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GregClow

New Street Food Legislation!

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Here's some great and somewhat unexpected news: Today, the provincial government announced changes to the "hot dogs & sausages only" street cart legislation which will be going into effect on August 1st.

Here's the press release:

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TORONTO – The McGuinty government is giving municipalities the option to expand the types of food street vendors can sell to give Ontarians more interesting, healthy and safe food choices, Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman announced today.

“Ontarians are at our best when we embrace the diversity of our people and our culture,” said Smitherman. “By expanding street menus, we are making it possible for our food options to reflect our multiculturalism. We are also helping a new group of entrepreneurs showcase their culture’s culinary contribution to their cities.”

The government has amended the Food Premises Regulation (O. Regulation 562) to allow expanded menu options for street food vendors that will take effect on August 1, 2007:

* Pre-prepared, pre-packaged foods such as salads, fruits and baked goods;

* Pre-cooked foods that are reheated on site such as samosas, pizzas, burritos hamburgers and hot dogs;

* Lower-risk foods such as orange juice, corn on the cob, whole fruit and non-dairy smoothies;

* Local Medical Officers of Health will also have the discretion to approve additional menu items if they are satisfied that safeguards are in place to protect the public.

“These new options will help street food vendors be more creative in their menu offerings, “said Susur Lee, internationally renowned chef and author. “It will put Ontario on the culinary map by showcasing our province’s great talent and diversity.”

Municipalities will still be responsible for determining licensing requirements, which includes menus and locations. Like other food premises, the food vending carts will be subject to food safety inspections.

This type of regulation puts Ontario at the forefront of other Canadian jurisdictions. Enabling expanded menus is likely to create opportunities for small businesses and have a positive impact on tourism. Outside Canada, many large cities such as New York and Washington D.C. already have policies in place that support diverse street food.

Today’s initiative is part of the McGuinty government’s plan for innovation in public health care, building a system that delivers on three priorities – keeping Ontarians healthy, reducing wait times and providing better access to doctors and nurses.

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It would've been nicer timing if they'd held off the announcement until the Toronto Street Treats Festival at City Hall this coming Friday, but regardless of that, this is fantastic news!

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It is fantastic news. I really hope that vendors will be able to move on this quickly and that Torontonians support the change by actively seeking out the newly available items. (If only that were the key to all social change; we could eat our way to affordable housing for all.)

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This may be the only time this Vancouverite has ever been jealous of Ontario :raz: If only our politicans would take notice.

Enjoy the improved menu!

A.

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This is not good news. It brings Toronto, and other Ontario locations, only to the point of offering pre-cooked, refrigerated, and reheated items. Mostly frozen. Much like buying a tray at the supermarket and reheating in your lunch room.

Will we see Pho, couscous, tagines, herring salads, bannock, bulgogi, stir fries, chicken on a spit, fresh Ontario fruits and vegs?

I think only a few will pass inspection, and the gains will be made slowly.

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well don't let the sunshine spoil your rain

I'd like to see what happens before we crap on it

ns


There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves - Fergus Henderson

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This is not good news. It brings Toronto, and other Ontario locations, only to the point of offering pre-cooked, refrigerated, and reheated items. Mostly frozen.  Much like buying a tray at the supermarket and reheating in your lunch room.

Will we see Pho, couscous, tagines, herring salads, bannock, bulgogi, stir fries, chicken on a spit, fresh Ontario fruits and vegs?

I think only a few will pass inspection, and the gains will be made slowly.

This is not good news? So you're saying that only having hot dogs available to us previously was better? Any progress is exactly that: PROGRESS.

Oh my gosh, Christmas is here! We're financially stable and happy, though. :( We could be so much richer and happier.

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I think I am with Jayt90 on this for now. Sorry for being such a sceptic but I would rather dump on the government first (and be wrong), since typically that is the proper course of action IMO, since they like to look like they are giving when really they are not giving at all - I am sure when they starting thinking about this it was much broader until it got watered down to where it is now. I suspect we will never see something like the 53rd and 6th Halal Cart in this city. I really really want to be proved wrong on this one.


officially left egullet....

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Who said this was a perfect ending? This is progress! I ask again: is it not better than only being offered hot dogs, or not?

CLEARLY it is far from perfection, but it's moving in a positive direction. How could that be considered anything but good? Rome wasn't built in a day.

