On a cool sunny day, the crowds were genuinely excited for the street food season to begin in Ottawa. It kicked off yesterday with many vendors setting up shop at the Marion Dewar Plaza, in front of City Hall. The Street Food Showcase donated a portion of the proceeds to the Ottawa Food Bank. It was a win-win situation, really. Not only did the crowds have a chance to check out all the options, but they were supporting a great cause.
I invite you all to use the SFAOtt (aka Street Food Adventures in Ottawa) hashtag on Instagram and Twitter.
Andrew and I went there earlier than the official start time of noon to beat the crowds.
Urban Cowboy Eats serving things like cubano sandwiches, ribs and jambalaya.
Bap by Raon Kitchen (Bank Street between Albert and Slater) serving bibimbap, a Korean mixed rice dish. I wrote about them last year here.
The Mobile Mayflower is a reincarnation of the Mayflower Pub that was found on Elgin. They'll be serving scratch-made comfort food.
Gongfu Bao Cart (Elgin and Slater) serves Chinese-style steamed buns and also rice bowls as well.
Angry Dragonz (Lyon and Gloucester) will be serving things like egg rolls and chicken, beef, and lamb skewers on rice. Here's their Dragonz Bowl. The asian slaw dressing reminded me of wafu dressing. It had hints of soy sauce, sesame, and something bright. We found the chicken skewers to be the juiciest, but I liked the cumin-spiced lamb skewer the best. I've had lamb skewers in Shanghai a few years back and have been addicted ever since (just look at these lamb skewers at Rice Pea!). I can see why it's a popular dish. It's very summer-y because there's more slaw than rice, which makes it lighter.
ByTown Bayou serving Lousiana-style goods like smoked brisket and pulled pork. They're one of the new trucks this season. We liked that they didn't drown their brisket and beans with BBQ sauce like a lot of other places do. In fact, we didn't taste any BBQ sauce in their beans at all. The creamy coleslaw was mild but added a nice crunch in the sandwich. Normally the meat is the star, but I think the buns they used were surprisingly solid. It wasn't super processed and held it's own against the tender smoked brisket.
Stella Luna serving their award-winning gelato flavours. The lovely ladies told us that we could choose up to three different flavours for $6. It didn't make our decision any easier. Andrew settled on three different flavours. Their dark chocolate, dark run & wild cherries was rich and intense. Mango passionfruit sorbet was smooth and velvety. Raspberry & blackberry sorbet was refreshing. Remarkable stuff.
Mr. Churritos (O'Connor and Sparks St.) serving hot churros out of the fryer. Fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar is such a familiar taste and smell in Ottawa.
The Merry Dairy serves frozen custard and ice cream sandwiches, Frozen custard is how ice cream is supposed to be. It's super creamy and full of flavour. Here's a scoop of both the Ottawa Valley Maple and Madagascar Vanilla. My favourite of the two was the maple.
Ad Mare (Slater and O'Connor) pulling out things like shrimp po' boys fish 'n chips, and lobster mac & cheese; Royi Fruta Bar (Elgin and Laurier) flipping empanadas; BoBites (Metcalfe and Sparks St.) serving baked potatoes loaded with things like saag paneer and feta with arugula pesto; Rico Peru (Olmstead and Montreal Rd.) scooping out Peruvian fare, were all there too. Sorry if I missed anyone who was there.
Throughout the food truck season and the year, you'll want to visit the vendors at their usual locations. Many of the vendors will also do festivals and other events, so keep an eye out.
This event is only the beginning. The showcase was a pleasant reminder that Ottawa's food scene is underrated. Go check out their locations and support local!