Souvlaki, pad thai the new hot dogs of street fare
Published Tuesday, March 17, 2009 6:13PM EDT
Starting this spring, hot dogs won't be the only food for sale on your local street corner.
Pad thai, jerk chicken, souvlaki, salsa karahi and other ethnic foods will be available at food carts across the city as part of Toronto's new 'A La Carte' street fare program. Healthier foods such as bagels, pretzels and veggie burgers will also be up for grabs.
At a news conference in Toronto Tuesday morning, councillor and city board of health chairman John Filion said the program will help the city think differently about fast food.
The new menu "will be healthy, personal, interesting and may introduce us to cultures we are not familiar with," he said.
"I think Toronto can come up with a signature food that's a lot more interesting than the hot dog," he said, adding, "I'm not knocking hot dog vendors but I'm not a fan of hot dogs."
The three-year pilot project is expected to launch during the long weekend in May.
Prices will range from about $2 to $7.
Eight vendors won the right to sell the fare out of 19 applicants. They will be distributed throughout the city, from Mel Lastman Square in North York to Nathan Phillip Square downtown. Here's what you can specifically get where:
- Mel Lastman Square - Pad Thai with fresh rolls (Thai)
- Metro Hall - Chapli kebabs (Afghan-Central Asian)
- Nathan Phillips Square - Biryani (Central Asian-Persian)
- Nathan Philips Square - Souvlaki (Greek)
- Queen's Park - Chicken/beef kebab wraps (Middle Eastern)
- Roundhouse Park - Injera (Eritrean)
- Yonge and Eglinton - Bulgogi with seasonal kimchi (Korean)
- Yonge and St. Clair - Jerk chicken (Caribfusion)
The owners of Toronto hot dog stands can apply to expand their menu to include the new fare, Filion said.
However, Marianne Moroney, the executive director of the Street Food Vendors Association representing about 100 hot dog vendors in the city, said the city didn't have to spend extra money to expand the industry.
"We've got over 25 different ethnicities in our membership so there's a lot of different foods that could have been served," she said. "I don't think it should have cost the city anything. (Our carts) are already regulated and already available."
The new carts will each cost about $15,000 to $30,000.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Dana Levenson