Snapshot: Street Food
The sights and smells of street food can be one of the great experiential pleasures of a city, and every city is different. Carts sell roasted chestnuts on London’s street corners in the wintertime, while New York’s streets bristle with hot dog carts.
Portland, Oregon, shown above, is known for its array of food carts. They seem to sell every kind of food, and some even offer folding chairs to accommodate a leisurely meal.
Meanwhile, the City of Montreal, Quebec, has banned conventional street food carts for decades. While the waffle vendor shown here does technically sell street food, since it is both purchased and consumed on the sidewalk, the food is cooked inside a building and served through a window. Locally, the lack of street food is seen as the one flaw in Montreal’s otherwise magnificent culinary landscape.
Because of health concerns (perhaps left over from the days before reliable portable refrigeration) street food suffers from a bad reputation in several cities. In Vancouver, BC, regulations limited street food for years to hot dog stands. In 2008, Vancouver city council voted to expand the availability of street food in the city to include healthier and more culturally diverse options. Since then, however, not much has changed on the street. On the positive side, necessity is the mother of invention, and Vancouver’s draconian regulations inspired the creation of Japadog, a very popular and unique Japanese hot dog stand!