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Andy Bates is known for his hearty street food. His modern twists on classic dishes are fuelled by his international travels and a passion for re-discovering and cooking great British food. As the gaffer of specialist food company ‘Eat My Pies’, Andy brings the best of British food back to the public, including classic tarts, pies, Scotch eggs and, of course, some tasty puddings.

Andy is a contributing chef for Food Network UK and has already had two successful series broadcast on the channel - Andy Bates Street Feasts and Andy Bates American Street Feasts. His latest series, Andy Bates Brazilian Street Feasts, launched in February 2014. All three series follow him as he travels across continents to explore the world of street food and find the stories and people behind the recipes. As a result, he has become a leading expert on street food, with regular appearances on the street food circuit. Andy, who lives by the quote "You should always finish on a little bit of pudding", has also written a cookbook offering modern twists on classic dishes.

Chef TV Blog Recipes 

On a global food adventure meeting inspiring people along the way.

Filtering by Tag: Abu Dhabi Food Festival

Al Ain & Abu Dhabi - Abu Dhabi Food Festival | Feb. 12-21, 2015

Andy Bates

Madinat Zayad to Al Ain.

Leaving the sand dunes of the western region... we headed to our second destination, Al Ain. An eastern city based on the border next to Oman. Although full of western food outlets (and I can confess to giving in on more than one occasion to Shack Shake), it's also full of hidden gems with cafes serving grilled lebanese and middle eastern spreads with freshly squeezed juices or smoothies. One cafe that particularly stood out was Al Mallah Cafe, a sandwich bar during the day and I seriously recommend the chicken breast and chicken liver sub then after 5:30 pm they fire up the shawerma grills and things get serious (seriously delicious). 


It's good, so good in fact that the wife and I happily spent our Valentine's evening there eating meats with warm hummus and pine nuts served with plates of freshly washed salad and herbs, pickles, warm flatbreads and freshly squeezed mango and banana juice. The whole meal came to under £10 (She’s a lucky lady eh!, I spare no expense on dates out ;)

Now back to the festival, this time it was to be in the centre of town at the Al Jahili Park with a huge fort as the backdrop. The street food traders prepared for their second weekend formulating their menus, poolside may I add. ATE Street Food even sourced some local camel hump for their daily special slider, which mind you sold out in just a few hours. And with the addition of more chefs including Jun Tanaka, Suzanne Husseini, John Quilter, James Walters and a few locals from TV station Fatafeat, the cooking demonstrations now had even more variety with a mix of local cuisine, street food and restaurant dishes all coming together again hosted by the brilliant, Andrew Dickens.

It was busier than anyone expected! I kept myself busy between cooking demos by helping some of the traders, my duties included: collecting boxes of cheese sandwiches from the walk in fridge for The Cheese Truck, boxes of apples for Yogusensi, proved dough for Pizza Pilgrims and peeling 2kg of prawns for Donostia Social Club. The event was a success with all traders selling out on all three nights.

Back at the hotel every evening the traders resembled a Rugby team after a hard fought win. They were all battered, bruised and nursing their wounds but very high in spirits. And their remedy was like that of a Rugby player by heading to the hotel bar. It was affectionately named ‘Power Hour’ (the bar tended to close with less than an hour to go ;). 

With Al Ain done and dusted we headed to the final destination, Abu Dhabi.

Al Ain to Abu Dhabi. 

We all knew it was going to be a busy weekend, so the traders usual three to four day break before each festival had now been cut down to just one day by the pool with days spent sourcing and buying, giving themselves an extra day of prep to get ready for the final weekend of the Abu Dhabi Food Festival.


As I only had cooking demonstrations to do, I had an evening or two to spare and Suzanne Husseini kindly invited the Real Food team, Andrew Dickens, the wife and myself round for dinner. Now I'm lucky enough to work with street food and restaurants for a living but as soon as someone says 'home cooking' I accept instantly and I'm round in a shot! We were not disappointed... Suzanne put on an Arabic feast of all feasts with dishes like whole baked red snapper, homemade hummus, stuffed vine leaves and my favourite, lemony garlic chicken on rice with yoghurt sauce. We all left very happy and very full. Seriously, everyone needs to grab her cook book. 


This time the festival was to be directly on the beach, on the Corniche to be exact. Right in downtown Abu Dhabi where many of the hotels are based.

We were all in a routine now, we were basically a travelling Street Food Festival circus. The Real Food Festival team at the helm getting all the final touches and last minute issues ironed out. The trucks arriving a couple of days before along with the demonstration stage, mobile prep kitchen, fridge and freezer trailers, electrics, plumbing, fencing, music stage, toilets and much, much more. 

The event again went to plan… BUSY! Even in the midst of a sandstorm, all traders sold out again, the kitchen demonstrations were all full houses and you could sense the people were excited and happy to have us in their city. 

I’m honoured to have been part of this journey, working with the traders and organisers as we ventured into the unknown, bringing the first travelling Street Food Festival to the United Arab Emirates. Seeing them go from strength to strength at each festival in stunning locations with road trips, hotel breakfasts and some bad dancing sprinkled along the way. And of course being out of London for three weeks in February in the sunshine is never a bad thing. Returning back to Blighty, I think we all felt a feeling of ‘MISSON SUCCESSFUL!'

