Hungry for change from the same old fare on the streets of Toronto? Your palate and your stomach may have to wait a little longer to get something different and vendors will have to wait to charge more for their goods. For the last several weeks, we’ve been telling you about a plan by City Hall to enlarge the kinds of offerings available on street carts throughout Toronto. But thanks to a change in the law coming August 1st, you’ll soon be able to meet – or meat – a dish that’s far removed from the only real thing you can get now – a hot dog.
The city held a Street Treats preview at Nathan Phillips Square on Friday, showing off what’s to come. Among the exotic tempting tastees on display: souvalaki, salads, Chinese melon soup with curried shellfish and a strawberry confection that has to be tasted to be believed. But don’t get out your fork and spoon out just yet. While the change to the rules is officially in place at the start of next month, the city admits it can’t be ready in time. “If this were to go August 1st, it would be complete chaos,” concedes John Filion, the chair of Toronto’s Board Of Health.
Queen’s Park approved the change last week, which caught the city by surprise. There simply aren’t enough inspectors or equipment to regulate the vendors to ensure the food is safe. “The Ministry of Health announced August 1st,” Filion adds. “They didn’t ask us, they didn’t talk to us about it.” That’s put the councillor in the odd position of having to delay a plan he’s been championing. “It’s unfortunate but ironic but I have to bring a motion to council to nullify August 1st,” he shrugs.
The earliest you might be able to order the new recipes is spring 2008. But they’ll only be available in designated areas. The kinds of food that will be available then have yet to be decided, but the goodies on display Friday may give you some idea of what could be on the menu:
Florentine Tripe Stew
Ontario Green Asparagus
Sweet Potato Bundles
Chili Lime Corn
Fried Spring Rolls (veggie/meat)
Fresh Salad Rolls with Shrimp
Curried Vegetables with Rice Hopper
Chicken Souvlaki on a Pita
Pork Soulavki on a Pita
5 Spiced Chinese Melon Soup with Curried Shellfish
Sugar Cane Jasmine Iced Tea Lemonade
Summer Salad Rolls
Strawberry, Sour Cream Brown Sugar Crepe
Gruyere Cheese, Fresh Dill Cracked Black Pepper Crepe and of course,
A new amendment to the Food Premises Regulation will take your taste buds on a stroll come August 1st. Health and Long-Term Care minister George Smitherman says the new options will allow street vendors to sell more than just hot dogs and sausages.
“Ontarians are at our best when we embrace the diversity of our people and our culture,” announced Smitherman. “By expanding street menus, we are making it possible for our food options to reflect our multiculturalism. We are also helping a new group of entrepreneurs showcase their culture’s culinary contribution to their cities.”
The expanded menu will allow for pre-prepared, pre-packaged foods such as salads, fruits and baked goods as well as pre-cooked foods that are reheated on-site including samosas, pizzas, burritos and hamburgers.
There will also be treats like non-dairy smoothies, whole fruit, orange juice, corn on the cob and others. The best part is the new regulation allows local Medical Officers of Health to approve additional menu items, as long as they are convinced the products are safe for the public.
Local municipalities will still be responsible for determining licensing requirements, which includes menus and locations. Like any other food premises, vendors will be subject to food safety inspections.