a peek inside the fishbowl

19 May, 2009

Can we get some better street eats in Ottawa?

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Ottawa

As seen in LexnGer’s photostream:

Yesterday marked the launch of Toronto a la Cart  with 4 of the 8 new street food vendors opening their carts for business.

No longer restricted to just hot dogs carts we now have access to a biryani cart with lassi and a souvlaki cart with salad (yes! Salad!) in Nathan Philips Square

Why can’t Ottawa do the same? (Are we really so square that we can only legislate the distribution of HOT DOGS and SAUSAGES? How backwater.)

What street food would you like to see served up here in O-town? Sushi? Pizza? Shwarma? Salad? Pad Thai? Jamaican Patties? And more importantly, would you buy it if it was available?

I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

11 Responses to "Can we get some better street eats in Ottawa?"

1 | Loukia

May 19th, 2009 at 1:39 pm


A Greek cart would be great – I love just walking down the streets in Greece and getting a Souvlaki in a pita to go! That would be great… and Greek salad? That would be awesome! I wonder if it would ever happen here?

2 | lacoop

May 19th, 2009 at 1:52 pm


Some roti would be great. There used to be a vendor on Bank (in the Glebe) who did curried chicken dogs…they were fantastic.

3 | Mom on the Go

May 19th, 2009 at 2:25 pm


I’d say “yes” to shwarma, souvlaki and Jamaican patties, without hesitation. I’m not sure how clean I’d be after eating pad thai on the street and would be wary of refrigeration of sushi.

I want to nominate fresh fruit – on kebabs or in bowls – that would be juicy, sweet and cold in the summer. Melons and berries would be great!

4 | don

May 19th, 2009 at 2:33 pm


I’m all for diverse street food. Any ep. on vendr.tv has me wondering why we can’t have the same variety and quality of food from mobile purveyors on our city’s streets.

But, has anyone else noticed the conspicuous absence of hot dog/sausage vendors from the ByWard Market? Something’s afoot!

I spent a half hour yesterday wandering the market, looking for a place to buy a hot dog. I ended up buying a pair from the ice cream shop beside the beaver tail place…

I’m wondering if the city has grown even more regressive and prevented any street food in areas where Ottawans regularly congregate…

Toronto really isn’t much better. Their demands on the “A La Carte” program street vendors are extensive from mandatory purchase of city-designed carts ($32k) and expensive licenses ($15k/annum) to extremely restrictive food preparation rules (e.g. only pre-cooked food may be served). Their selection process lead to only 8 carts out of a possible 13 making it through what was described in the media as a bad parody of “Hell’s Kitchen.” I’m not advocating “laissez-faire”, only a little attitude…

That said, I’m not sure the city of Ottawa is willing to address diverse street food, when it may be making traditional street food less accessible…

5 | LO

May 19th, 2009 at 5:10 pm


Gosh, the list for ‘why can’t Ottawa do that/more’ is soooooooo long for this transplanted Torontonian…sugh (sigh and ugh together:)

6 | Trea

May 19th, 2009 at 10:39 pm


THE hottest thing right now in Vancouver … the JAPADOG! http://www.japadog.com/ Not that that would fly in O-town, similar to how it’s hard to find a good shwarma place here, but … it’s the rage on the west coast. You should see the line-ups … they have chalk on the sidewalk to regulate foot traffic.

7 | Mary @ Holy Mackerel

May 20th, 2009 at 8:46 pm


Mexican!!!! I’d be hanging out there every day!

8 | Trea

May 21st, 2009 at 12:52 am


I’ve thought about it some more … how about waffles and crepes – the sweet, breakfast-type foods I really love! O-town could be Paris in the spring-time … sort of.

9 | andrea

May 21st, 2009 at 7:50 am


Oh yeah. Waffles. I could do waffles. But would that be too much competition for the Beaver Tail? :)

10 | Trea

May 21st, 2009 at 12:01 pm


Yes – but that would be okay. Especially if they were covered in chocolate. Could just be pregnancy talking … but I think not.

11 | Christine

June 6th, 2009 at 4:51 pm


I’d love it if there was a cart selling banh mi (Vietnamese subs).

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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