Vancouver street food event celebrates cuisine and culture

The event ends Jan. 29 and has over 15 food trucks to dive into

A Coconut Korma rice bowl with chicken tikka is one of the dishes at Indish, an Indian cuisine food truck featured at Vancouver's Street Food City event. (Abby Luciano)

A Coconut Korma rice bowl with chicken tikka is one of the dishes at Indish, an Indian cuisine food truck featured at Vancouver’s Street Food City event. (Abby Luciano)

From mac and cheese to curry, Street Food City is back for their 11th year featuring some of the best food trucks in the province at the šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énk Square outside the Vancouver Art Gallery until Jan. 29.

Street Food City is a week-long event part of the Dine Out Vancouver Festival, an annual festival where Vancouver’s culinary community, talent, and culture is showcased for people to enjoy. The street food event began in 2012 and is hosted by organizations such as Street Food Vancouver Society, Destination Vancouver, and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (BIA). 

Danielle Karlsson, secretary of the Street Food Vancouver Society, says the organization was created 12 years ago to help those in the food truck industry get their foot in the door. 

“When you’re doing street vending in the city, it was very hard [then], especially to getting to who could get what spot,” Karlsson says. “That’s how it started and it kind of just became this bigger and bigger thing.”

All vendors involved in Street Food City are part of the society, Karlsson says. Her mom, Suzanne Poudrier, treasurer at the society, asks members who are available to be part of the event and then creates a schedule. Different food trucks are offered in rotation throughout the week to give people a chance to try them all. 

Karlsson also works at REEL Mac and Cheese, a gourmet mac and cheese food truck her parents created 10 years ago. All their dishes are named with a movie theme in mind. Godzilla, Jurassic Pork, and The Green Mile are just some of the mac and cheese dishes they offer. 

“Years ago [my parents] had concession trailers, they did big festivals,” she says. “Then my mom had an idea to do mac and cheese. My dad’s a cook, so he made the recipe from scratch. I worked on film, and then we used the idea of film for the truck and it took off from there.”

“It’s good food, it’s all made fresh [and] everything is made well,” Karlsson says. “We really pride ourselves that it’s fresh, fast, and quick.” 

Indish, an Indian cuisine food truck, is one of the other businesses featured at Street Food City. Tushar Shroff, a co-founder of Indish, started the business in December 2019. 

“We were new to Canada at the time, my partner and I, and we wanted to do something in the food industry. We saw that there was a really big market and opportunity for us to try something that we’ve loved growing up, food,” Shroff says. “This is something we both wanted to do for a long time.” 

Customers can pick four options to create their meal. They can pick from three base options, three different types of sauces, various proteins, and an add-on like fries or a samosa. 

“We do Indian-inspired food, not necessarily from one particular region. We try to incorporate something that’s of interest and exciting for people,” he says. 

Shroff says the inspiration behind the name was that their food is “Indian-ish” as the flavours are more traditional, but their format is more modern and “soothing to the street food style.” 

“Food trucks in general and events are important just to keep the city alive because food trucks are a good way to expose people to a lot of stuff that is more relevant to being on the street than being in a restaurant.” 

In addition to the food trucks, Street Food City collaborated with LunarFest for the first time and had The Lantern City installation at the art gallery created by local artists. 

“Normally, we rent this area … but the food vendors liked to have the space too. Then at the end we said, ‘Why don’t we celebrate together?’” says Michelle Wu, staff member of the Asian-Canadian Special Events Association. 

Wu says she hopes people enjoy the lanterns, appreciate other cultures, and celebrate Lunar New Year together. She also hopes they can collaborate with Street Food City in the future. The lanterns will be on display until Feb. 7.