Danny Malin: 'I tried two jacket potato vans that have gone viral on TikTok - and crowned a winner'

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In this week’s column for the Yorkshire Evening Post, the Rate My Takeaway star talks all things jacket potato

Sometimes the simplest food is the tastiest but the hardest to get right.

Take the humble jacket potato as an example, such a simple cheap dish but I’ve tasted a wide variety of these baked root vegetables. Move over dirty fries, and welcome to the world of ‘dirty taters’.

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I even went to the home of kebabs, but to my surprise, it was jacket potatoes which ruled in Turkey. I recently left the family behind in West Yorkshire to film my takeaway reviews in Istanbul.  

Danny Malin tried out the Spud Bros in Preston and Spudman in Tamworth (Still by Rate My Takeaway/YouTube)Danny Malin tried out the Spud Bros in Preston and Spudman in Tamworth (Still by Rate My Takeaway/YouTube)
Danny Malin tried out the Spud Bros in Preston and Spudman in Tamworth (Still by Rate My Takeaway/YouTube)

I thought my editor would send me to a range of kebab joints, because this is where the kebab originates from, but instead I found that the most memorable takeaways from Turkey were a wet burger and a jacket potato. 

But it’s jackets I want to focus on because they're the old school underdog of the street food world, a bit like me. I’m definitely more of a spud than a stud. 

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Jacket potatoes, which hail from Peru originally, are known as Kumpir in Turkey. Kumpir are like jackets but their insides are mixed with butter and cheese before you even begin to start topping with ingredients. Turkish cheese is similar to mozzarella. 

I had two tatties to try the toppings which included couscous, Turkish sausage, cabbage, vegetables and more.

I’d never had toppings like it on a tattie but these Kumpir could have anything or nothing on it. They were incredible and nothing like I’ve had in the UK before. 

The battle of the UK spuds 

Back in the UK, there are two spud companies that stick in my mind. With every viral food trend comes competition. With every social media community comes wars between fans. 

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As an impartial reviewer, however, I can’t take sides - I just have to taste test them all. The two spud champions leading the way and in battle at the moment are Spudman and the Spud Brothers

First up is dad-of-nine Ben Newman, aka Spudman, who spends his time selling tatties while TikToking live. His content is as simple as his food offering, where he films himself making up baked spuds and serving them to huge queues. 

Danny is the host of the Rate My Takeaway YouTube series (Photo by James Hardisty)Danny is the host of the Rate My Takeaway YouTube series (Photo by James Hardisty)
Danny is the host of the Rate My Takeaway YouTube series (Photo by James Hardisty)

Spudman has put Tamworth on the map, helping to revive an often overlooked marketplace. I started out on the market and I know how important they are to our communities. 

After going viral online he has been inundated with customers to his spud van. 

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He’s a likeable guy, so I wanted to head to that there Tamworth to check out the jacket potatoes people are raving about. 

I have to wait like everyone else and wait for over an hour. People had come from all over for Spudman and some were even staying for a weekend in Tamworth.

I ordered chilli and cheese, cheese, curry and crispy fried onions and then a tuna and homemade coleslaw potato. 

Do you know what? I was a bit sceptical at first thinking, why is a jacket potato van going viral? What is going on? It was just messing with my head. 

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But I can see why because it is decent food at a decent price. A jacket potato is probably what a lot of people have anyway. We all go for this all the time.

The chilli is a nice flavour, it is not too hot - it is a nice, mild one. The cheese is absolutely amazing. You get a right nice cheese pull. The potato is nice and soft and you have got a nice crispy skin.

The coleslaw is to die for. Spudman says he makes it fresh everyday. That's as fresh as it comes. It tastes amazing and looks stunning. Couple that with tuna on a nice fluffy potato, it is banging.

I finished off with the chef's recommendation of the curry. It's a winner: Cheesy, you have got a beautiful Chinese-y tangy curry topped off with crispy fried onions that just change the texture.

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This is exactly what you want for your lunch and exactly what you want for your money. If you've not been, come down and try it out. For me it's nothing less than a solid 10. What an absolute banger.

Next up was Spud Bros in Preston. Very much like the Spud Man these guys have the likeability factor that Simon Cowell speaks about. 

Sadly for my old legs, they’re just as popular which means queuing for an hour. 

I had three spuds to make it fair with what I had at Spudmans. One garlic butter and homemade chilli, the other cheese, beans, coleslaw and tram sauce and the other cheese and beans. 

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Wow, garlic butter really brings out the best in all these tatties. Even the simplest combination of cheese and beans with garlic butter was gorgeous. I never thought I’d get so giddy over such a simple combination. 

The chilli one was fiery in my mouth but delicious. And that tram sauce tasted like a big pot of mushy peas. 

Spudbros beat Spudman by 2-1. Spudman won one however for his homemade coleslaw.

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