Smokeandumami’s 2013 Top of the Pops

It’s been a pretty good year for Birmingham food. Street food has definitely been on-trend, with original purveyors Digbeth Dining Club going from strength to strength, with the glorious Meat Shack certainly our pick of the vendors there, with both his regular burgers and specials both worth seeking out. Also helping the cause of street food was Brum Yum Yum, loudly declaring their intentions to transform the way we dine in the city, and having established a very popular regular Saturday event in Kings Heath. Food pop-up Can Eat run by Lap and Dom Clarke from Loaf Community Bakery’s premises gained a regular audience and a 5* review from Paul Fulford.

A number of independent openings have plugged the few remaining gaps in Birmingham’s food offering, perhaps most particularly Istanbul for Turkish food, and both Seoul Plaza and Banana Leaf Cafe providing much-needed lunch options in Selly Oak. All this we have been (kind of) diligently documenting on our Birmingham Food Map. We plan to continue adding new sites until we have the whole city covered (please leave suggestions in the comments).

A fourth Michelin star was added to Birmingham’s impressive roster of Simpsons, Turners and Purnells by Adam’s Restaurant. Huge congratulations to Adam Stokes and the other head chefs for this achievement, it cannot always be easy in the current economic climate. But increasingly we find our own appetites have increasingly shifting away from this style of dining, as evidenced by the eateries featured on this blog.

Sadly there have been the inevitable closures too: Lap’s favourite sichuan restaurant BBQ Village is no more. And it seems the useful independent food board has gone the way of the dodo too?

Looking at the blog statistics, the most popular posts during 2013 have all been related to home cooking, including Nick’s treatise on brining, and Lap’s guide to butchering a pork shoulder for BBQ, the epic how to cook a fat steak, 9000 ways with razor clams and the definitive comparison of chilli bean pastes for those wishing to follow the peerless Fuschia Dunlop’s recipes..

On the Birmingham food map, popular entries have included fish and chips at the Black Country Living Museum (still unbeatable in Nick’s view), the estimable and very reliable Min Min and pho-slingers Nom Nom Noodles, Digbeth Dining Club and finest purveyors of curried lambs brain’s Mughal-E-Azam.

Posts from previous years that still keep giving in 2013 include Lap’s encyclopedic guide to the Birmingham Indoor Market and Wholesale Market, actually the most popular post on this site and a lesson to Birmingham Council who seem set on moving and marginalising this unique asset (Birmingham Council should realise that claims of Birmingham being a foodie city are just as much to do with the market as the four Michelin stars we claim as our own). Other popular posts are Lap’s excellent guide to eel smoking, his definitive guide to Hainan chicken rice, Nick’s guide to Moro-style beetroot borani and the unimpeachable beef rendang recipe, which I highly recommend you try. Finally, judging from the hits, thousands of you are still desperate to find a place for sushi in Birmingham, but it sadly remains  a bit of a desert out there.

So all that remains me to do is to thank you the readers of the blog for your support in 2013, wish you a Happy New Year and ask that you keep reading in 2014 and please do get involved in the comments section or on Twitter as it makes the whole experience much more rewarding for us!