It was a historic moment yesterday at Nathan Phillips Square as two merchants put meat onto various forms of carbohydrate- and starch-heavy receptacles, added condiments, and sold them to hungry passersby in exchange for local currency.
These meats, however, were not churned byproducts and seemed to resemble, at least in part, the animals from whence they were hacked; and the vessel into which it was placed was not a slit cylinder, but either flat, unleavened circles or boiled grains.
Vegetables, both in salads and as stuffings, abounded. Grease was notably absent.
’Twas street food of a different sort as four cart vendors — two of them stationed at the city square — held their first day of business as the products of an arduous process from which Toronto never seems never to emerge: The neverending quest to diversify our street-eating culture.
“The flavours,” decreed the first in line for ethnic food at the square, Coun. John Filion, as he dug a spoon into a styrofoam container of chicken biryani and rice, “are really extraordinary.”
As cameras flashed and TV crews circled, Filion tasted city hall’s efforts firsthand, consequently judging the chicken as “so tender, it melts in your mouth.”
Filion added, “This really is a momentous day. We finally have street food that reflects the diversity of our city.”
Ahmad, a gentle, bearded man from Pakistan, has paid more than $40,000 for the privilege of dishing up biryani and spiced vegetable salsa. In the process, he and seven others morphed into the brave vanguard willing to brave the bureaucratic burdens and potential financial ruin to broaden the city’s hotdog monoculture.