Street food is haute-r than hot dogs

The chefs at Kimono Koi Crepes peek out from their vendor cart.

It’s 1 pm and you are certain that your stomach has started to digest itself. You know from experience that the bowl of Special K you hastily consumed on the way out the door is not going to last you until the end of the day. But you are wary of "street meat" and you don't want the hassle of eating at a restaurant.

Fortunately, James Tabbert and Amy Eagan have a solution to your dilemma. Tabbert and Eagen are the creators of Vancouver Street Eats, a blog that offers profiles and reviews of street food vendors in Vancouver and other locations around the Lower Mainland. They even include a vendor map so hungry readers can locate the food carts nearest to them before their blood sugar drops to critical levels.

The site was inspired by a recent decision from the City of Vancouver to allow 17 vendors to sell street food other than the ubiquitous hot dog. The move was a long time coming for those who say it's high time for Vancouver to have healthy, authentic, and multi-ethnic on-the-go options.

Tabbert and Eagen hope that Vancouverites will follow in the footsteps of San Francisco and Portland and develop an appetite for high quality street food. They encourage the community to get out, grab some grub, and then provide feedback on their site.

VO caught up with Tabbert to get the freshest dish on the hottest items on the menu.

James Tabbert and Amy Eagan love testing out new street food creations.

Why did you decide to create the site?

I've always loved street food of all kinds and have eaten it around the world. I used to live within driving distance of New York and fell in love with the hundreds of food carts there. Falafel, donair, soft pretzels and pretty much anything you could think of can be found on the streets of the city.

When I heard about the pilot program, the thought of having something similar here excited me. I went online to find out more. There was little information on the vendors available so I decided to start the site.

Do you work in the food industry?

My first part-time job was working in the Indian kitchen of a family friend's restaurant. My love affair with food and the community around it began there.

What's your background (and Amy's)?

I worked in restaurants and bars for a few years before becoming involved in copywriting. At the time, I was also working as a production assistant on many movies and television programs in Toronto. I started a P.A. Support company with a friend, running two trucks.

It was time for a change.

I lived in Vancouver in the late 90's and missed the west coast life style. I moved back in 2008.

Amy started a contracting company that designed many of the window displays in downtown Edmonton. She pursued a career in industrial and furniture design. Currently she is employed as a technical publications editor and also does graphic and web design work.

Who contributes to your site?

The concept has stayed the same since we launched. The vendor profiles are written by us with information and sometimes photos coming from them. Reader comments and ratings also are a very important addition to the site's content.

 Do any of the food vendors read it?

A good portion of the vendors visit our site, contributing details and changes as needed. We have met many of the vendors and have had a chance to speak with them. We are planning on meeting everyone and fleshing out their content on the site before the month's end.

If you were to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner (plus snacks!!) at different food vendors throughout the city, which would you choose and why?

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