Having just returned from Portland (food cart heaven) a few weeks ago, I still had street food on my mind. You see, Vancouver is still in the stone age of food carts compared to the City of Roses. Sure, city council has finally given in to the street food experiment. However, the ridiculous lottery system which determined who got licenses, has not exactly set things up for success. In fact, most of the "winners" didn't even set up shop in time to take advantage of the summer months. Finally, we see several popping up, especially in the Downtown Core. The one that is getting all the attention is Re-Up BBQ. Focused on doing only one product and doing it well, their Pulled-Pork Sandwich is the talk of the town. People are flocking over to the small setup on Hornby at Burrard. There seems to be a consistent lineup of people willing to fork over $6.00 for street food. On that note, you'll notice that "street" food in Vancouver is not exactly cheap. In fact, it seems to contradict the whole premise. Sadly, unlike street food in other parts, our fees, health codes and taxes do not allow vendors to charge any less. Thus, our "street" food is more for the "spirit" of the concept rather than actually being dirt cheap.
With that in mind, I made the trek into Downtown to get a taste of the new Vancouver street food scene. I arrived shortly after 1:00pm and the lineup wasn't too bad, probably 5 minutes or so. They get the food out quick and the line moves. I noticed that they were constantly making fresh coleslaw. That in itself made me feel good about this operation. You see, many places will make a large batch of coleslaw way in advance, resulting in a soggy product. I finally made it to the front and after snapping some photos, I returned to the car anxiously waiting for a taste. Many different things hit me when I took the first bite. The roll was fresh and soft which made it easy to eat without things falling all over the place. The crunch of the fresh coleslaw with an obvious spicy mustard flavour combined with the vinegary BBQ sauce really complimented each other. It seemed to me that there was some horseradish-type kick too (not completely sure though). Finally, the pulled pork itself was plentiful and moist. Due to the limitations of the cart, the meat is not prepared on site; thus it becomes a bit wet. However, looking at the sandwich as a whole, it was very satisfying. Sure, some might think $6.00 (now $7.50) is a bit steep for a food stand; yet I was full and in no need for more eats. From that standpoint, it was well worth it.
Oh alright. Here is an addition to this post... You see, Viv sometimes misses out on some of my food adventures and I really do feel bad. Really! Well, not while I'm enjoying the food, maybe afterwards. I hope she isn't reading this! So, I made a trip out to the 2nd location (no longer at this spot) just to get her a sandwich to try. After all, Costanza and I keep raving about the sandwich in front of her! Unlike the Downtown location, the Re-Up on the corner of Granville and Broadway looks more like a hot dog stand than anything. Probably explains why they have a sign explaining that they are not a hot dog stand... Well, Viv essentially echoed what we've been saying: moist pulled pork with a flavourfully tart BBQ sauce with fresh crunchy non-overdressed coleslaw on a soft bun. She was really full after the large meat-filled sandwich. Looks like they're consistent.
- Meat is moist, coleslaw is fresh & crunchy and bun is soft
- Reasonable price considering everything
- No absence of flavour
- Meat lacks smokiness and/or BBQ flavour