festival foods, so keep an eye on our Insta stories.
Then, we’ll be taking the vote IRL and casting votes at some more festivals this summer in order to crown this summer’s festival food headliner.
It’s gonna be a tight race – stay tuned!
Featured image: Kebab Cartel