Sydney, AUS: Award for Innovation

New food movement ... Eat Art Truck. Photo: Dallas Kilponen Read more:

By Linda Morris | The Sydney Morning Herald

New food movement … Eat Art Truck. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

The City of Sydney receives the award for innovation for its Sydney Food Trucks initiative. The award acknowledges the exciting new dimension mobile diners bring to city street dining and the farsightedness of council for spearheading their introduction. To date, two trucks are operational, with more tipped to take the road next month.

Good Food Guide co-editor Joanna Savill says the initiative adds life to Sydney’s nightlife, putting good, casual food when and where it’s needed.

‘‘What I love is this is a concept that really fits Sydney,’’  Savill says. ‘‘It happens in other good food cities like Los Angeles and, in a way, it was long overdue. But the biggest hurdle with any transformation of our city is regulation and legislation and it took the city council to shepherd this initiative through the maze of red tape and make it happen.’’

City council operates 12 food truck stops in the city, with vans rotating every three hours through prominent, high-traffic sites including the Customs House forecourt, Martin Place and Pitt Street Mall, as well as parks on the edge of the central business district. Truck owners  negotiated a separate lunch stop at north Barangaroo. Council is now seeking state government permission to allow food trucks to park along designated roads in fringe city centre suburbs such as Glebe and Surry Hills.

Two of the 10 trial participants, Cantina Mobil and Eat Art Truck, are on the road, a further three have lodged their paperwork and the council expects the rest to be trading next month. The trucks specialise in freshly cooked food from Eat Art Truck’s Japanese- and Korean-influenced barbecue treats to Chinese and Italian favourites and slow-cooked Mexican fare.

While the rollout has been slower than expected, Savill has sampled the fare of Cantina Mobil and Eat Art Truck and is pleased with the quality and diversity of food styles.

‘‘No one’s tried to be too fancy, and each of the trucks have worked with their strengths as a food business,’’ Savill says.

Once the public becomes educated about food truck culture and becomes used to tracking the trucks’ movements via social media, Savill predicts the movement will explode. A smartphone app has been developed to track truck locations and scheduled stop-offs.

‘‘It’s underground but give it a year and this [venture] will take off.’’