[dropcap]The[/dropcap] modern day food truck is a combination of convenience, speed, and portability. A staple of urban living, the food truck industry has recently been expanding beyond the scope of sporting events. They have been engaging with festivals as well as schools in the downtown area. At U of T, food trucks are regularly stationed across campus, even hosting the occasional Food Truck Friday. Owners are experimenting with new offerings as well as updating established favourites. The food truck is reinventing itself. Nowhere was this more evident than at the Food Truck Festival of Ontario last Sunday in Downsview Park. More than thirty food trucks, covering a vast spectrum of flavours, converged to provide customers with a sample of their products.
Raw Vegan Tacos
Food Truck: Cruda Cafe
Place of Origin: Central America
Cruda Cafe offers raw, green, locally grown vegan food, which for many can be a welcome change from other meat-infused items that are commonly sold at food trucks. Their ‘raw tacos’ consist of guacamole, salsa, and a mysterious ‘sour no-cream’ and ‘refried no-beans’ wrapped inside a dehydrated taco shell. While some vegan foods are criticized for their tastelessness, Cruda’s tacos have a rich, crisp flavor. Cruda Cafe operates from a stationary location on 93 Front Street by St. Lawrence Market.
Food Truck: Mata Bar
Region of Origin: South America
Most of Mata Bar’s dishes originate from Brazil, however others hail from various other regions across South America. Coxinha, a Brazilian icon, consists of chicken that’s molded into the shape of a chicken leg, and then breaded and fried. It’s comparable to North American-style breaded-chicken, but the sauce that accompanied it gave it a spicier and refined taste. Mata Bar runs a stationary restaurant at 1690 Queen St. West.
Food Truck: Koi Gourmet Inc.
Region of Origin: East Asia/North America
The Sumo Koize is a mish-mash of ribeye pork, pickled carrot slaw, cucumber, and mango, soaked with Korean BBQ and house sauces and wrapped inside an onion pancake wrap. Despite having so much packed into one small wrap, the Sumo Koize isn’t overwhelming in any way. It’s a blend of both sweet and sour, but ultimately a satisfying meal. Koi Gourmet, the creator of the Sumo Koize, specializes in Asian fusion cuisine, a new culinary genre that mixes East Asian and Western influences to create new culinary creations. Often these two components don’t work well together, but Koi Gourmet has fused both elements very well.
Food Truck: Chimney Stax
Region of Origin: Central Europe
This food truck’s name comes from an Eastern European dish called ‘chimney stacks’ — a dish similar to a churro, a wrap, and a sandwich combined. Normally, they’re desserts, but the chimney stack enjoyed on any occasion. The “Baby Caprese” contains spring mix, bocconcini, and balsamic reduction inside a bread cone. It’s vegetarian, organic, and has a very subtle, yet earthy flavour. The food truck operator told me that all the vegetables they used that day were organic, and to prove it, showed me a box of lettuce from below the counter — in case I didn’t believe them.
Slow cooked butter chicken
Food Truck: Naan Fusion
Region of Origin: South Asia
As I explored the Food Truck festival, it became increasingly evident that South Asian fusion has become a dominantly popular cuisine in Toronto. One attendee remarked that the festival itself — with its multicultural cuisines and customers of countless cultures and customers -— is helping that process. The Naan Fusion’s butter chicken is accompanied by a creamy, spicy sauce and well-cooked rice. It was one of the richest and most filling dishes I ate, and the fact that it’s available on wheels, makes it that much better.