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New street food?

It's August. Has anyone seen any new vendors pop up yet?

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  1. Ain't gonna happen this year.

    The province set an Aug 1st date, but the city won't be handing out any new permits until they decide what foods will be allowed and what won't be, what the applicable safety standards will be, etc.

    The plan is to have new vendors on the streets by next Spring.

    1. Not being familiar with the new regulations - is there reasonable hope for patties, doubles, roti, and jerk?

      15 Replies
      1. re: mrbozo

        The new regulations are vague. Here is what the province said will be allowed as of today:

        * Pre-prepared, pre-packaged foods such as salads, fruits and baked goods;
        * Pre-cooked foods that are reheated on site such as samosas, pizzas, burritos, hamburgers and hot dogs;
        * Lower-risk foods such as orange juice, corn on the cob, whole fruit and non-dairy smoothies;
        * Local Medical Officers of Health will also have the discretion to approve additional menu items if they are satisfied that safeguards are in place to protect the public.

        It remains to be seen how much "discretion" Toronto will take in approving menu items. But I would guess that patties, doubles and some rotis would end up being allowed. Meat and dairy will be the more contentious items, I suspect.

        1. re: gregclow

          You can pretty much get all of these from every street corner, sigh~ (maybe not roti) How about kebob, buns, etc~ this sux~

          1. re: oohlala

            Unfortunately I can't get Randy's or Allan's patties without a considerable hike. Give me convenience and taste!

            Nothing against a good souvlaki or shawarma. More and better poutine choices would also be swell.

            1. re: mrbozo

              ...since my first trip to south east asia I've been pining for street food variety and splendor...spring rolls/pho/phad thai/pinapple + salt/banana pancakes...etc...

              I think souvlaki would be a great one, roasted corn, those narrow squared off grilled skewers of lamb (Portugese??), or empanadas, or grilled sardines, jerk chicken, or what about some kind of grilled flat breads...OMG! Please!!!!

              1. re: Recyclor

                Not your everyday street food, but I was wandering around Kensington on Sunday (pedestrian day in Kensington) and on Baldwin there was one guy selling grilled corn and across the street another selling grilled sardines.

                1. re: midtowngirl

                  ...oh ya, I hear ya, the sardine grill out front that place by the House of Spice? That is totally what made me write that...I saw them last summer on a similliar afternoon...

                  1. re: Recyclor

                    Empanadas, tacos, burritos, pupusas ...

                    Sticky rice, dumplings ...

                    1. re: mrbozo

                      Some nice grilled steak tacos with a couple of salsa's to choose from, i'd probably travel downtown more often

            2. re: oohlala

              I think you missed my point (or perhaps I didn't make it well). The reason that the city is not opening things up to new vendors now is because they (or at least Councillor Filion) weren't happy with the examples listed in the provincial legislation. So they're planning to use their "discretion" to draft rules specifically for Toronto that offer healthier and more diverse options.

              Again, it remains to be seen how far they'll go, and if new or existing vendors will be interested in doing anything more interesting. But I think the fact that they're not rushing into it is a good sign.

              1. re: gregclow

                If they allow a minifridge (I think it would have to be cooled by dry ice or a lot of ice cubes) then meat, dairy, and raw items like kabobs and seafood could be prepared on site. Seems doubtful, from what the province has given us. How are ingredients kept safe in south east Asia? Or other domains?

                    1. re: ricenice

                      ...little handheld mixed item platters...steam buns, shu-mi, dumplings, beef + onion rolls...I hear ya ricenice!

                  1. re: jayt90

                    Fruit I bought in Bangkok was basically sitting in a huge trough of ice. I have no idea how they managed to replenish the ice as often as they would have to in 37C heat.

                    1. re: egon61

                      its all about the sawdust.
                      we ate ice kacang and shave ice with red bean tons as kids and my mum would have a heart attack about all the germs in the sawdust...good times ;)

          2. Anyone have any news on progress, or better yet, actually seen vendors selling anything besides hotdogs?

            4 Replies
            1. re: mrbozo

              Nothing yet and not for a while... blame the micro managers at City Hall...

