'Wales has always been known for being a great place for sourcing ingredients – meat, seafood and dairy produce, in particular', says Simon Thomas. And he should know: he's been sampling food around the country and working with some of the country's top chefs for his last street food event, Bite!, held in Cardiff's historic Insole Court. 

'When you’re producing street food, you have to take the simple approach, making the most of those ingredients. You can’t over elaborate. That's why street food is such a vibrant and important part of the food scene. Over complicated dishes won't work. It's a different kind of challenge.'

When you’re producing street food, you have to take the simple approach, making the most of those ingredients. You can’t over elaborate. That's why street food is such a vibrant and important part of the food scene. Over complicated dishes won't work. It's a different kind of challenge."

This simplification of the pleasures of food and drink has also drawn people to support a host of new independent cafés, restaurants and bars in Cardiff, as well as developing a new-found appreciation of some of the capital’s more established family-run eating places - beyond the usual chain-restaurant fare.

Read on to get some of Simon's recommendations for the inside track on eating out in Cardiff.

Exploring Cardiff's food scene with Street Food Cardiff

A great cup of coffee (or tea)

'Not only has Waterloo Tea in the Wyndham Arcade got the best tea, but good coffee too. They have lovely staff and make a great cuppa, and they’ve got locations in Pen y Lan and Penarth too.  But for coffee, it's got to be Lufkin. Great coffee with a great story, in a lovely location.'

Something exotic?

'City Road is Cardiff’s own World Food Mile and .cn is a Chinese restaurant with a really different menu. Lots of tripe and tongue. It really does serve the most authentic Chinese meals I’ve had this side of Kowloon. Check the .CN Facbook page. Head a little further away from the city centre, and you'll reach Zi's Cafe - another cracking Chinese.'

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All the beer in the world?

'Pipes is a must-visit spot for a pint - every event is like a mini festival! Keep an eye on the Pipes Beer Facebook page for monthly events.'

A nice Sunday lunch?

'I love The Bunch Of Grapes. It’s not quite Cardiff but it’s within range, on the outskirts of Pontypridd. You’ll find it well worth the effort, definitely. In the city, The Grange cooks an excellent roast dinner.'

An interior shot of a cosy pub
The Bunch Of Grapes 

A bit of a change?

'Head out to Canton where you'll find Dusty Knuckle pizza, stationed outside the Printhaus. They've got hot water bottles and blankets to keep you warm, and board games to keep everyone amused.'

A cheeky drink ...

'Tiny Rebel is probably best known for its beer selection, which is flawless, the envy of any city. They don’t do a bad job at cocktails either, with a good range of whiskey and bourbons. The Dead Canary brought the independent prohibition-style cocktail vibe to the city first, and they're still the best. But top tipple at the minute is Wright's Wine Emporium - the cutest wine bar in Cardiff, part of the Wright's Food Emporium Empire. It's tucked away upstairs in the Castle Arcade - make sure you seek it out.'

A hearty breakfast?

'There are a couple of good spots - Thé Pot on Crwys Road, if you can get a seat in this intimate space. Also Servinis, where they serve proper portions. The Hayes Island Snack Bar is an institution and probably the longest- standing street food option in the city. Lots of life and character passes you by with a decent bacon bap and coffee.'

A bit of posh nosh?

'Chef Tommy Heaney has done a great job with Heaney's - the food is great, and the cocktails are good too. Miss at your peril.'

A sandwich with a difference?

'The hoagies from the New York Deli in High Street Arcade are a Cardiff institution. They run the sandwich game as far as Cardiff is concerned. Go there hungry.'

Something cheap and cheerful?

'You can’t go wrong with a stack of Welshcakes from Cardiff Indoor Market. As little as £2 gets you a bag full of the best Welshcakes my nan didn’t serve me.'

A selection of baked goods including pancakes and Welshcakes
Welshcakes from Cardiff Indoor Market

An intrinsically Cardiff experience?

'A Sunday morning spent at the Riverside Market. A coffee and a breakfast curry while catching up with friends. Especially after a match day  - this is a great way to spend a Sunday.'

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Finally tried a cronut 👌🏼

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Vegan options

'Cardiff is has an increasing number of plant-based food options. Vegetarian Food Studio was one of the originals, and is now joined by great newcomers like the Lazy Leek street food shack and Wild Thing, which is a particular favourite of mine - make the trip to Grangetown to visit them.'

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