It’s lunchtime on a nice sunny day and you’re walking down Granville Street.
Life is good, except you’re hungry. You think about grabbing something from a street vendor, and you look around.
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There’s a hotdog vendor featuring Polish smokies.
And another one offering veggie dogs.
Yet another sells buffalo dogs.
And then there’s Japadog, featuring seaweed and wasabi.
Clearly, the choices are infinite as long as you want a hotdog.
But there’s more to life than tube steak. Isn’t there?
Mysteriously, Vancouver’s several dozen street vendors are limited to selling hotdogs for “health” reasons. Anyone who knows what goes into the basic ingredient of the hotdog knows hotdogs and health are mutually contradictory.
City hall has apparently been worried that if variety is allowed on pushcarts, vendors will start selling guinea pig on a stick, common street fare in Peru. And if you think hotdogs are bad, what do you make of “carne,” that unspecified protein found on the streets of Mexico?
Still, now that the post-Olympic glow has made street life OK in Fun City, Gregor the Good, Mayor of Vancouver and purveyor of Happy Planet organic juice, has taken up the challenge to offer more variety on the street. He has a city hall bureaucrat working on it full speed, around the clock.
You think this is simple, getting donairs to the people? Think again. We have to consider the restaurant owners, who hate the idea of these mobile interlopers who don’t have to pay taxes.
We have to think of a fair way to distribute prime locations — the current lottery system is gamed by wily vendors who get their relatives to sign up. We have to worry about more and varied trash. We have to employ and train more health inspectors, not to mention dining columnists.
You should be able to buy a street taco or a kebob by, oh, 2015.
Fortunately, Portland exists for precisely this reason. Whenever we don’t know what to do, we go to Portland and find out what it is up to. And as in all comparisons between Portland and Vancouver, Portland is better. We have somewhere around 40 hotdog carts; Portland has 450. We have hotdogs; Portland has Bosnian cuisine, whatever that is.
If Portland can do Bosnian, the thinking goes, so can we. It’s like Vancouver, only with Nike instead of Electronic Arts.
Let’s get on with it! There’s only one real question still outstanding: Does that come with fries?