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Vancouver’s food carts ranked third in North America

Mark Cohen of Mangal Kiss Mid-Eastern BBQ helps a customer Thursday on West Georgia Street in downtown Vancouver. Arlen Redekop / Province

Vancouver’s food trailers were recently rated No. 3 in North America, and customers like Diane Fahlman find it easy to explain.

“We have a very nice variety of good quality food, conveniently available on the run,” said Fahlman, 39, who lives in Port Coquitlam but works downtown.

“There’s more of a demand for it now and it’s filling a need in the market,” she said while awaiting a beef wrap from Mangal Kiss Mid-East BBQ on West Georgia Street. “And it’s reasonably priced. It’s hot, it’s fresh and it’s different.”

Freelance journalist and author Shelley Seale had a similarly high opinion of Vancouver’s mobile move past hotdogs and roasted chestnuts on her website http://www.travelandescape.ca., ranking the city behind trail-blazing Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas.

Seale even ranked Vancouver ahead of New York and Toronto.

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Mangal Kiss co-owner Mark Cohen, who is in his third year providing food from trucks, isn’t surprised by Vancouver’s high rating.

“It’s just getting better and better,” said Cohen.

Mangal Kiss pickles its own turnips, roasts its own spices and makes its own sauces.

Chef Phyllis Cornacchia, Mangal Kiss’s other co-owner, agrees that Vancouver is a “foodie city” where the variety of dishes offered by food trucks would be appreciated.

“I think we have a lot of talented chefs here,” she said.

“Opening a restaurant is really expensive,” said Cornacchia. “It [cooking from a truck] gave me an opportunity to start my own business.”

Vancouver city councillor Heather Deal, a champion of the food trucks, said Thursday the high rating was “awesome.”

“I love it,” said Deal.

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There are currently 103 mobile food vendors licensed in Vancouver and a decision has to be made on another 15 such businesses — although those are planned for outside the downtown core and for pods or groups of trucks parked together, as is done in Portland.

Locations will be critical.

“We don’t run the carts but we want them to be successful,” said Deal.

“It reflects Vancouver,” she said. “It reflects the kind of people, the variety of food we have here. It reflects the idea we like to be outside.”

And like people everywhere, of course, we like to eat.

 

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