My hometown is very food friendly, but only if one wants to sit indoors. Our bylaws are a bit weird about selling food outdoors. Unlike Vancouver’s incredible street food scene, in Ottawa the cool food trucks are only allowed on private land. Hotdogs and fries: welcome anywhere. Anything interesting, healthy, local: we make it pretty difficult.
Difficult, yes, but not impossible! Local chefs have gotten creative to shift the definition of food truck to make it work in our government town.
Here are a few Ottawa street food vendors worth checking out:
The Bite This food truck has an awesome pad thai, called Thai One On. The truck is in a parking lot (across from 1960 Scott St) near the Westboro transit station, a short walk from the nearby foodie places like The Piggy Market.
Texture is very important with pad thai, and Bite Me’s is done well: The noodles are cooked perfectly so they are still individual, and not mushy. Chicken is tender. Green onions are crisp. Peanuts are crunchy. And the whole dish bursts of fresh lime.
Not into pad thai? Bite Me has other options (including, for those who must, fries). I hear fish tacos will soon be on the menu too!
Another Ottawa food truck is B. goods, a bakery truck, which can often be found at Ottawa festivals. Inside is a kitchen, including an oven. Brad Campeau (the owner and baker, right) makes delicious — and healthy — cookies. Flavours include spelt molasses ginger, cinnamon kasha, whole wheat chocolate chip, and whole wheat chili chocolate. You can also find the cookies at a number of food shops, such as the four LUNCH locations downtown, and the Herb and Spice shops.
While not exactly a food truck, The Taco Lot (@The TacoLot) is pretty darn close.
While it has no wheels, The Taco Lot is in a parking lot, and you have to go to the window to order – so to me this counts as street food! And, for sunny days, there are a few tables to sit at too. The Taco Lot makes tacos … chicken, beef, fish, pork and veggie are on their regular menu. On my last visit, I had beef – it was nicely flavoured, covered in generous toppings, and came with a delicious pineapple corn salad and a slice of watermelon.
I can hardly wait to check out Guest Chef Sundays! Owner John (above) tells me that some of Ottawa’s coolest chefs will be by to show of their creativity in a soft taco shell.
And, while not technically street food, after your taco, you can go next door to Suzy Q Doughnuts (991 Wellington) for a freshly made doughnut. There are classic (dark chocolate, sugar, vanilla, salted caramel) and crazy (dirty chocolate, chocolate Frito, margarita, caramel bacon, eggnog, s’mores) flavours that change regularly, and owner / baker Susan Hamer invents new ones all the time.
What other Ottawa street food is there?
Is there any hope for a change in bylaws so we can eat better while on the move?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Want more info on eating in Ottawa? Click HERE.