When most people hear the term street food, it conjures up images of greasy street meat or roasted chestnuts. Times are a changing! Different grades of street food are mainstream in Asia, Mexico, LA and Portland, but aside from nut and hotdog vendors, street food has never been approved in Vancouver. Until now...
Following in the footsteps of a successful, 500-strong food-cart program in Portland WA, Vancouver BC is launching a street food trial program on July 31st. According to The Vancouver Sun, the city's 800 applicants were more than expected, so a lottery was held crowning 17 winners. With options ranging from freshly-squeezed lemonade, to Dim Sum, to central European food, each vendor will be assigned a location to park their mobile kitchens. As the program matures, more gastronomic entrepreneurs will be permitted and approved to populate the streets of Vancouver.
Map of Vancouver Street Food Vendors View Vancouver's food cart vendors in a larger map
In the past, Vancouver's food safety regulations are what's held back food sold on the street, limiting the offering to Costco-like options, sans the good stuff. Even the famed Japadog was closed down just before the Olympics due to health violations, but has since re-opened its street meat phenomenons, as well as a retail outlet. Vancouver's pilot program aims to raise the level of street-cart food safety, and in turn increase street-level epicurean delights.
I wonder if Vancouver's street food will live up to its well-known culinary scene? Time will tell.
PS - If you're planning to hit-up street food vendors in Portland or LA, it helps to have a penchant for social media. Because the US's street-cart programs are mobile, vendors have to adjust their location with parking regulations, so they tweet their new parking space every few hours.
[photo by b.new.man]