By: Dylan Horn
Students are naturally frugal beings on an never-ending quest for cheap eats in handy locations. The five-buck lunch has been increasingly rare to find in Toronto, and while the food scene reflects Toronto’s celebrated diversity, we can’t all afford to go out to restaurants. The food trucks on St. George have long been an oasis for the hungriest among us, for the students who for the moment really don’t give a shit about health. When facing the perils of late November and early December, you just need something cheap, greasy, and filling. Recently, we’ve seen some new players north of Harbord Street enter the game.
the newspaper hit the streets this week to sample the best eats our food trucks had to offer, at prices students can stomach. We kept a five-dollar budget per truck, which disqualified some of the more expensive trucks like Kee’s and Wokking on Wheels.
D&M Catering (the blue truck)
Location: Usually in front of the Astronomy building, across from Knox College Style: Fries, Poutine, Burgers Item: Hotdog & Fries ($4.50, gravy 50 cents extra). Hotdog topped with hot mustard, onions, ketchup, and corn relish.
Review: The blue truck has excellent fries. We must start with this because they really are quite spectacular. Crisp on the outside with a savoury inside and a unique taste you don’t typically get with cheaper fries.
The hotdog was quite filling and although the bun was nothing special there were plenty of available toppings at your disposal to do it up right. This can become laborious though, and a little dangerous. (I remember topping my fries with cayenne pepper during a windy winter day and accidentally blinding someone.) It was certainly filling and a satisfying dish for under five dollars. The five-dollar poutine served at the blue truck also deserves some serious props. They make different types of poutine as well, including bacon, garden and Mexican.
Ken Ho’s (the red truck)
Location: Usually in front of the Bahen Centre, across from Galbraith Style: Asian, Meats and veggiesItem: #9 Meal Box Review: This meal was excellent. It was a mix of BBQ pork, chicken, oyster sauce beef, mixed veggies, and chicken ball all on a generous bed of white rice. The portion was by far the largest for a five-dollar meal, and the components of the dish were wonderfully appetizing upon first glance. Each part had its own unique flavour, from the well-spiced BBQ pork to the crispy vegetables to the saucy beef and chicken. The chicken ball (the best part of the chicken of course) was nice and crispy on the outside, surrounded by an exquisitely chewy dough.
The rice served as an excellent bed, absorbing the concoction of sauces above and preserving the flavour without being dry and tasteless as white rice can be. The meal itself was extremely filling and felt like it would last me the whole day. Overall fantastic, but definitely not for eating on the go.
King Shawarma (the green truck)Location: In front of Robarts, across from Rotman Commerce
Style: Middle Eastern, Fries, Burgers Item: Falafel Wrap with all the fixings + hot sauce
This falafel certainly didn’t make me feel awful. It was a great portable—although meatless—meal that did the trick when you’re just a little hungry. The staff were also very friendly, although the meal took the longest to prepare out of the bunch.
It was a very well-seasoned falafel that was a step above Ali Baba’s but not necessarily gourmet either. One side was falafel goodness, and the other heavily veggie. The pita was fine, but definitely not first-class flatbread. The allotment of pickled veggies was tasty, but not as crispy as I would’ve hoped. The hot sauce was perfect, and although it was a tad messy by the very end, I was satisfied enough not to care. They had a number of smaller items for under five dollars, but if you want meat in a wrap, you gotta pay an extra buck.
Ideal Catering (the beige truck)
Location: In front of Sid Smith
Style: Fries, Burgers Item: Toronto Supreme Fries (medium) with cayenne pepper on top.
Review: This was the most efficient food truck I visited. The orders were quick and I had my food in less than five minutes. Unfortunately, this is where the good news ends. This dish is a greasy concoction top to bottom. The kind where a pool of unappetizing oil accumulates at the bottom and turns the fries soggy and uneatable. I admire their attempt to create something unique using a combination of ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream, but the end result was a greasy mess that was difficult to chow down on.
The beef lacked any sort of seasoning or flavour. Tt was just there, slowly coagulating and disintegrating the food that laid beneath. The veggies on top were not the freshest. I wouldn’t mind so much, but when you have sour cream and flavourless beef effectively ruining what were decent fries, it created an awkward texture that I couldn’t stand to finish.
This article was originally published on our old website at https://thenewspaper.ca/the-arts/cheap-meat-street/.