New York has the mobile food concept down to a science. Its streets are spotted with those ubiquitous hot dog and pretzels stands, halal food carts, and even dessert trucks (Wafles and Dinges for thick and crisp Belgian waffles, or the Dessert Truck for all things sweet and decadent). Many of these highly successful businesses even keep their fans privy to their current location via Twitter. I had a hot dog from a street food cart today. But it wasn't in New York City.
Japa Dog is Vancouver's answer to the high quality, trendy mobile food movement. Established by a Tokyo ad salesman named Noriki Tamura, the cart has claimed its territory on the corner of Burrard and Smithe since its establishment in 2006. Having been highlighted by the local media and frequented by visiting movie stars, the cart is often surrounded by a sizeable crowd. On a cold, drizzly day like today, the wait wasn't much longer than ten minutes. Offerings include many types of sausages (turkey, beef, pork, veggie) served on a warmed bun, garnished with Japanese-style toppings. These include nori (seaweed) shreds, daikon radish, bonito flakes, and fried cabbage, to name a few. They also offer fried onions, possibly as an homage to the usual, "normal" hot dog carts (and also because that cooking onions smell is the most effective form of advertising for any sausage vendor).
I had the Edamame Terimayo hot dog. It consisted of a bratwurst sausage embedded with edamame beans, covered in teriyaki sauce, japanese mayo, nori shreds and fried onions. I also added wasabi mayo from the little squeeze bottle on the side. It was sooo juicy, flavorful, and well worth the $5. Yummmm.
I highly recommend this not-so-secret food destination. And with three locations (two in downtown Vancouver), it is easily accessible to visitors and locals alike.
Japa Dog Food Cart (Look for the crowd. Or follow your nose)
Burrard and Smithe St.
Burrard and Pender St.
Coal Harbour Community Center