New Street Food Rules in Vancouver Emphasize Health and Diversity


In Vancouver, street food is an emerging mini-industry. But new vendors who want to sell hot dogs and cheese steak sandwiches may need to switch to healthier options. A controversial city council decision made last month requires vendors seeking licenses to conform to a range of new rules, which emphasize healthier fare; organic, local and fair-trade foods; and an increased diversity of options.

While the decision has some critics crying “nanny state,” others believe the new rules will encourage an emphasis on quality. Last year, officials lifted a 1978 law that allowed only hot dogs, chestnuts and popcorn to be sold from food carts, unleashing a wave of creative new options, from beef teriyaki and wasabi subs (Fasttrac Fusion) to wild coho salmon sandwiches (Fresh Local Wild), which reflect the city’s large Asian population and ready access to fresh seafood.

“People have pretty sophisticated palates here,” said Jason Apple, who serves Asian duck confit salad and Korean short rib tacos at Roaming Dragon, a brightly painted food truck parked downtown. “Vancouverites come from countries where street food­ is part of life.”