Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Kentan

Street food in the region

Recommended Posts

This latest post from Scout has inspired me to start a new thread. I agree with the poster - why must Vancouverites subsist on food carts that serve only hotdogs, ice cream, and chestnuts? There must be room in the city for a greater variety of foods. Perhaps we could start a petition?

Of course there are fears from restaurateurs that street food will cut into their business. For me, it's fast food, so only the fast food/pizza slice joints might suffer if people decide to frequent food carts instead. And new food carts could help expand the range of food choices beyond cheap pizza.

Maybe the food carts could be limited to certain areas that have few restaurants? Just musing...

As Chowtimes has reported, Richmond takes a much more relaxed approach to street food. The Tenku Bakudanyaki stand has been going strong for over a year now. Could we not have something similar in Rain City?


Edited by Kentan (log)

健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I highly agree that our so-called "street food" scene needs a major overhaul. Restaurateurs and pizza places would fear new carts would take business away? This is capitalism, isn't it? If your food sucks, but you do well because it's cheap, then you could be in trouble. But isn't that what we ultimately want? A cleansing of sorts to filter out some of the bad apples in the city?


Pursuit of Chefery: A Culinary Student's Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep hearing that changes to the bylaw are upcoming. But no news lately. The last I heard was that a "staff vacancy" at City Hall (Vancouver Food Policy Council, specifically) pushed this out. The next meeting is tonight April 14...so look out for the minutes over the next few days.

From VFPC minutes from Jan 13 2010:

Mobile Vending Policy - Maria

Work to date has been interrupted due to staff vacancy. ACTION: Mary Clare to follow up with

Maria re: vending carts


fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep hearing that changes to the bylaw are upcoming. But no news lately.

There's an article in this week's Courier all about the potential for more street food in the city.

Sidewalk buffet

Amazing to me that there are only 61 spots in the whole city licensed for street food, and if you have one already you can keep it as long as you pay your yearly fee.

The lottery tickets cost $50 and the spots cost another $1,000. Woff says as many as 300 people apply for the spots in the city's annual crapshoot, with the winners announced last Monday.

This seems to be the latest news on expansion of street food:

Two years ago, Deal submitted a motion to city council to look at broadening the range of food available on Vancouver's streets. Deal says the thin array of food available on the street isn't in keeping with the wide range of cultures that call Vancouver home, although she's hopeful council will re-examine the issue in June.

Meanwhile, Portland has added 100 food carts in the last 2 years.


健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a business owner, I would be a little upset having a street vendor open outside of my business. I have invested in this area and am committed to it. The street vendor does not have to pay property taxes which goes to help maintain this area and keep it clean and safe. The street vendor does not pay into business improvement levies, nor do they pay for garbage removal for which they would be contributing. There is very little monitoring of these street vendors because of the transient nature of the business.

If there was to be an expansion of street vending......................and I do agree that we should have something other than hotdogs..................then they should be placed in an area where they do not harm any brick and mortar type business, like on the seawall or near the beaches. If the City is so supportive of these businesses, let them compete with the concession stands that the Parks Board runs, and not me, the business owner who pays lots and lots of property tax!!!


Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just searching for the old thread where these very sentiments were expressed in order to give a little different perspective to the discussion, but you've save me the work Neil.

Nice to see you back.


Cheers,

Anne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vancouver Chinatown's night market starts up soon, and has a huge assortment of tasty treats. Definitely the best takoyaki around...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never left Anne, it just got a little quiet in here.

This topic is going to get a little more traction in Vancouver in the coming months.

It is my understanding that a brick and mortar type business cannot also operate a street cart. With the new Japadog storefront opening up, it would seem some new rules are getting written.

I am all for some diverse choices but as a business person in Yaletown ( and as the President of the Yaletwon Business Improvent Association ), I would not want to see any of the restaurants harmed by having to compete with a street vendor for customers. The guy who spent a million dollars on building a place, paying for staff, opening rain or shine, paying high rent, incredibly high taxes and levies cannot compete with a guy who rolls his cart onto the sidewalk to operate a cash business all the while buying his hotdogs from Costco.

