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Kimono Koi Crepes street cart in Vancouver September 24, 2010. South side of 700 W Georgia @ Granville St. (JOHN LEHMANN/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
Kimono Koi Crepes street cart in Vancouver September 24, 2010. South side of 700 W Georgia @ Granville St. (JOHN LEHMANN/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

A quick guide to Vancouver's food carts Add to ...

1. Satay King

Satays

Burrard and Davie

Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays

Not even the exceptional peanut sauce could save my unevenly cooked chicken. Generous side portions of rice and salad became the main event.

Value: $6.50 for a skewer (chicken, pork or chicken shwarma), rice (brown rice at no extra cost) and salad.

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Service: Extremely friendly but slow.

Walk-and-eat factor: Picnic table or desk required.

Take-away thought: A royal welcome and noble effort but the chicken wasn't fit for a king.

2. Panda Fresh Bakery

Stuffed croissants

Pacific and Drake

Hours: Weekdays: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; weekends: noon to 8 p.m.

The croissants, baked onsite, are the main event. The mashed potato and gravy stuffing, not so much. A far better filling is the Japanese Matcha Green Tea ice cream.

Value: Half-croissants are a bargain at $3. $5-$6 for full order.

Service: Snappy

Walk-and-eat factor: Careful nibbling while you stroll.

Take-away thought: Sweet deal for a sweet treat.

3. Poke'm

Beef, chicken, fish, tofu balls

Robson and Hornby

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in good weather

Delectable sauces - the Vietnamese peanut sauce is a standout - smother meat, chicken and fish balls that leave much to be desired, in texture and taste.

Value: $3.75 for four large or six small balls with sauce; $7 for two sets of balls.

Service: Fast and friendly.

Walk-and-eat factor: The toothpick-like utensil makes it easy to walk and munch.

Take-away thought: Great sauce; shame about the balls.

4. Roaming Dragon

Asian cuisine

West Georgia and Burrard

Hours: 11:30 am to 3 p.m. Mon.-Fri., Sat. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Trout Lake farmers' market)l; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Kitsilano farmers' market)

The Korean short-rib tacos are a knockout entry. Duck confit salad a delight, too.

Value: Great taste costs - $15 for three items, or $6 each.

Service: Wireless payment makes for sizzling service.

Walk-and-eat factor: Take your chopsticks to your desk.

Take-away thought: No value meals here, but lots of taste.

5. The (Re-Up) BBQ

Southern BBQ

West Georgia and Hornby

Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon.-Fri.

Is pork addictive? Yep, if it's this delectable pulled-pork sandwich, with crunchy coleslaw and delightfully vinegary handmade BBQ sauce.

Value: $9 for a sandwich, and homemade iced tea.

Service: Efficient, and needs to be with big lineups.

Walk-and-eat factor: Stroll, if you're unafraid of drips.

Take-away thought: The songbook is limited to just one option, but the tune is sublime.

6. Kimono Kei Crepes

Sweet and savoury crepes

Granville and West Georgia

Hours: Noon to 8 p.m., Mon.-Sat.

Savoury crepes are disappointingly slight (tuna, sausage, lettuce and a drizzle of mustard) but the sweet entries are a great sugar high - try the strawberry cheesecake.

Value: $6.75 for a crepe, a light meal.

Service: Slow, with cook-to-order crepes.

Walk-and-eat factor: Walk, or even run … paper wrapping protects all.

Take-away thought: Save the savoury and go for the sweet spot.

7. Licious Living

Healthy Food

Granville and Georgia

Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.

Sandwiches feature high-quality, if somewhat skimpy, ingredients such as real, not processed, chicken and cheddar. Veggie toppings include peppers and caramelized onions. Baked goods and smoothies (go for Very Berry) too.

Value: $10 for a sandwich/smoothie combo.

Service: Very fast (everything's pre-packaged) and over-the-top friendly.

Walk-and-eat factor: A not-brimming sandwich makes for great portability.

Take-away thought: Watching your waistline? The wrappers provide a calorie count.

8. Ragazzi Pizza Co.

Pizza

Burrard and Pender

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; phone orders as of 9 a.m. (604-377-9797)

Thin-crust pizza packed with fresh toppings, baked just right on-site in the truck.

Value: $3 for a slice or $6.71 (including tax) for two slices and a drink; 17-inch pizzas from $15.45-$22.45.

Service: Warming up your slice takes about five minutes.

Walk-and-eat factor: The closed boxes are a tad awkward but keep the pizza warm.

Take-away thought: My new favourite lunch spot.

9. Chinese Skewer King

Grilled skewers

Burrard and West Hastings

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mon.-Fri.

This is street food in its purest form: grilled, spicy and on a stick. Pork skewers are a highlight, if only because the veggie version is rarely on offer.

Value: $5.50 for two skewers, bread and a pop, but upsize if you're hungry.

Service: One-person operation, long wait.

Walk-and-eat factor: One hand on a stick does the trick.

Take-away thought: Great snack, insubstantial meal.

10. Dim Sum Express

Dim sum, noodles

Near Canada Place

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Mon.-Sat.

Great dim sum means variety, and sampling fun; neither is on offer here. A limited menu is executed tolerably well - pork dumplings are a highlight. Noodles are not.

Value: $6.99 for a combo, but light on veggies.

Service: Warmed dumplings make for express service.

Walk-and-eat factor: Find a bench, and a table.

Take-away thought: Dim sum devotees will be disappointed.

11. Lemon Sea

Lemonade and crepes

Beach and Chilco

Hours: Noon to 7 p.m. in nice weather.

Savoury crepes are anything but: a slice of processed cheese, iceberg lettuce, ham or canned tuna and way too much mayo. Sweet crepes drown in canned whipped cream. They squeeze in some real lemon juice, but the lemonade tastes store-bought.

Value: Crepes $4-$5.75; Lemonade $3-$6.

Service: Extremely slow.

Walk-and-eat factor: Bring a bib.

Take-away thought: Skip the crepes, and savour the view instead.

 

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