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The Re-Up (Addictive) BBQ street cart in Vancouver September 23, 2010. East side of 700 Hornby St @ W Georgia St. (JOHN LEHMANN/John Lehmann/ The Globe and Mail)
The Re-Up (Addictive) BBQ street cart in Vancouver September 23, 2010. East side of 700 Hornby St @ W Georgia St. (JOHN LEHMANN/John Lehmann/ The Globe and Mail)

Street Meat

Vancouver's street food reviewed Add to ...

The tyranny of the tube steak is at an end in Vancouver. With the introduction of 11 food carts over the last three months, city residents - or at least those in the downtown core - have an unprecedented selection of street food.

Crepes, skewers, fish balls, short-rib tacos, pizza: all are on offer now, the eclectic result of the lottery system that Vancouver used to approve the first wave of food carts. For those simply craving something other than a hot dog, that's good news.

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But the random nature of the process, and the scattering of food carts around the downtown, has created problems. None of the carts met the deadline for being ready, and six aren't operating three months after the launch. Vancouver did not get the variety of food it had hoped for. And some lottery winners even tried to sell their spaces.

As reported earlier, Vancouver is already looking to alter the formula of its food-cart experiment.

The process of approving new carts is going to get tighter, even if the city decides to stick with the lottery process. And Vancouver city staff are looking at creating clusters of carts, mirroring the approach of Portland, Ore., where 430 of the city's 450 carts are situated in lots.

Those changes are months in the future, however. For now, the first wave of food-cart freedom has brought new - if sometimes unusual - choices to the streets of Vancouver.

We have tried them all on your behalf - with decidedly mixed results. Have you been lining up to see what all the fuss is about?

Tell us which carts you've tried - and what you thought.

 

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