20+ Food Carts, 1 Convenient Downtown Location: Street Food City Returns to Vancouver

Photo from Tourism Vancouver

Photo from Tourism Vancouver

It’s hard to believe that it was only in 2010 that Vancouver loosened municipal by-laws to allow street food to be sold in the city.  Before that, pretty much all you could get on the streets was hot dogs and popcorn.

Since then, we’ve come an awful long way.  There are now more than 100 permitted street food vendors operating on the streets of Vancouver.  On any given day, you might find Salvadorian pupusas, Australian meat pies, wood-fired pizzas, perogies, Korean-style bibimbap or dozens of other dishes being hawked curbside.

But, as any true street food lover knows, we’ve still got a ways to go.  In more advanced street food cities, food carts regularly congregate in strategic clusters called pods. Go to Portland, for instance, and you’ll find multiple pods in the downtown core. The idea is you can go to one location and take your pick of a cornucopia of street eat options.  Generally there are picnic tables set up and the atmosphere is lively.

street-food-cityIn Vancouver, we’re beginning to see the beginnings of pod culture.  During the summer months, Food Cart Fest brings a dozen or so food trucks together each week on the south shore of False Creek. And the city’s various farmers markets are great places to catch clusters of food trucks. But we’re still missing a central spot downtown where diners can regularly go to feast on street eats.

But the good news is we do get a glimpse of it for a few days every January as part of the annual Street Food City event, held in the plaza in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.  And this year’s event, Jan. 19-Jan. 25, promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Photo credit: Rick Chung | Flickr

Photo credit: Rick Chung | Flickr

Now in its fourth year, Street Food City will bring together more than 20 of Vancouver’s top food trucks (exact list still to be announced) for a full week of food cart binging. As in past years, tents and tables will be set up and live music should make for a festive atmosphere.  In fact, big, boisterous lunchtime crowds have become the norm at Street Food City events.

Photo credit: Rick Chung | Flickr

Photo credit: Rick Chung | Flickr

Street Food City IV, which is part of the Dine Out Vancouver Festival, runs Jan. 19-Jan. 25, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on the weekend. The setting for Street Food City is the north plaza of the Vancouver Art Gallery, on West Georgia Street, between Howe and Hornby Streets. As always, the event is free to attend and you can expect special promotional pricing from some vendors.

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