Topline Trends Tuesday: Truckin’ and Eatin’

Mexicanfoodtruck Would you buy a taco from this man?  Yeah, so would I.

In American cities such as LA, New York and many points in between, the grungy coffee truck has been reinvented as a hip and happening way to deliver quality food experiences to busy people.

Celebrated vendors like the Treats Truck roam Manhattan streets making bakery deliveries and selling their sugary wares (such as raspberry brownies and cran-almond rice crispy bars) to passersby.

While the concept may seem retro (think about ice cream trucks), the application is modern with interesting food concepts and unique marketing approaches that use  twitter and blogs to make these free range eateries a success.

While Vancouver seems to be catching on to this trend, here in Toronto, the street food scene remains dull and duller. While most of our so-called ‘coffee trucks’ are fronts for drug dealers and not legitimate lunch purveyors, our efforts to pepper interesting ethnic food vendors amongst our copious hot dog carts have been thwarted by bureaucracy so that heartburn is more common among fans of this initiative than satisfied appetites.

What’s it like in your town? Is your street food culture vibrant or dormant? If it’s vibrant, how often do you buy food from a mobile vender?

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13 Responses to Topline Trends Tuesday: Truckin’ and Eatin’

  1. Suzanne Long says:

    I liked the bicycle food vendors in Beijing. http://www.flickr.com/photos/suzannelong/286405994/ (jujube etc.) http://www.flickr.com/photos/suzannelong/289071147/ (sweet potatoes and grilled corn)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/suzannelong/289071173/ (chestnuts)

  2. There are a couple hot dog stands but beyond that? Nothing I know of. Pity. Other cultures have such wonderful street food.

    Suzanne’s food shots make me hungry. I hear the street food is equally as good in India.

    Horrible about the coffee trucks serving as a front from drug dealers. Toronto should have a vibrant street food culture. I am so disappointed to hear it’s not taking off like in other major cities.

  3. danamccauley says:

    Suzanne, thanks for sharing your photos – fantastic!

    Char, I’ve been to India and although there is lots of street food, it’s often left out where bugs hover about. I didn’t eat a lot of street food there to be honest.

    I agree that it’s a shame that all the time and effort that has gone into discussing TO street food hasn’t resulted in more obvious improvement.

  4. Hey, the dude’s at least wearing gloves. There isn’t much interesting here in Calgary – that I know of. But I do fondly remember the fries from the truck outside the Public Library in Halifax.
    I think I would draw the line at sushi from a truck.

  5. Laura says:

    When I was in London, England, a couple of years ago I found Petra Barran and Jimmy, her mobile shop of chocolate delights http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Choc-Star/34889007317?v=info&viewas=653207044. The link to her website isn’t working today but there are photos and info on the facebook page. She did a tour of the UK last year and I loved following the blog of her travels.

  6. Barb says:

    I love the idea of it, too. We have nothing here other than a couple of very good coffee trucks. I would like to see more with different food choices than the typical sandwich/sausage fare but I can see the health departmtent having all kinds of issues with them. I wish I could travel more and try them for myself!

  7. Diva says:

    Our street food culture here in NYC is magnificent! My most favorite recent addition is an artisinal ice cream truck which now and then appears near my grocery store. Its called Van Llewyn and the ice cream is to die for … just what I needed, right? Sigh. ;)

  8. Natashya says:

    Well, my closest big city in Toronto, so I suffer from lack of choice like you do. Hot dog, sausage or hot dog and sausage…??
    But we just got back from the St. Lawrence Market where I had the best sammie.. I wish we had a market like that closer to where I live. :)

  9. Hélène says:

    I’m going to Vancouver tomorrow so I’ll see if I can find these trucks and I’ll let you know.

  10. Glenn Barley says:

    As for Mobile Food, would a 1 star Michelin mobile trailer at Vinitaly count?

    Reknowned Umbrian winery Arnaldo-Caprai set up the now famous “Diner” at the fair this year and again wowed all the Big and small VIP’s in the limited access luncheon joint.

    The winery which has a reputation for promoting and being amongst the best producers of the famed “Lost Grape” Sagrantino used this setting for the proper presentation of their famously Tannic reds which cry for food when young. The Artistic Menu offered some real new treats to me, a fave was a Rich Rich Brodo which was enhanced by Truffle bits and dried porcini’s being put into the center of a Mokamaker coffee maker and then having the Brodo (broth) “brewed” through the fungi several times. Genius!

    check out this weblink if interested, it is in Italian but has some great shots of the Mobile restaurant.

    english2.arnaldocaprai.it/canale.asp?id=112

  11. Kevin says:

    I keep hearing about these taco trucks and they sound really interesting. It is too bad that we don’t have something like them here in Toronto. It would be nice if there was more of a selection rather than just hot dogs.

  12. danamccauley says:

    Glenn, thanks for sharing. Love it!

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