Less than perfect does not equal bad. If it did, we'd all be some very horrible people living very horrible lives on a horrible planet.

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Who said this was a perfect ending?  This is progress!  I ask again: is it not better than only being offered hot dogs, or not?

CLEARLY it is far from perfection, but it's moving in a positive direction.  How could that be considered anything but good?  Rome wasn't built in a day.

Less than perfect does not equal bad.  If it did, we'd all be some very horrible people living very horrible lives on a horrible planet.

i think we will just have to agree to disagree on this one.


Edited by mkjr (log)

officially left egullet....

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My 2 cents:

1) What's wrong with street meat? I love a spicy sausage with sauerkraut, hot peppers, dill pickle, onion and ball park. Damn tasty.

2) It's not like it's hard to get diverse, cheap and good food anywhere in Toronto. Or to take it out of the restaurant if you're dying to eat something on the side walk. How is this going to change what anyone eats? We're already eating well.

I think the whole thing is really silly/non-news.


Malcolm Jolley

Gremolata.com

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My 2 cents:

1) What's wrong with street meat? I love a spicy sausage with sauerkraut, hot peppers, dill pickle, onion and ball park. Damn tasty.

2) It's not like it's hard to get diverse, cheap and good food anywhere in Toronto. Or to take it out of the restaurant if you're dying to eat something on the side walk. How is this going to change what anyone eats? We're already eating well.

I think the whole thing is really silly/non-news.

Appreciate the input.

If you have never been to the 53rd and 6th Halal Cart, Tiger Halal at 49th and 6th, Refiqi's on Park Ave. and 32nd St or Calexico Carne Asada in SOHO on Wooster Street at Prince in NYC or the other many street carts in NYC where you can get great and diverse food for five bucks - taxes in - then, I agree the whole thing is a non-news or silly for you - that said, you are entitled to your opinion.

I find take out pretty expensive in this city. I certainly can understand with rents as high as they are. That said, I am not aware of too many places that I can get take out for the price of some of those places in NYC in this city (or for that matter under 7 or 8 bucks taxes in) at that quality and portion size. I would love to know where I could.


officially left egullet....

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I think people are just so deprived of street food here, they never knew the magical qualities it has. You don't know what you miss in life if you've never had it.

Imagine having a great pizza truck like this or a taco truck or a curry fishball stand. Calling our street food scene tepid is being too kind.


"The world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those who feel." - Horace Walpole

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My 2 cents:

1) What's wrong with street meat? I love a spicy sausage with sauerkraut, hot peppers, dill pickle, onion and ball park. Damn tasty.

2) It's not like it's hard to get diverse, cheap and good food anywhere in Toronto. Or to take it out of the restaurant if you're dying to eat something on the side walk. How is this going to change what anyone eats? We're already eating well.

I think the whole thing is really silly/non-news.

Umm - where in Toronto can you get that? Several of the items are NOT ALLOWED currently in TO. For example onions were removed several years ago "for health reasons".

I wish it were non-news - the fact that this thread is getting more action than most Toronto threads makes it news!

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Imagine having a great pizza truck like this or a taco truck or a curry fishball stand. Calling our street food scene tepid is being too kind.

Trucks aren't the issue - almost anything is theoretically available from a truck - we could have all these under the previous legislation, because they have 'proper' cooking facilities. It's the sidewalk vendors that are affected.

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My 2 cents:

1) What's wrong with street meat? I love a spicy sausage with sauerkraut, hot peppers, dill pickle, onion and ball park. Damn tasty.

2) It's not like it's hard to get diverse, cheap and good food anywhere in Toronto. Or to take it out of the restaurant if you're dying to eat something on the side walk. How is this going to change what anyone eats? We're already eating well.

I think the whole thing is really silly/non-news.

I don't think there's anything "wrong" with hot dogs & sausages per se, Malcom (although I'm not as much of a fan of them as you, it appears). It's just that having them be the only option for a quick, cheap bite on the street is not a great situation.

And there's also the whole issue of the complete ridiculousness of the legislation as it previously stood. What possible justification did the government have to limit street food vendors to selling hot dogs & sausages? The new legislation, while still a bit too far on the nanny state side of things in some respects, is much more palatable to me (no pun intended).

