My Food Place of the Week: Digbeth Dining Club

I love the idea of street food and I particularly enjoy having a variety of cuisines to choose from. So I am quite happy that Birmingham is becoming a hotspot for street food and one of the most noteworthy events is The Digbeth Dining Club.

Obviously held within Digbeth, just outside the Custard Factory in Spotlight/Next Door, from 17:30 onwards every Friday, as well as every Saturday at the end of the month. Spotlight is a bar and the outside of the it is where all the vendors tents are held, normally around 5-6 and they change every week.


The entrance to Spotlight

I have visited Digbeth Dining Club on several occasions and I am yet to be disappointed. The venue can get a little packed up but it is best to visit a little earlier, especially on pay day weekend.





On this occasion, I tried out Esmie's Caribbean and Seafood and had a giant fried dumpling filled with saltfish curry. It cost £5 and the dumpling was fried on the spot. That made the dumpling crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Because the dumpling is made freshly, the waiting time for the food at this vendor was a little long but it was worth the wait. I have never tried saltfish before so I couldn't wait to see what it would be like. I mean, I like caribbean flavours and nearly all types of fish, so I knew there was a 99% chance that I would like it. And I was right! The saltfish was tender but had soaked up all the caribbean spices so well. The sauces on offer were also great, there was a hot sauce, which they mean when they say it is hot, I just added a dollop to the saltfish and my lips were burning but I also added their mint sauce which cooled it down nicely. I cannot describe how tasty and delicious this was, I wish I had taste-o-vision to help. When it was finished I wanted another so badly. It was a great portion and the idea of filling the dumpling is just pure genius! Need this again, as I am salivating just writing about it.

As I didn't dine at The Vegan Grindhouse on this occasion, I still had to have something from the vendor and chose to have a Ice Cream Sundae, which was £3. I chose Rocky Road, Apple Pie and Vanilla ice cream with Organic Dark Chocolate Chips and Butterscotch syrup. The combination was so tasty and even better that I was having this on a cold day. Yes, I am one of those people that has cold foods on a cold day and hot foods on a hot day, I am such a daredevil. Nothing will compare to Haagen Daaz, although The Warehouse Cafe's ice cream gets pretty close, but I did enjoy this offering. I just felt like the depth of flavour was lacking a tad and was glad that there was butterscotch sauce to pick up the flavour. However, I would happily have it again.

On the next occasion, I had Sweet and Sour Cod with Rice, £6, from Manila Munchies, a filipino food vendor. Normally, it is prawns that are included in dishes similar to this, so I was intrigued to see how this would taste with the cod. It worked well, as the cod had been lightly battered and put into the dish and it was soft and worked well in the sauce. The sauce was quite sticky yet rich, it was lovely with the rice, as well as the peppers and carrots that were in the sauce which added a little crunch to the dish. The portion was perfect and I was really stuffed. The sweet and sour sauce was nice and subtle and considerably different to a stir fry or chinese sweet and sour dish. I really liked this and would love to see what else this vendor will have next time.

Next up, it was Panko Covered Prawns in Katsu Curry, £6, from Umami, the Japanese Soul Food vendor. This was labelled as not being dairy free but I just couldn't resist it, I mean look at how good it looks! The prawns were so delicious covered in the thin and crispy panko crumbs and the rice was perfectly sticky. I really liked the katsu curry sauce, as it worked well with everything but I think I have been spoiled by Woktastic and I missed the thickness of their sauce. Plus the prawns were too long and you don't get a knife, so it is quite hard to eat with the sauce. So I had to eat it all separately, which isn't the worst thing in the world but it was a tad annoying. Note to Umami, give knives or make your prawn smaller.

My latest installment of DDC, was for my celebratory birthday meal with friends (yes, I like it THAT much), consisted of me visiting vegan vendor Fresh Rootz for South Asian Beetroot and Coconut Curry with Pakoras, which was £6 without the pakoras and £8 with pakoras. This was served with couscous and had lemon and coriander on top. This tasted so fresh, everything went well together and I just wanted even more. You can't really make it all out in the pic but there was a variety on my plate, so many different attributes to this one dish, that it felt like leftovers day, my favourite day, because it means I get to have a smorgasbord of different foods on my plate. I also took my friends along to DDC because I knew there would be something to satisfy us all and there was. They were actually stuck as to what to get, always a good sign. The only gripe I have with DDC is that I wish they did an half portion option, so that you can try all the vendors.

Food - 5/5
A great variety of cuisines that are all good quality.

Dairy-free options? - 5/5
I went three weeks in a row and everytime I had an option that I liked and that was dairy-free.

Service - 5/5
Every vendor is friendly and accommodating.

Cleanliness - 5/5
Clean and tidy, what more could you ask for?!

Location - 5/5
For a tented event, it is well laid out and is clean. Parking is easily available in the car park, which is really close by and well priced, and sometimes in the side roads, public transport also allows easy access to the site and it is around a 20 minute walk from The Bullring.

Value for Money - 5/5
Portions are well-sized, everything is £10 or under, dishes contain fresh and high quality ingredients and you don't leave regretting your dining decision.

Worth trying? Most definitely, what are you waiting for?!

Overall score - 5/5

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