Last Thursday saw the return of Hitchin's much-loved Street Food Monthly event, and our reporter Dan Mountney headed down to check out what all the fuss was about.

Can you beat an evening in the sun, spent with friends and with a cold pint in hand? Well in fact, you can, by adding some of the best street food around.

After being launched back in 2015, Street Food Monthly has become one of Hitchin's most popular events, and it is back with a bang for 2023, with a packed calendar of dates right through to early October.

Having previous experience of just how busy these evenings can get, I arrived at about 5pm, with queues already starting to build, and cracked straight on with trying some food from a wide selection of vendors.

The Comet: Hundreds flocked to Street Food Monthly last Thursday.Hundreds flocked to Street Food Monthly last Thursday. (Image: Rebecca Wright)

Dumpling delight

I Am Dumpling was tucked away in the corner of Market Place, but as a huge fan of savoury Asian snacks, I had to try some, and wow was it the right decision.

Andrew Blundy, the cooking genius behind the dumplings was a delight to talk to and recommended a meaty selection of chicken, pork and beef fillings.

He even checked if I'd enjoyed them when I saw him later in the evening, and how could I not? Light, airy and flavourful dumplings that are up there with the best I'd ever had, I'd recommend them to anyone who bumps into Andrew on his travels.

After polishing off my dumplings, followed by a beer and a chat with Street Food Monthly's wonderful organiser, and Cantina Carnitas owner Matt Bean, it was onto the next stall.

And in truth, there was only one place I was going.

The Comet: Andrew Blundy of I Am Dumpling.Andrew Blundy of I Am Dumpling. (Image: Archant)

The Amani hype is real

A few weeks prior, I'd had the privelege of chatting to Amani Al-Sitrawi for a story about her street food business, Amani Kitchen, winning People's Choice Award at the South-Eastern Heats of the British Street Food Awards.

With this in mind, I had to try their wonderful Middle Eastern food, just to see for myself how good it was, and I wasn't disappointed.

I went for the chips, piled high with shredded lamb, garlic harissa, pomegranate seeds, crispy onions and feta, and in all honesty, it was my favourite food of the evening.

The Comet: Amani Kitchen was my favourite dish of the night.Amani Kitchen was my favourite dish of the night. (Image: Amani Kitchen)

The lamb was tender and melted in my mouth, while all the toppings provided complimentary flavours that didn't overpower each other.

Amani told me her recipes have been passed down through generations of her family, and you can see the love and care that goes into both the recipes and her dishes.

I can confirm the hype around Amani Kitchen is absolutely real.

Trying something different

Call me uncultured, but I'd never had jerk chicken before. When I saw the lengthy queue for The Jerk Hub, I had to give it a go.

I went for their signature best-seller, The Jerk Hub Meal, which included spiced jerk chicken, rice, caribbean salsa and coleslaw, and it was spicy, aromatic and filled with flavour.

The Comet: The Jerk Hub.The Jerk Hub. (Image: Rebecca Wright)

I still don't know whether jerk is my kind of thing, and maybe I'll need to try it again, but I did really enjoy what The Jerk Hub had to offer, and it was nice to try something different.

The pizza finale

On the verge of being full to bursting (I shared all these meals with my better half I promise) there could only be one last stop on my Street Food Monthly extravaganza.

As a connoisseur of the Hitchin food scene, in my opinion, there are only two top tier pizza places to make you say mamma mia, and one of those is Sam's Pizza.

I went for a simple margherita as I might have keeled over with any toppings, but as always, the tomato base was rich, the cheese was superb and the dough was exactly how it should be for a pizza.

The Comet: Sam's Pizza is among the best in Hitchin.Sam's Pizza is among the best in Hitchin. (Image: Dan Mountney)

It really does pay to use the best quality ingredients when it comes to pizza, and Sam's do exactly that. Top work from them as always.

The verdict

What Street Food Monthly does brilliantly, is that it makes it about more than just the food.

The food is obviously the star of the show, but the organisers put on an event that allows you to relax after a long week, meet your friends, have a much-needed drink and forget about all of life's stresses.

It's the kind of event every town and community needs, and Hitchin is lucky enough to have it, and for that, those who take the time and effort to put it on must be commended.

If you weren't able to make it for May's event, you've got plenty more chance with dates coming throughout the following months.

And I would seriously recommend getting yourself down to Street Food Monthly, it's a must-visit for foodies.