Roll on to next year…

Abu Dhabi to Heathrow. Heathrow to Hackney. 


Andy Bates

And the journey begins… Hackney to Heathrow, Heathrow to Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi to Madinat Zayad. 

Upon my arrival, I meet with the British street food traders at the hotel on the eve of the first night. They flew in several days before and their trucks shipped from the UK, a journey that took four weeks on a boat. They've been sourcing and preparing local ingredients, everyone's in high spirits and looking forward to the next three weeks.

Our first destination is the western region town of Madinat Zayad, right in the middle of the desert! (or dessert as I’ve been picked up upon calling it on twitter ;) The venue is Madinat Zayad Public Park, a lush and beautiful park surrounded by palm trees making it a mini oasis. A first for everyone trading in the streetfood scene I believe? 

Everyones been hard at work, the sun is shining and most importantly everything seems to have arrived (just in the nick of time), all thanks to the tremendous work of the team from Real Food Festival as they have put their all into these events for over six months to make it happen (Bravo!). Their goal, to be the first to bring street food festivals to the Abu Dhabi Emirate. 

So what am I here to do? Well, they've incorporated a cooking demo stage and I’ve been asked along with some of the traders to do some cooking demonstrations. Hosted by the patient and damn nice bloke, Andrew Dickens, we think we’ve got a pretty good team.

We make an early start on the first day of the festival to head to the local markets to see what ingredients we can find and get inspired for our cooking demos. It’s exactly what you’d expect; Loud, colourful and vibrant with strong smells of fruits and spices.

For my first demo I'll be making coxinhas (a Brazilian bar snack and one of my faves) as I know it's a crowd pleaser and great fun to make. For my other recipe I'm not so sure, I want to be inspired by local produce but also make something that shouts 'street food'. So when getting the chicken for the coxhinas, the butcher randomly offered me fresh chicken livers. Andrew and I gave each other a look that said 'I LOVE LIVER' (as liver lovers do) and so it was decided there and then that would be the hero of my second demonstration. Next, Andrew had to gather some dry spices and herbs; garlic, oregano, paprika to name a few. I was starting to slowly get an idea of what was coming up…

Then we were drawn to the bakery where an insanely good smell pulled me towards some freshly baked potato buns, rich, with sight sweet smell, fluffy and perfect for a hand held snack. Finally we headed to fruit and veg and grabbed some red cabbage, white cabbage, red onion, apple and chilli and all else that makes a perfect slaw.  

Yep! North American inspired but born in the middle east, I had come up with southern-fried chicken livers, chili slaw in a local potato-brioche style bun. Oh, I forgot to mention that I was gonna fill the base with roasted garlic and chicken fat homemade mayo. YEAH!

Now to the festival:

The offerings from the street food vendors is a mix of their own known classics from the UK but with local influence thrown in. We've got hot dogs, tapas, sliders, pizza, fresh juices, churros, Indian, British style tacos (with coined name of bracos), grilled cheese and ice creams… 

The street traders are ready for the weekend, 'en place', their menu signs posted and shouting their usual banter between the trucks. We were ready on the demo stage, so let the party begin! ;) From my experience of new street food events opening in different countries and cultures around the world, it's always a joy to see people coming through the gates and well, not knowing what really to expect. It's not a restaurant, it’s a little like a music festival and the big name acts are the street food traders. With colourful trucks and tents each with their unique styling, menus shouting out their offerings and inside the stars/chefs bang out their hits. Cheesy??? A little but bring it on!

After an hour the crowd starts to warm up and get the idea… Phones are out, social networking with pictures, queues are starting to gather and the knowledge/know that you're not there to eat just one dish hits home.

It's early days here in Abu Dhabi Food Festival and as we roll on to the next cities, it's gonna build up momentum. But what a great event to be involved with, seeing traders from the UK being giving this opportunity is what makes our scene appealing, I'm so proud to be part of this movement, working with small business getting out there and giving it a go, doing what they love and do best, working for themselves, meeting new friends and most importantly serving great food.

I wish the team nothing but good times and good fortunes.

Next stop, Al Ain...

Abu Dhabi Food Festival | Feb. 5-21, 2014

Andy Bates

  • February 5 to 7 in Madinat Zayad

  • February 12 to 14 in Al Ain

  • February 19 to 21 in Abu Dhabi

"A gastronomic feast awaits visitors at the first Abu Dhabi Food Festival to be held emirate-wide this February 5th -21st. The festival, served up by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), will reach out to residents and visitors alike over two weeks and three weekends and is supported by the emirate’s leading hotels, restaurants, malls and main attractions. 

Featuring the best Food Trucks all the way from London, UK and the UAE, Street Feast is an exciting new food festival road-show taking in the whole of the Abu Dhabi region. With cuisines from all around the world, the festival offers the chance for some serious feasting as well as chef demos, live music and entertainment in a unique, family-friendly day out. Street Feast is a new event organised by Real Food Festivals, launching as part of the Abu Dhabi Food Festival, presented by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA), in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Municipality, Al-Ain Municipality, Western Region Municipality, and Official airline Etihad."