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Cambridge has been a slow starter to the the independent food scene, but in the last year many independents have gone mobile. Heidi White, a Cambridge alumnus who studied Land Economy, has “an obsession with street food”. As well as being author of The Moving Foodie blog and co-organiser of the Eat Cambridge festival of food and drink, Heidi put her degree to good use when she recognised the potential of some empty space next to the train station, and thus foodPark, Cambridge’s first street food collective, was born. The only criterion for traders is simple: they have to be Cambridgeshire-based.

Some of the vendors I had sampled before and would highly recommend, such as Steak & Honour and Fired Up (pizza). Others I had the pleasure of trying for the first time, such as #Eatirie, whose generous-sized portions came within my £5 budget. While the BBQ Jerk chicken might have been tricky to eat perched on the wall without cutlery, this was more than compensated for by the tender meat which fell off the bone.

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I could wax lyrical about Guerrilla Kitchen – oh, those steamed buns! So large, so light, so fluffy. For £6.50 you get two decent-sized buns stuffed with high quality ingredients. I was suspicious of the ‘Big Licker’ bun, having never tasted tongue and not being a great lover of beetroot, but again the flavours were balanced perfectly. And tongue turned out to be delicious, tasting somewhat like ham but richer.

The Calcuttan kati rolls of Inder’s Kitchen were buttery, delicious and satisfyingly filling, especially when accompanied by a mango lassi. Brazing Saddles’ tacos were little pieces of art in a box — an explosion of both taste and colour. The vegetable component of my pulled pork taco was so colourful and crunchy that it convinced me it was a healthy meal. Unfortunately, the juiciness did make the taco somewhat soggy towards the end.

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The opening of foodPark means that lunch in Cambridge just got much more exciting. Gone are the days when a Boots meal-deal or a sandwich from Pret were your only options. Now, on Thursdays and Fridays, you can head to Station Road for some tasty street food. While it might be a little out of the way of lectures, the food is definitely worth the extra distance. It’s also worth the slight extra cost for the quality of food on offer. Sadly, some of the prices break my sub-£5 rule for lunch, making a visit to foodPark a treat rather than an addition to my weekly lunchtime schedule. However, after talking to some of the vendors, it seems a student meal-deal could be on the horizon.

As of the begining of this month, foodPark is also operating in the West Cambridge Site on Wednesdays — perfect for hungry scientists. I can only hope that foodPark expands to more days, traders, and locations, and that its price-range becomes more student-friendly, as it offers some much-needed variety to the Cambridge lunch scene.

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