Sunday, November 25, 2012

diversity in our street food

When you're at a ball game, nothing hits the hunger spot better than some good old fashioned street meat: a piping hot, hot dog from a street vendor. We all try to eat better and make better choices since adults do that in front of their kids, right? (isn't it difficult to be consistent with your messages?) But the question is more likely, why are there not any other choices available to us?

This is a totally loaded question. One that Toronto Food Trucks answers in their brief summary of what it means for a vendor who wants to vend food out of a truck, in the City of Toronto:
1. public property vending requires a permit which indicates a specific location but there is a moratorium on these permits for downtown Toronto
2. private property owners who are zoned for commercial activity can allow food trucks to sit on their locations but this is still limited
3. food trucks are considered restaurants so are allowed to serve whatever it is that they wish but for some reason, few have changed from hamburgers, hotdogs, french fries, poutine. food carts are different

A few years back, Toronto tried to launch the "a la carte" program only to be met with failure due to the red tape and strict (and expensive) requirements. I"m not sure of what's happened since but there is a lady who comes out when the weather is nice to the south-east corner of Bay and King to serve up her jerk chicken. YUM-O. It sells like hot cakes, I tell you. The times I've gone by, she's already out of roti and it's barely pase 1230pm. But I wonder if she's technically permitted to do so?

So, what's the point to all this? My question is, don't you want to eat something other than hotdogs, hamburgers and french fries? Our city is a vibrant buzzing cultural hub yet our street food diversity is limited to 4 items. Tourists must think the hot dog is our national food or something! If this is important to you, consider voicing your thoughts and opinions. If you want to see some variety in menus and to actually see food trucks roaming the cities, check out the two petitions/letters to
a) increase the diversity of street food
b) petition for food truck vendor permits

Why do I think this is a fantastic idea? Have you ever been to NYC and checked out their food vendor scene? Or in various Asian countries? What about South America? Toronto is utterly embarassing on this front so let's make a change!


  1. that roti lady is awesome, she even has goat and oxtail!

    1. too bad she's only there when it's warm...