This afternoon I checked out the Food Cart Fest at the Waldorf Hotel in east Van with my husband and a couple of friends. It was a hot day so I figured people would have better things to do, like head to the beach, than wait in line for street food in a hot parking lot, but I was wrong. It was packed to the rafters with people wanting to savour what’s becoming the new it cuisine on the Vancouver foodie scene.
I’ve tried a lot of the food carts downtown since it’s a convenient and cheap lunch option for me, but I was pretty excited at the prospect of having a bunch of them in one place. We rolled in at about 1pm, and after taking a lap we settled on Pig on the Street, the cart with the longest line (because of course it’ll be the best!) and waited. And waited, and waited and waited…about 45 minutes.
Pig on the Street makes bacon sandwich wraps. That’s right, a bacon sandwich! But it’s not your typical BLT they’re selling. They do up a really nice flatbread wrap that’s grilled and then fill it up with, I think we counted 5 slices of bacon, and arugula and a variety of other fillings depending on your mood. All their ingredients are top notch and local so although you’re eating bacon it’s healthy bacon! Just tell yourself that and you’ll feel beter. This isn’t the kind of food you want to eat every day, but once in a while it’s a huge treat! Order up, grab a piggy with a silly name like “Harry Trotter”, “Ham Solo” or “The Hogfather” and start salivating.
Because it was so hot, and we had to wait in line so long I opted for the No Piggy wrap, which had grilled halloumi cheese, pesto, arugula, grilled mushrooms and tomatoes. It was so delicious, and totally hit the spot. My husband opted for the Southern Piggy, which had bacon, corn, grilled peppers, bbq sauce and cheddar cheese. I will definitely be back to visit Pig on the Street at their usual spot by the Art Gallery soon!
And while we were waiting in the scorching sun my friend and I scurried over to The Juice Truck and to beat the heat we grabbed a couple avocado pineapple smoothies. Sounds like a weird combo I know, but it was awesome. A bit pricy at $7.50, but a novelty for sure.
So overall food was top notch, the waiting in line however was a little excessive. If it’s your only opportunity to experience the food carts in Vancouver then do check it out, but if you live or work downtown, my advice is to just experience them as you roam about town at your leisure. They advertise a summer vintage market which is really just some people peddling crap in the basement of the Waldorf under bad lighting so that you can’t even really see anything. So give that one a miss.
Oh, and I have to mention the Soho Road Naan Kebab guys. I’ve had their food, it’s pretty good, but every time I see their cart their prices are different which is lame. The other carts seem to post their prices and stick with them whether they’re on the street per usual, or at an event with a captive audience. Today Soho was charing $12 for a full wrap which is insanity. I saw it at the Rain City Chronicles event in the spring for $10, and I’ve seen it on the street for as little as $8 (which is a reasonable price for what you get). There’s just something about it that doesn’t sit right with me.
As we left the Waldorf at 3pm on one of the hottest days of the summer, the line up for Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck was stretching out onto East Hastings, so you know they’re doing something right. People love these carts and I’m happy to see the City of Vancouver expanding their program. Because who needs to spend $200 for dinner and wine at Hawksworth when you can get a six pack of PBR and eat like a king in the park for under $20 from one of these carts.