Friday, May 18, 2012

Montreal Street Food

Street Food is illegal in Montreal.  Yes, you read that right.  In what is likely one of the strictest of all municipal food vendor laws, it is illegal to sell food anywhere that cars can pass on the same roadway.  Therefore you will only find mobile vendors in Montreal at festivals or anywhere a street is shut down for an event.  Even absent from the roads are the typical "chip truck" that so commonly hold all the street permits in many other major Canadian cities.  It is strange to think that not even poutine is acceptable street fare in this town.

But, among all the political and legal bullshit exists a small group of vendors and community members that are fighting to show that it's about time that the by-laws were changed.  With an inaugural street food lunch planned at Place Emilie-Gamelin this past week, I hit the road and met my little brother and his girlfriend for a day of food truck gluttony.

First stop had to be Grumman78.  This bright green taco truck has been a fixture at events around Montreal and has developed a loyal following.  When not out in the truck, they have been known to host popular "Taco Parties" at their headquarters (also were food prep is done) and have recently opened a food court location at Faubourg Ste-Catherine.

Grumman78's Pork Banh Mi Taco

Joining Grumman78 was Lucky's, Crepe-Moi and Pas d'cochon dans ma salon.  Lucky's colourful truck (pictured below) featured a menu of sandwiches and poutine made with many local ingredients.

Lucky's duck confit poutine (via @LuckysTruck MTL)

Lucky's lobster roll and Chicken with apricot chutney sandwich.

Pas d'cochon's set up is simple, yet practical.  They offer a menu highlighted by pulled pork, as well as other treats such as fresh oysters and salads. Looking closely, you can see the large homemade smoker in the back on the truck.

Pas d'cochon's lobster roll. Lots of filler, but the crunch of fresh asparagus was a welcome flavour and texture.
Crepe-moi's adorable yellow dessert truck offers both sweet and savory crepes, along with ice cream. The nutella/banana and dulce de leche crepes were devoured before pics could be taken!

While in town, I had to check out Grumman's Faubourg Ste-Catherine counter.  My brother explained that it's located in a food court "mall" that was intended to highlight global cuisines several years ago.  Some of the original vendors still exist in the food court, however it continues to be in transition at this time.  Don't let that lead you away from visiting Grumman's though, this location offers a larger selection of tacos and drinks compared to the truck.  Drinks are served as they would by many street a bag with a straw. 

Horchata and Jugo Verde.
Overall, Montreal has a long way to go compared to many other North American cities.  But they are well on their way to showing off the potential this city has for street food.  And I for one, am thankful that it's only a 2 hour drive from Ottawa.

Grumman78's taco logo is awesome.

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