The best places to enjoy Street Food at the Edinburgh Festival

Should you be visiting the festival and are in need of somewhere to grab a quick bite to eat, we have you covered.

Published 8th Aug 2017
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

The droves of tourists, performers and people with flyers currently flooding Edinburgh's streets can only mean one thing - it's Festival season.

During the month of August, there is a bewildering array of shows, comedy acts and gigs vying for people's attention and with the hectic atmosphere, it's very likely you won't have time to stop and think never mind eat.
Thankfully modern food producers and vendors are becoming far cannier when it comes to meeting the demands of busy consumers, reducing cooking times and putting a whole new twist on the term fast food.
Not only does the Festival attract the country's top acts, performers and comedians, it also brings some of Scotland's best street food vendors to the capital in a bid to feed the bustling, hungry masses.
This year's offering is perhaps the biggest yet with some of the city's venues providing courtyards and beer gardens for al fresco kitchens, and events spaces and markets such as Assembly's George Square Gardens offering vibrant locations in which food stalls and street food purveyors can congregate.

The Grassmarket

Street Food Edinburgh Festival
The first stop on our street food tour of the capital sees us heading away from the shop strewn high way that is Princes Street, to the Grassmarket where, alongside the usual sun trap eating areas offered by the resident pubs and bars, and the impromptu (and yet inevitable) fringe stages that spring up as performers try to captivate visitors and residents alike, you'll find French Connection, a popular food van selling fare with a Gallic flavour, including baguettes, crepes (both sweet and savoury) and the uniquely named French hot dog.
Street Food
Further along, you'll find an intriguing new outlet squeezed between the Grassmarket's now famous bars. With its eye catching yellow frontage, new pop-up Crabbit Lobster offers posh nosh in the form of wine by the glass paired with the eponymous crustacean.
Street Food
On route to festival favourites Underbelly and the Cowshed, lies Over Langshaw, a converted police box serving coffee and perhaps most interestingly a peated malt whisky ice cream - a must try for fans of Scotland's national drink.
Another of the Cowgate's now famous Festival venues, The Three Sisters bar has pulled out all the stops this year with its beer garden and courtyard offering no less than five street food stalls and three bars.
Choose from log fired pizza (with a huge range of toppings), creamy mac and cheese or dumplings and hirata buns from Glasgow's Humming bird before cooling off with some sweet treats from Arran Dairy.
Brazilian street food pioneers Tupiniquim have expanded their operation on Teviot Place adding the bicicleta (converted bicycle cart) grill, meaning they can get their food out faster and offer a new daily dish of comfort food to the menu.
It's on and around the George Square Gardens that'll you find the most extensive collection of street food stalls with Scottish Street Food Award winners and UK finalists rubbing shoulders with newcomers and Edinburgh Stalwarts.
Outside the Gardens you have the winners of the inaugural Scottish street food award winners and chicken specialists Buffalo, show why they deserve the high praise with quality fried chicken dishes, while next door capital favourites Frisky offer frozen yoghurt and bubble tea, which are ideal on a hot August day.
Popular Edinburgh bakery Mimi's bake house pop-up serves another Edinburgh favourite, S Luca ice cream, alongside coffee and the delightful cakes they are well known for, while top Scottish street food specialists Umami Spice Girl offers up the freshest Mexican and Indian cuisine (think Rendang and Satay) while the newly opened Spice Boy delights fans with their Carribean flavours.
Around the corner, the aptly named Cargo burger deliver the freshest burgers from inside a converted cargo container, while Cargo spuds offer the perfect accompaniment in the form of fries from a second container close by.
Inside the Gardens, Alandas elevate the humble chippy to a new level with handmade batter and unusual seasonings like truffle oil & Parmesan and hand blended garlic and rosemary sea salt.
The aptly named Winner Winner, serves - you guessed it - fried Chicken dishes including wings and burgers and pan Asian street food specialists Pad Bkk do Pad Thai, Bao and Larb Gai (lettuce cups) which are hugely popular with the Gardens' crowd.
Two of the most popular stalls on the day were We Sell Dumplings, a small shack selling vegetarian fried dumplings served with Vietnamese dipping sauce at £3 a pop, and the wonderfully named Aporkalypse with its crispy slow cooked pork belly buns.
Should you be in the mood for something a little sweeter, then take a short walk to Gilded Balloon at Teviot Row House, where you'll find Crema Caravan, who won the Best Dessert at the British Street Food awards in 2015 for their stunning Creme Brulee - a definite must try.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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