There is no review process once a permit is issued, nor is there any follow-up.

We have a street vendor directly competing with a brick and mortar business and there have been numerous complaints about it. There has been suggested relocations proposed but the reapplication process is automatic without any oversight. The permit keeps getting issued again and again ( this has been going on for years)

The excuse from the person who issues it.............wait for it, here it comes........................you are going to love it............................................."Oh, I forgot about that. I will try and remember next year."

Anyways, there is no perfect solution to this and I, like everyone else, want to see some diversity but placement is an issue.


Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm all for more variety. Downtown, much of this pent-up demand for street food can probably be fulfilled by existing cart licenses....ie we don't necessarily need many more vendors - just better, more visionary ones. Less draconian health regs to allow more interesting food will help. Something like Toronto's "a la Carte" pilot project (despite its significant failings) might be something that Vancouver can try.

The pre-existing concession stands along the beaches can also be converted into hawker centers.

Industrial Parks (eg the airport, the techparks, etc) which dot the city and suburbs can benefit from more food trucks and carts.


fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm happy to see the greater diversity in Richmond but it doesn't do a heck of a lot for me in Kits. It seems to me street food is not really destination dining -- you grab something if you are in the area, or it's on your way to work etc. I find it hard to believe that any kind of street carts are going to compete seriously with most bricks and mortar establishments. I am not on my way to, say, Cioppino's for a sit-down dinner and suddenly decide to ditch my reso and get takoyaki off a cart -- just sayin'. Seems like with some judicious reorganization of licenses and pragmatic easing of bizarre limitations (no cheese on hot dogs during the Olympics, say what??) this would be doable without hurting existing restos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm happy to see the greater diversity in Richmond but it doesn't do a heck of a lot for me in Kits. It seems to me street food is not really destination dining -- you grab something if you are in the area, or it's on your way to work etc. I find it hard to believe that any kind of street carts are going to compete seriously with most bricks and mortar establishments. I am not on my way to, say, Cioppino's for a sit-down dinner and suddenly decide to ditch my reso and get takoyaki off a cart -- just sayin'. Seems like with some judicious reorganization of licenses and pragmatic easing of bizarre limitations (no cheese on hot dogs during the Olympics, say what??) this would be doable without hurting existing restos.

But a lot of day-to-day eating out (home-meal-replacement) is decided on-the-fly. Not to mention the "where should we grab lunch?" question which is asked in countless offices daily.

Which means that street carts *could* provide direct competition to small neighbhourhood operations, delis, coffee shops, etc., which may have much higher start up costs and on-going overhead than the carts/trucks.

I'm all in favour of a diverse food scene. Just don't know how our relatively small and thinly spread population can support many more food establishments (of any sort).


Karen Dar Woon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Cioppino's example is a little excessive.

Would you grab a hot dog from a cart instead of going into the Bean Around the World sandwich shop for your lunch?

Would you grab a taco from a street vndor instead of the Mexican place on Pacific.

These examples are probably more fitting.

Ok, the hot dog might be cheaper, but he does not have to pay $10,000.00 a month in rent and $2500.00 a month in property taxes.

In a business where profit is made in nickels and dimes, we do not need the City putting extra competition right on my doorstep, literally.

Oh, and BTW, the Hot Dog vendor wants to know if he can use the bathroom, and can I have a bucket of hot water?


Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In a business where profit is made in nickels and dimes, we do not need the City putting extra competition right on my doorstep, literally.

Neil the article says - "Bylaws prohibit vendors from monopolizing too much space on a busy sidewalk and being too close to an existing restaurant that deals in similar food."

But is that enforced? E.g. If you start serving hot dogs, does the hot dog cart have to scram? Not likely I bet.

I wonder how Portland handles this. My sense is that they have more surface parking lots that can accommodate those vans. And maybe they make most of their $$ on the business lunch crowd?

The Richmond bakudanyaki place seems to be in a parking lot in the middle of nowhere so it's not competing with anyone. I'd be happy to see food carts in places that are lacking in options at the moment. Like in front of Science World.


