As a newbie to Vancouver, perhaps I can be forgiven for my slack-jawed yokel-esque amazement at the food truck craze in this city. And, as any seasoned Vancouverite will tell you, these are not your grandpa’s food trucks doling out greasy french fries and greasier hamburgers.
No sir, these are some well conceived, ethnically diverse, bad-ass food-chariots that are preaching the gospel of quick, relatively (this is Vancouver, after all) inexpensive and delicious food. So popular are these trucks that you can even track them using this handy food truck app. This is all the more amazing to a transplanted Torontonian like myself, where that city’s attempt at non-hot dog “a la cart” food stall program failed/is failing for reasons I don’t completely understand.
In any event, my first foray into the world of food trucks was at the “Roaming Dragon” which, on this overcast day, was parked at a Kitsilano community centre during a local farmers’ market. The Roaming Dragon won the “Best Food Cart” category of the 2011 Vancouver Restaurant Magazine Awards. Not too shabby. But would its food stand up to its reputation?
Well, yes and no. I started off by ordering a thirst quenching lichee lemonade which was fabulous. I especially appreciated the fact that the Roaming Dragon thought to use a fat bubble tea straw to allow me to shamelessly and noisily suck up the chunks of lichee hiding between the ice cubes. So far, so good.
Since I wasn’t really that hungry, I opted for the small, $3 Korean rib taco, which is presented as a kind of open faced sandwich. The presentation had eye-appeal impact, though I’m not sure about the environmental impact of their large, paper boxes to house this little Korean jewel.
The pork was cooked to perfection – moist and tender. The other ingredients did their part to lift this open faced taco into another level. I am sad to say, however, that I was disappointed with the sauce. I don’t know why I was. In fact, I desperately wanted to be wowed by everything “Roaming Dragon” and gush over this apotheosis of the food cart pantheon. But, for some reason, I found this aspect of the dish lacking. Perhaps it was a lack of gochujang? Perhaps a bit of miso could have been added to give it that extra depth? I couldn’t put my sauce-covered finger on it, but something was missing to take this solid 8/10 meal into a solid 9/10. Perhaps I just don’t know what I’m talking about. Who knows?
That being said, I still think the “Roaming Dragon” makes some awesome food and a wicked drink. Would I go back? Definitely. When? Soon, I hope…