International flavours offered for Vancouver streets

July 12, 2010 | Arts and Culture

Close to 800 applications and food offerings representing an estimated 21 countries and cultural backgrounds have resulted in new and exciting food choices for the 17 new locations under the City’s expanded street food pilot program.

"The enthusiasm of Vancouver’s small businesses and the public interest in the expanded street-food program has been overwhelming," Mayor Gregor Robertson said. "The popularity of this is a clear indication that people want to see a wide range of food on our streets and they want the offerings to reflect the cuisine of our culturally diverse city.

"We’ve got a world-class city and people want a world-class street food scene to match."

Countries represented by applicants and menus include Afghani, Chinese, Cambodian, French, Greek, Indian, Iranian/Persian, Italian, Jamaican/Caribbean, Japanese, Korean, Lebanese, Malaysian, Mexican, Polish, Taiwanese, Thai, Tibetan, Ukrainian and Vietnamese. The proposed offerings also include regional West Coast food including local fruit and salmon.

During a lottery draw Friday morning, applicants were selected for 17 new food-vending locations. An alternate vendor was also selected for each space in the event a business is unable to launch their cart service.

Under the plan, successful vendors should be prepared to begin operations by July 31, menu offerings should be nutritional and healthy, and vendors should have a plan to manage waste. Vancouver Coastal Health must approve food handling practices for all food-vending carts.

"As we head into the heart of the summer season and welcome visitors to Vancouver, our city will be more alive and inviting with the new foods vendors will bring to our streets," Mayor Robertson added. "Given the amount of interest we’ve had for this initial launch, we’ll definitely be looking at ways to expand food cart options across Vancouver even more."

A number of existing food vendors have also expressed an interest in varying their menus to add to the diversification of the city’s street-food menu.

City staff called on the expertise of colleagues at Vancouver Coastal Health to conduct a nutritional screening of food offerings proposed by applicants. Vancouver Coastal Health professionals will continue to work with City staff to maximize the nutritional value of the products offered by the vendors selected for the 17 locations.

The expanded food vending pilot program is part of a long-term plan to expand street food options in Vancouver and add more carts to City and private property. The first phase, now underway, only includes City sidewalks and curbside locations.


Photo credit: City of Vancouver