Winnipeg Food Trucks

Winnipeg’s food truck scene is thriving. Weekday lunch hours see Broadway transform into an impromptu street food festival. Remember when it comes to street eats, cash is king.

Rob Carson, the proprietor of Cones Shakes Malts snugly fits inside  his mobile ice cream parlour. You’ll find this tiny silver and red barn-shaped trailer across from the Leg. A  menu of creamy soft serve based treats lists the classics: malts, shakes, sundaes and waffle cones. We love sipping the laid back, beachy flavour of piña colada milkshakes, but the treat that really transports us is served in a Styrofoam cup.  Thick and frosty chocolate malts come with a side of Hudson’s Bay basement nostalgia.

Food truck lineup (illustration by Jeff Lowell ©2013)

 To find Stuff It Foods look for a red truck adorned with a mean-looking mascot, a menacing, ingredient-stuffed loaf of bread brandishing flatware. This playful logo is an extension of the proprietors zany personality and aligns with his creative approach to street food. Hollowed-out crusty baguettes (removed centres become donuts) transformed into versatile, portable vessels for flavourful fillings.  Vegetarian chickpea curry has great balance with warm, full-bodied  sauce that’s not too hot. It’s served with basmati rice and a veg option, like bright lemon cucumber slaw. The must-tries here are deep fried Cajun battered pickle spears and addictive, crispy banana peppers.

Mobile Japanese sweet shop Tokyo Rabbit has a focus on fresh, cone-shaped crepes with yummy fillings including fruit, Nutella, butter and sugar, caramel, maple syrup and nuts. A concoction of cool green tea ice cream, fluffy whipped cream and  earthy-sweet azuki red bean paste satiates sweet cravings without cloying. While there, grab a couple custard tarts to go. Baked fresh daily and flavoured with vanilla bean these moist pastries taste even better cold.

Chef Darryl Crumb’s latest project, Tot Wheels has rekindled our appetite for Tater Tots. Gourmet tots based on the Crumb family potato pancake recipe are made with cottage cheese and fried to crisp, golden perfection.  Dishes  are smartly named after vehicles representative of the region or lifestyle flavours nod to. For example, The Prius is a vegetarian rendition loaded with fresh vegetables and herbs, including some from the chef’s own garden. The Spirra (Korean sports car) tops hot tots with tender braised short ribs, a punch of kimchi, green onions and slivers of biting radish. This formula of hot and crunchy with fresh and juicy is stellar and a refreshing riff on the almost stale poutine trend.