健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[The Richmond bakudanyaki place seems to be in a parking lot in the middle of nowhere so it's not competing with anyone. I'd be happy to see food carts in places that are lacking in options at the moment. Like in front of Science World.

Me too. Much of the seawall is prime space for food carts.


Cheers,

Anne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Cioppino's example is a little excessive.

I think the word you're looking for is hyberbolic :wink: and you're right -- I'm always getting in trouble for that. I guess a better way to have put it would be to have said that I would not swap a stand-and-gobble snack from a street vendor for a sit-down experience if that is what I was seeking to begin with. As others have said, eating choices made on the fly could tip in favour of carts at times, but with good legislation and positioning, I still think carts could be a fun addition to our food landscape. Peace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder how Portland handles this. My sense is that they have more surface parking lots that can accommodate those vans. And maybe they make most of their $$ on the business lunch crowd?

Portland segregates the carts into clusters or pods. Most of these carts are renting space on private properties (parking lots, etc). Portland has large areas that are underserved by restaurants (compared to here) so food carts thrive there. The restuarant biz there isn't happy with food carts as they see it as unfair competition. They would like to level the playing field a bit.

I may have posted this article here already. This article outlines the concerns of the Portland restaurant industry.


fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that no matter where these food carts would end up, there would always be some controversy as to whether they are taking money away from a brick and mortar business, unless they were segregated to a completely restaurant-free zone, which I feel would be unfair to them as business owners. I stand by the opinion that people wanting to go sit down at a restaurant have pretty much made that decision, and won't necessarily be swayed by a cart selling similar items close by. Now, if that business finds that, for example, their sandwiches are not selling, and yet Mr. Sandwich has them flying off his cart, perhaps they need to reevaluate their sandwiches. A lot of people just want a good balance of quality and price, not always the cheapest thing, which is what a lot of carts seem to offer.


Edited by vancookalex (log)

Pursuit of Chefery: A Culinary Student's Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nods to Vancookalex. Although even the carts we do have are not always offering the cheapest thing. I paid $7 for a European weiner at the stand in front of Future Shop on Broadway recently. Granted it had extra toppings (they have two special dog lids now to compete with Japadog) and was very tasty but that's getting out of cheap snack territory. And speaking of expensive (but exotic) snacks, they are developing a new dog that will be a mix of duck and pork, to be called the... wait for it... dork.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The city should (at very least) plan to phase in better food at the park and beaches concession stands. I see them as a lost opportunity. (Giving monopolies to big restaurant groups doesn't count.)


fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Japadog will have a new stand operating in front of Waterfront Station at the beginning of May. Lessee...that's now four stands? And they STILL haven't opened their storefront location yet. :hmmm:


健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm about as impressed with that list as those who poured money, time and emotion into coming up with an incredible idea for a food card only to get screwed by the city because of a lottery.


Pursuit of Chefery: A Culinary Student's Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it is pilot so let's hope the City will get it together. I agree it is not exactly an inspiring start.


Cheers,

Anne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it is pilot so let's hope the City will get it together. I agree it is not exactly an inspiring start.

It's almost like the city set up the pilot for failure. I don't know why the stalls weren't up and running for the Olympics. Seems they missed out on the cash cow on that one. That said, has anyone posted reviews of any of the street vendors that are up and running?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it is pilot so let's hope the City will get it together. I agree it is not exactly an inspiring start.

It's almost like the city set up the pilot for failure. I don't know why the stalls weren't up and running for the Olympics. Seems they missed out on the cash cow on that one. That said, has anyone posted reviews of any of the street vendors that are up and running?

The Olympics were the reason they weren't up and running during the Olympics. The city staff had to suspend many projects and licensing because of the workload brought on by the Olympics. The games were cited specifically as one of the causes for the delays in the street food initiative.

Many of the city's foodbloggers have reviewed a number of the stalls already (Sherman, KimHo et al.) Also check out http://vancouverstreeteats.ca/


fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...