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Food on the move: pop-ups and food trucks

A caravan selling tea? A restaurant in a laboratory? A trailer dispensing hot dogs? Pop-up restaurants and food trucks are really gathering momentum in South Africa. Those who are fanatical about their gourmet snacks (and those who just love trying something new) have been hunting for on-the-go foods on street corners, in unexpected venues and in moving vehicles around the country.

The street food trend started in America, but South Africa has quickly picked up on it. We have rounded up everyone we can find (because you know, these places aren’t called secret restaurants for nothing), from chefs offering fine dining in underground venues to entrepreneurs in old-school trailers, caravans and stands. Some of these are hush-hush and some are trending on Twitter, but they all have one thing in common – great food experiences.

Johannesburg

Dinner-in-the-Sky is a table for 22 that is elevated into the air by a crane. The crane is based at Cedar Square at the moment, and is available to the public once a month. A great idea for big groups and celebrations, the experience can be yours for R180 per person for breakfast and R525 per person for dinner. Bookings can be made through Computicket.

Eat 360 is a pop-up restaurant created by renowned chef Arnold Tanzer that moves through inner city Johannesburg. The fan club is alerted via an email newsletter and the venue is revealed on the day of the event via SMS. To join in the fun, follow @eatpopup on Twitter or email arnold@foodonthemove.co.za.

Full of Beans is a mobile eatery serving coffee and confectioneries like sandwiches, wraps, salads and brownies to the central Johannesburg area. Full of Beans takes the form of a three-wheeler Piaggio-TriVespa scooter. The scooter currently operates in the Norwood and Woodmead areas from Monday to Friday. Contact Marcio Mordoh on marcio@fullofbeans.co.za or Teresa Mordoh on teresa@fullofbeans.co.za, or find out more on their website.

Longtom Foods is a mobile stand offering hot dogs, steak rolls and boerie rolls, which you can find (at the moment) on the corner of 11th Street and Marie Avenue in Parkmore, Sandton. Choose from a variety of sauces such as piccalilli, peri-peri and smoky sweet chilli. Longtom also caters for events, festivals and parties. Call Glenn on 083 301 6145 or email glenn@longtomfoods.co.za for more information. Visit the website on http://www.longtomfoods.co.za.

The Supper Lounge is a concept created by Katrin Starzmann and Ellie Gorgievska. The idea is that, while you’re having a superb meal, you can enjoy the opportunity to meet like-minded people, swap stories and get to know them better. Currently running in Cape Town, The Supper Lounge is soon coming to Johannesburg. Visit http://www.supperlounge.com for more information.

Underground Dinners are organised on a monthly basis by The Forum Company at the Turbine Hall in the city centre. Be treated to gourmet cuisine and fine music for R295 per head, which includes a three-course dinner and welcome drink. Book by contacting Hazel on 087 310 3888 or underground@theforum.co.za.

Cape Town

3 Bags Full will be hosting a pop-up dinner in Riebeek Kasteel called Soul Food on Monday 6 August 2012. The tickets are R150 each for a three-course menu or R125 for a two course menu, and the event will take place at Ed’s Diner at The Barn. Follow them on Twitter @3BagsFullSA or call 0812552628 for more information.

Lady Bonin’s Tea Parlour is a bohemian caravan offering a modern tea service. Jessica Bonin is the pioneer behind the mobile tea room and teas are sourced organically and from Fairtrade farms. Lady Bonin’s Tea Parlour can be found at the Biscuit Mill every Saturday during the Neighbourgoods Market. She also caters to private functions and festivals. Send an email to ladybonin@gmail.com or call 083 628 2504. Visit http://www.ladybonin.com/ and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

The Limoncello food truck, established by Luca Castiglione, owner and chef from the now-closed Limoncello Restaurant, operates under the Cape Town Food Trucks brand. Offering Italian cuisine, the truck’s ‘kitchen’ has an oven for baking pastries and pizzas. Find it at the Ouderkraal market on Wednesdays, at the Neighbourgoods Market on Saturdays or at the Blaauwklippen Market every Sunday. The truck is also available to hire for private functions.

The Outlandish Kitchen sets up pop-up kitchens on mountains or in valleys around the Cape. Farmers and artisan producers from the local area supply the produce and a celebrated chef from the area brings the ingredients together to create a truly local and delicious feast. Like them on Facebook or call 076 798 9721 to find out more.

The Pop-Up Project will launch their first restaurant playground in a gallery space in Mouille Point. It will take place over three weekends under the Pink Roof, Bay Road, Mouille Point on 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18 August at 7.30pm. Dinner will be a three-course meal at R340 per person. Email info@popupproject.co.za for more information.

The Supper Lounge is a concept created by Katrin Starzmann and Ellie Gorgievska. The idea is that, while you’re having a superb meal, you can enjoy the opportunity to meet like-minded people, swap stories and get to know them better. Find a Supper Lounge event in your city and book a seat by registering on http://www.supperlounge.com and logging in.

The Toffie Food Festival is available for special requests and bookings of 10 people or more, and they also collaborate with Cara Brink to create pop-up restaurants. The next event, with a science lab theme, will be in the Secret Shop somewhere in the Cape Town CBD. (Location will be revealed on the day.) Keep the dates between 26-29 September 2012 and 3-6 October 2012 open, and budget for R350 per person (including wine). Send an e-mail to secret@thepresident.co.za to book.

Nationwide

Die Wors-Rol sells gourmet sausage rolls in a trailer emblazoned with a saucy lady called Betsie, their pin-up mascot. Die Wors-Rol caters for private functions, office parties, festivals and even beach parties. The speciality, created by Chef Bertus Basson of Overture Restaurant, consists of a toasted white roll, a 22cm long pork sausage from Sweetwell Farm, ketchup, mustard made according to Bertus’s family recipe, and fries. Contact Bertus on bertus@bertusbasson.com or visit the website http://www.dieworsrol.co.za/ for more information. Follow them on Twitter @DieWorsRol to find out where Betsie will be next.

By Kelly Pluke

Photographs of Die Wors-rol by Claire Louise Thomas; and of Lady Bonin’s Tea Parlour by Padraic O’Meara (featured on home page and top of this page) and Stu Shapiro (bottom of this page).

Have we missed one of your favourite fly-by-nighters? Let us know.

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