As for the availability of "diverse, cheap & good food anywhere in Toronto" - I'll agree with the spirit of what you're saying, but not necessarily the "anywhere" part of it. Sure, there are neighbourhoods with great little joints serving roti or bánh mì or other relatively cheap street friendly food. But there are other areas - esp. those popular with tourists - with a complete dearth of such places.

Perhaps the importance of this change is being blown a little out of proportion. But on the whole, I think it's generally a positive development for Toronto's food scene.

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Umm - where in Toronto can you get that? Several of the items are NOT ALLOWED currently in TO. For example onions were removed several years ago "for health reasons".

Cooked onions were given the kibosh (along with cheese & mayo, I believe), but I'm pretty sure raw chopped onions are still a condiment at most carts.

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All right, ok: I repent! Mea culpa maxima.

All this hot dog bashing made me cranky.

OF COURSE, more good food is good, no matter what.

Let's just hope it's not Pizza Hut carts and Whopper-cycles.

John Fillion's doing another one of those demos tomorrow at City Hall.

Here's the press release:

Please join us for Toronto Street Treats Main Course Event

Where: Nathan Phillips Square

When: Friday, July 13, 2007

11:30 a.m. News conference

Noon to 2 p.m.Vendors selling examples of new Toronto street food to the public

Hosts: Councillor John Filion and Chefs from some of Toronto’s best restaurants, including:

* Chris McDonald, Cava

* Claudio Aprile, Colborne Lane

* Didier Leroy, Didier

* Food Share

* Golden Turtle Restaurant

* Indian Rice Factory

* Izakaya Restaurant

* Jamie Kennedy

* Jumbo Empanada

* Lemon Heaven

* Pappas Grill

* Guy Rubino, Rain Restaurant

* Sunshine Shakes

* Carole Ferrari, The Local Cafe

* Viva Tastings


Malcolm Jolley

Gremolata.com

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Here's a brief review of the Street Treats fair that I posted to Chowhound earlier this afternoon:

-----

Just got back to the office a few minutes ago from the Street Treats event, and I gotta say that I'm glad I work close to City Hall and showed up early (11:30), 'cause by 12:00, it was INSANE! First the lines were short, then they got longer (like, 100 people or more at some booths), then the lines just became this mass of people who probably didn't even know or care what line they were in, they just hoped they could get some food, ANY food, before it ran out.

Speaking of which - Colborne Lane ran out of their cereal before 12:00 even rolled around, and Cava ran out of tripe by 12:20, just when I was about to get some as my final dish. Damn! I'm sure a lot of other booths have run out by now, or will be soon.

Here's what the wife and I did manage to get and eat before everyone in Toronto descended on the place:

- Asparagus Quiche & Flamishe (leek quiche) from Didier

- Tsukune (grilled minced chicken balls on a stick) & Grilled Tofu from Izakaya

- 5 Spiced Chinese Melon Soup with Curried Shellfish from Rain

- Curried Vegetables with Rice Hopper & Blueberry Agua Fresca from Jamie Kennedy

The curry and soup were our faves, but the other stuff was pretty good as well. We were hoping to get a crepe at the Viva/Kali's booth for dessert, but the crowd was just getting out of hand, so we hit the road by 12:30.

Hope everyone else who made it down there was able to get something to eat!

-----

My wife posted her own write-up and some photos to our website Taste T.O. - http://www.tasteto.com/2007/07/13/sweet-tr...-on-the-street/

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wow that is pretty crazy. just curious, would the items served be the items that could be sold under the new rules. was that the point? some of the photos look great from your wife's post.


officially left egullet....

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wow that is pretty crazy.  just curious, would the items served be the items that could be sold under the new rules.  was that the point? some of the photos look great from your wife's post.

Well, the event was planned for weeks before the new legislation went through. So the items being served were not specifically things that will be allowed under the new rules, just things that the chefs consider to be good examples of what could be served as street food.

Personally, I think a couple of the things being served would probably be a bit too "gourmet" to be pulled off as street food. For example, the Rubino's dish tasted great, but I really can't imagine a street vendor in Toronto selling chilled soup with a skewer of scallops and shrimp served in a small hollowed out melon. But most of what was on offer - from empanadas to crepes to kebobs to veg curry - would quite easily be sold on the street.

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