What’s on the menu at Street Eats, Scarborough Town Centre’s food truck festival and weekend night market
Indoor dining might finally be a reality any day now, but 2021 will still go down as Toronto’s summer of street food. There’s never been a better time to get takeout in this city. Not only has it been the safest move until now, the selection of what you can get—pre-packed picnic spreads, five-star tasting menus, bottled cocktails—is unparalleled. And we have more patios than ever, too, thanks to the CaféTO program. This is what we’ve been asking for all along—it just took a dang pandemic to get it.
And now we even have a year-round food truck festival in the form of Street Eats Market, an outdoor food court of sorts at Scarborough Town Centre. More than 20 mobile eateries have a new permanent home in the shopping centre’s parking lot, along with live music and Instagram-ready backdrops for you and your food. The market is TTC accessible, admission is free and it’s open seven days a week. And from now until September 15, it will transition to Eats Night Market on the weekends, extending its hours of operation to serve all kinds of fun snacks and drinks under the stars.
Here’s a look at the vendors—both day and night—and the savoury and sweet treats they’re turning out.
From downtown Toronto to the STC, this bakery on four wheels churns out bite-sized doughnuts with gourmet embellishments. Choose from four flavours of glaze and a rainbow of toppings, including coconut, brownie crumble and whipped cream.
What to get: The Cotton Candy features two rows of doughnuts drizzled in “blue” (cream cheese) and strawberry glaze. $9.
Greek food on the go, including salads and burgers, pita wraps, savoury pies (tiropita, spanakopita) and Greek fries.
What to get: Chicken kebab dinner plate with Greek salad, pita bread and fries or rice. $14.50.
With brick-and-mortar restaurants in Toronto and Mississauga, this truck serves up fusion dishes that combine the best of both Middle Eastern and Mexican flavours.
What to get: Alijandro’s Box is chock full of beans, pico de gallo, crunchy chickpeas and a choice of sauce ($14). Their signature “fawaffle” is a falafel-batter waffle cone stuffed with avocado, al pastor chicken, lettuce, tomatoes and mint, drizzled with zesty garlic sauce ($12). To drink, there’s mango-mint lemonade, one of the market’s best-selling menu items ($5).
Baking up flat, roughly tail-shaped pastries since 1978, this Canadian franchise has 160 locations worldwide.
What to get: The Coco Vanil’ tops a BeaverTail with vanilla icing, crushed Oreo cookies and chocolate sauce ($7.25.) The Avalanche is an extra-indulgent number with a cheesecake spread, Skor bits and caramel sauce ($8.25).
This mobile kitchen (with permanent locations downtown Toronto and Mississauga) specializes in savoury and spicy Indian street food that’s both hormone-free and halal.
What to get: The kathi roll features a paratha cooked on a tava and filled with paneer (or chicken), vegetables and chutney. $10.
Launched just this past January, the Toronto-based bakery is already well-known for its cheesecake on a stick and dessert jars that are kind of like cheesecake sundaes.
What to get: Ferrero Rocher cheesecake on a stick. Enough said. $10.
This caterer and food truck serves Latin American dishes, many of which are plant-based, made with Ontario-first ingredients.
What to get: The mix-and-match tacos let you choose any three tacos from the menu. Pictured here are the cochinita (pulled pork), the Baja fish and the chipotle cauliflower taco ($17 for three). The cauliflower popcorn (corn flour–battered and fried florets with a chipotle aîoli) is a vegan and gluten-free favourite. $12.
This one-year-old operation from North York specializes in patacón, a Venezuelan snack that’s essentially a twice-fried smashed plantain sandwich filled with everything from black beans and avocado to grilled beef tenderloin with chorizo.
What to get: Their signature Flying Porky patacón is stuffed with pulled pork and ham, then dressed with pineapple chutney sauce, grilled cheese, lettuce, tomato and salsa. $13.
If it’s carnival treats that you’re craving, this food truck is a one stop shop to curb them all. We’re talking funnel cakes, deep-fried Oreos, floats and slushies.