              "The excitement fizzled when the promise of new street foods fell into a bureaucratic labyrinth at City Hall. There will be no multicultural foods on our streets this summer. Councillor John Filion, champion of beyond-sausage snacking, insisted certain conditions be met before a fleet of carts offering culinary adventures roll out. City staffers have yet to submit a plan meeting his requirements."


              1. re: SherylKirby

                The Post article says there may a dozen or so new carts in parks, with an emphasis on ethnic foods, next spring.

              2. re: mrbozo

                I want martabak, takoyaki, and es cendol. I want cheap, small servings of gelato/ice cream. In Germany, every place would sell you a mini cone for less than 1 Euro (maybe .70 or so) -- just enough to satisfy a craving, or tide you over till you hit the next gelateria down the block. Most of these places were not street vendors per se, but they had a walk-up counter to serve pedestrians directly. There should be more of those here.

                1. re: mogo

                  if they had cendol i would be eating it everyday no matter where in the city i have to go. i already eat way too much halo halo... often find myself doing a chinatown run in the summer for coconut with the top cut off.
                  i wish some enterprising vietnamiese resto owner would do satay on charcoal with fish sauce.

              3. I'd like to see falafels myself.

                The streetside vendors in Little India have a wide range of neat-looking stuff. Haven't been brave enough to try anything except the roasted corn, though. With lime juice and chili powder...delicious!

                1. This is ridiculous, all I want is pretzels!! who ever got sick from eating baked goods?? it's it even possible?? :)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: abscissa

                    That sounds fantastic! I too would love a pretzel cart.

                    Another thing that would be splendid to see would be some Thai street eats: noodles, satays, etc.

                  2. Can we say an authentic taco/burrito truck or somewhere for a good shwarma

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: smr714

                      Taco trucks are getting banned in L.A., maybe they can drive up here. :)

                      1. re: Pincus

                        Really? What's the rationale behind that?

                        1. re: hungry_pangolin

                          My mistake, they're not being banned, they just can't park in one spot for more than an hour.

                          "Supervisors unanimously agreed to pass the law after business owners, particularly in East Los Angeles, complained that taco trucks were keeping brick-and-mortar restaurants from flourishing by drawing away customers."

                          See http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-... for a start.

                    2. While the health factor is important,but this delay is really so unneccesary...I mean Toronto keeps complaining that we never get enough visitors or they just skip by us,so just having hot dog stands is not going to attract any new visitors for sure.....

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: warlock

                        I'm from the MTL area. When I do get to TO, it is usually for some kind of event, like a concert or a play or something. Yes, the hot dog trucks are novel and require a stop or two (I think it was the Duplessis govt which banned hot dog carts in MTL years ago...).
                        You're right, that more diverse street food may spurn offshoot visitors into Toronto.
                        I feel that health issues can be important. When city council is involved, the health aspects often times are a smokescreen allowing them to drag their feet or enact silly laws

                      2. I predicted last year that there won't be any new street food. I so, so wanted to be wrong. But I wasn't.

                        There won't be any new street food this year. Next year there MAY be a handful of vendors selected for a five year pilot. That's if things actually get moving this time. The bureaucrats will decide on the chosen few and on what they can sell.

                        Then the food must be vetted by some "experts", including chef John Higgins and someone from Whole Foods Market. Everything must be examined for "nutritional value." On this basis, today's sausages could never pass.

                        The chosen handful must then lease an approved cart from a sole source, city selected vendor, for a lease fee of something like $9,000 a year. But that's if they have both experience deemed suitable by the bureaucracy and a good credit rating as determined by heaven knows whom.

                        After five years of this (2014 if they get off their behinds), they MAY roll out a program. Whatever it is, it won't include grandma's wonderful (fill in blank) recipe. I say set out the cart specs, issue licenses, and put some inspectors on the road. But this is Toronto, so nothing can be done expeditiously. (Have you got your new recycling bins yet?)

                        4 Replies
                            1. re: childofthestorm

                              Street food works in other cities because it is cheap, nourishing, freshly made, and represents the local culture. We are going to end up with something overpriced and over-governed. And maybe bland!

                              Just wondering? Why aren't there diners or resto's with a window and counter open to the sidewalk? Or chip trucks with more than chips? (U of T excepted). Perhaps we do get what we deserve.

                              1. re: childofthestorm

                                Apparently it's been decided that that's precisely what we want, and nothing else.