June 20, 2013 | by Evelyn Reid - The Montreal street food ban, in effect since 1947, is finally lifted, this, as of June 20, 2013, with city hall awarding street food permits to 27 Montreal food trucks which were selected by a committee responsible for judging vendor suitability based on the “creativity and originality” of each applicant's respective menus under the guise of wishing to properly showcase Montreal's reputation as a leading foodie destination.
Montreal Street Food: Not Cheap
In other words, don't expect standard (nor for that matter, affordable) fare like basic hot dogs, steaming hot pretzels, ramen noodles for $2, a 12 inch banh mi for $3, what have you. Nope, in Montreal, street food does not equate with cheap eats. Instead, count on spending easily $40 to feed a family of four. And to be honest, that might not be enough to fill you up, depending on the truck. For example, I've spent $10 on two banh mi style tacos that, size-wise, were the equivalent of a... snack. I also forked over $8 for an Italian sausage served on a bed the size of my hand of baby spinach and green beans topped with peanut sauce. Both crazy delicious snacks, mind you, but considering the estimated cost of the ingredients and portion size? Wow. And I was still hungry in both cases. How do competing restaurants manage to make a banh mi submarine that's twice, if not three times as big for less than half the price? Somebody's making a mighty fine living off this renewed concept and I can't figure out if it's the trucks, city hall, or both, or even someone else behind the scenes who's raking it in.
Montreal Food Trucks: Still Yummy
At the same time, it's not fair to generalize the above to all Montreal food trucks. Sometimes the ingredients, portion size and prep time do justify the price, and hey, sometimes you just don't care about the cost and wanna eat something scrumptious, perhaps even high-end, on the spot. It's just, it's upsetting that the affordability associated with street food around the world has been wiped off the map in Montreal, one of the poorest cities in North America. So dear eater, be discerning and take my caveat for what it is. Don't expect value nor impressive portion sizes but do anticipate yumminess. I've yet to try a Montreal food truck dish I didn't like.
Montreal Food Trucks: Out And About June 20 through September 29, 2013
Montreal street food's official reinstatement season -- after a 66-year moratorium! -- runs June 20 to September 29, 2013 and will feature Montreal food trucks sharing their fare at nine key locations throughout the city. I've listed just below some of my favorite pit stops among them.
Montreal Food Trucks: Nine Locations, Four of My Favorites
To see an up-to-date list of which food truck is located where on a given day and time slot, visit the city of Montreal's street food page. Information provided in French only (at time of publication).
And now, for a few of my favorite spots.
01 of 04
The Angel Statue
A side of street food with your Sunday tam tams? Mont Royal Park is home to not one, but two Montreal food truck hot spots throughout the summer. One is the infamous Kondiaronk lookout and the other is my soft spot, the Monument George-Étienne Cartier otherwise known as that angel statue. Some say Cartier may very well be the reason we still speak French in Canada and by extension, North America. I get into that controversial topic here.
Where: by the angel statue along du Parc, between Duluth and Mont-Royal
02 of 04
Cité du Multimédia
A charming little spot in the heart of the Cité du Multimédia -- a semi-residential neighborhood crammed with high tech firms -- lies on the western side of the Old Port near Montreal's iconic Farine Five Roses sign. Banh mi sandwiches at $7 a pop were being served at lunch time on Day One of the street food ban lift.
Where: near the corner of de la Commune and Prince
03 of 04
Place du Canada
Just south of Ste. Catherine Street is a quaint square of greenspace used by downtown workers looking for an outdoor picnic space come lunch time.
Where: near the corner of René-Lévesque and Cathedral Street
04 of 04
I'm a sucker for fountains. Enough said.
Where: near the corner of McGill and St. Jacques