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Vancouver’s Food Truck Culture

We call our Vancouver food truck tour the “World’s Best Food Truck Tour”, but what exactly earns it that name? What about the mobile food trucks in Vancouver makes them so very special? The food trucks in Vancouver are not to be found on the streets of Los Angeles or in the neighbourhoods of New York. They’re not even close to the street food pods in Portland. The food truck scene in Vancouver has a unique flavour and culture that’s unlike any other city in the world. From the foodies who bring you the 5-star Vancouver Food Truck Tour, here is our take on what makes Vancouver one of the best food truck cities in the world.

Reason #1: The passion. Cultivated from all over the world.

Food Truck Vancouver

Take a walk with us. It doesn’t take long for one to notice breadth of multicultural options on our Vancouver food truck tour. From Tacofino’s Chocolate Diablo Cookie, to Japadog’s Kurobuta Terimayo hot dog, Eat! Chicken Wraps’ crispy Chinese green onion pancake, to Guanaco’s El Salvadoran pupusas; there are literally flavours from all over the globe on Vancouver’s streets.

Mobile food trucks in Vancouver have come a long way from the everyday hot dog stand. Yet, not only do Vancouver food trucks serve gourmet eats, there are distinct elements integrated into each menu that reflect the diverse culture of the city. At Tacofino, who might appear to be a token Mexican food truck, you won’t just find beef and fish tacos. You’ll also see the Japanese-inspired Tuna Ta-Taco – a seared tuna taco topped with seaweed salad. From Beljam Waffles, you’re sure to find the expected Strawberry Delight and Pulled Pork Cone, but you’ll also find the Hong Kong Cone – a seaweed flavoured waffle stuffed with deep fried coconut shrimp and a drizzle of hot sauce. Why the blend of offerings? Because Vancouver is exactly that. The city has deep roots from Canada, Japan, Australia, Guatemala, France, and people all over the world…and we are all Vancouverites. The diversity in our heritage and cultures is something that is not only accepted, but embraced. It’s commonplace for food trucks in Vancouver to incorporate ideas and items from a several cultures, and it really is a spectacle to see (and to taste!)

Reason #2: That little “health-kick” the whole city is on.

In any other city, a food truck named “Pig on the Street” would serve bacon, and only bacon. But yet, here in Vancouver, each of Pig on the Street’s bacon-filled wraps comes fully loaded with a generous serving of arugula and options for tomato, apple, and mushrooms. Why? Because Vancouver values balance. Don’t get us wrong, we enjoy our fair share of Mom’s Grilled Cheese and, oh, those deep-fried mac & cheese balls from Reel Mac & Cheese, but it’s the idea that healthy food truck options do exist. We have the luxury of The Juice Truck blending us organic juices everyday, and we support them because they provide us with options that we truly value. Enjoying Vancouver food trucks is not an exclusive sport by any means – top contenders like The Burger Bus, Le Tigre and Street Meet all provide gluten-free options. Loving Hut Express was actually created specifically with the Vegan in mind. The food trucks of Vancouver have risen to the occasion and designed their concepts around the people they serve. Which brings us right to our next reason why Vancouver is a fierce contender for the top spots as best food truck city in the world…

Reason #3: Community. Powered by the people inside the trucks and the hunger within their consumers.

Vancouver Food Truck

At a very basic level, there are two components needed to foster a successful food truck scene. One, people with the desire to run the food trucks; and two, people who are willing to eat at the food trucks. From both points we mentioned earlier, it is evident that a strong chemistry exists between the food trucks and their patrons. This unwritten bond, in which vendors address the wants/needs of the city and the city acknowledges the effort by visiting the vendors, is what powers the Vancouver food truck scene. There is a sense of community that fosters accountability. It’s why we can trust in the accuracy of things like the Street Food App; we all understand the epic disappointment of arriving hungry at an (unexpectedly) empty street corner. This is the reason why the Food Cart Festival can exist and why we can host the World’s Best Food Truck Tour.

But, it doesn’t end there – there is not only a community between food trucks and food truck-ers, there is a community between the trucks. They’ve created a non-profit, volunteer-run association known as the Streetfood Vancouver Society. How cool is that? Check out their mission:

StreetFood Vancouver Society is a non-profit, volunteer-run association representing Vancouver’s premier food carts and trucks. Members are selected based upon food quality, uniqueness, and adherence to strict sustainability practices. Our goals are to promote street food in Vancouver, bring vitality to the streets and to provide the highest quality of food available. We’re an eclectic group of chefs, artists and entrepreneurs who serve some of the finest food in the city, showcasing flavors from around the globe.

The impact of this group has significant implications – competition aside, the people behind the food trucks are working together in a conscious effort to be the best food truck city in the world. They’ve actually created an organization to make sure only the best of the best hit the streets of Vancouver.  Community. That’s something in Vancouver that you just can’t beat!

Reason #4: Sustainability.

Tacofino-300x300

When you live in a place that has a goal to be the “Greenest City in the World by 2020,” sustainability is, inevitably, a part of your every day. Downtown Vancouver is equipped with bike lanes, recycle bins, and this year, we even got our first urban farm. The food trucks are no exception to the sustainable lifestyle of Vancouver; this could arguably be the most unique aspect of Vancouver food trucks. It’s a tall order for Vancouver food trucks to be sustainable and environmentally responsible in an industry otherwise scrutinized for, a) the procurement and preparation of food product and, b) the packaging that food is sold in.

For example: membership requirements of the StreetFood Vancouver Society include the “evidence of sourcing regionally grown, locally produced, organic, sustainable, fair trade items” and the “use (of) compostable and/or biodegradable packaging, cutlery and cups (styrofoam and hard plastic shall not be used).” It can be expensive, inconvenient, and even cumbersome, but it’s part and partial of the Vancouver culture. So the next time you stop by Kaboom Box, Burger Bus, Tacofino, Culver City Salads, or any of the food truck leaders around town; pride yourself in knowing that you’re choosing local AND sustainable! Get swept up by the undying passion of the Vancouver food trucks – they’ll do whatever it takes to be the part of the best food truck city in the world!

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