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Credit: Flickr / kattebelletje

Martabak pancakes in Indonesia

Good-bye hotdog, hello vegetarian-stuffed-roti! Vancouver trials new street food bylaw


I have eaten some fantastic meals on the street, made tastier I’m sure by low expectations. Whether it’s wafer-thin crepes in Thailand, Banh Mi (Vietnamese Subs) in Vietnam or fresh octopus in Sicily, street vendors accomplish amazing things with basic resources.

As the Vancouver City Council looks to update its 30-year-old street food bylaw, foodies are starting to salivate at the thought of something other than the hotdogs, popcorn and chestnuts currently allowed in the city’s 60 allocated street locations.

The next step is to make sure that the food we want is the food we get.


 

Vancouver street food: What do we want


While I don’t necessarily expect to find vendors of banana-leaf parcels of sticky rice cropping up on Robson and Granville, I would like some assurance that the newly found spots will foster variety and entrepreneurialism, and not simply be sold to the highest bidder (usually a purveyor of cheaply manufactured fast food).


 

Vancouver street food: What don't we want


Street food is a category unto itself. It has flare, taste and a little bit of danger. Hotdogs have their place in there. But personally, I like a couple of simmering pots of vindaloo beckoning from a block away with their aroma. What I don’t want to see is Earl’s Street®.

The long overdue change, initially proposed more than two years ago, received more supporters as a result of the success of food carts during the 2010 Winter Games. Vancouver is reportedly modelling itself on Portland, Oregon, a city that claims upwards of 400 food trucks and carts.


 

If you had your say, what roadside dishes would you want to see on Vancouver’s corners?