American Street Meat Takes the Cake

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TORONTO — Street food has undergone an evolution during the past few years. Some cities are much more successful at the venture than others, and it turns out Canadian urban centres are not necessarily among the best.

According to the National Post, Portland, Ore., has 600 licensed vendors selling everything from Swedish soul food to Northern Thai, while Toronto struggled to hand out just eight licenses in its 2009 “A la Cart” mission.

Vancouver recently jumped on the bandwagon, too, awarding 17 sidewalk spots to 800 applicants — a process that caused some bad blood among restaurateurs.

The key, it seems, is avoiding all the red tape that dogs Canadian cities and isn’t such in issue in American ones. “Our perspective down here is a cart is going to live and die by their customers,” Brett Burmeister, managing editor of foodcartsportland.com, is quoted as saying in the Post. “Let a chef serve cupcakes if they want to serve cupcakes. They’re small businesses. You don’t need that much more regulation because that hurts them.”

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