What to get: The No. 2, a strawberry funnel cake dusted with icing sugar, capped with scoops of vanilla ice cream and strawberry sauce and finished with slices of fresh berries. $15.
Here, everyone’s favourite tot-shaped taters get a gourmet makeover, with tasty and crispy tots dressed to the nines in fancy toppings and sauces.
What to get: The Seoul-ful Taters top tots with Korean bulgogi, kimchi, sesame seeds and scallions. They’re finished with the brand’s own “dynamite sauce.” $15.
Grill and Thrill Kabob
This truck might specialize in Afghan cuisine, but it’s also the place to go for Italian burgers, hot dogs and Philly cheesesteaks.
What to get: The beef kebab platter with rice. $10.
New to the food truck scene is this family run business serving Filipino-inspired dishes, all given astronomical names. (Fun fact: the owners’ daughter is named Luna.)
What to get: The Red Stardust is a Cajun-dusted shrimp burger stuffed with tostones and guacamole and dressed with a spicy sriracha aïoli ($13.50). To finish, some colourful halo-halo ($8.50).
Cooking up Jamaican cuisine since 2003, this catering company now operates one of the busiest food trucks in the GTA.
What to get: The signature jerk chicken dinner, which comes with rice and peas, and creamy coleslaw. $12.
These Taco Fest Toronto winners (2017 and 2019) bring the Vietnamese-Mexican fusion feasts they’ve been turning out for the past five years.
What to get: The Saigon fried chicken bánh mì taco, a pastry shell loaded with buttermilk fried chicken, Saigon sweet chili, garlic cream, creamy slaw, lettuce, pickled carrots and daikon ($12). The new LVT Hot Fried Chicken Sammie stuffs a brioche bun with buttermilk fried chicken, spicy sambal crema, Hanoi slaw and sweet pickles. $13.
This three-year-old operation deals in gourmet grilled cheeses and other comfort food classics
What to get: The Mac and Cheese Philly Cheese Steak stuffs griddle toasted buns with a stack of shaved beef, grilled mushrooms, onions and bacon, all on top of a layer of cheesy noodles. $12.
This Toronto-based taqueria has been serving traditional Mexican dishes for over 15 years. Their mobile operation includes a stall that serves fresh fried churros.
What to get: Trendy birria tacos. Soft tortillas are filled with tender stewed beef, topped with cheese, onions and cilantro and served with salsa and a cup of consommé on the side for dipping ($7 for three). And of course there’s those freshly made churros we mentioned ($5 for two) and cups of creamy horchata ($5).
When it comes to Punjabi-Canadian comfort food with a twist, no one does it better than chef Rick Matharu. The winner of Food Network Canada’s Recipe to Riches has a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Mississauga where he serves things like tandoori fried chicken, butter chicken–stuffed samosas and rasmalai cheesecake. Now east-enders don’t have to travel so far west to get his goods.
What to get: Breaded tandoori garlic parmesan wings coated with a sweet-and-spicy sauce, and finished with Tandoori mayo and parmesan ($15) or Rick’s Fried Chicken sandwich ($12).
This four-wheeled sister of the King West restaurant also serves up Egyptian sandwiches with dukkah-seasoned fries.
What to get: The Tut’s Plus features any four sandwiches (choose from grilled chicken, grilled beef sausage, grilled minced beef, fried cauliflower or falafel) plus a side and drink. $19.50.
This small, family-owned operation started in 2005 and still specializes in gourmet poutines and cheese dogs.
What to get: The popcorn chicken poutine tops hand-cut fries with Quebec cheese curds, gravy and plump pieces of popcorn chicken tossed in Nashville hot sauce (or honey garlic sauce for a milder version). $15.95.
Visit this vendor for fusion food that’s as delicious as it is photogenic.
What to get: An ode to chicken parm, the Mama Mia Fried Chicken Sandwich is a beast that smothers juicy fried chicken with pesto aïoli, three cheeses, garlic rosé sauce, pickled chillies and parsley. $14.
Born during the pandemic, this food stall serves New Orleans–style beignets, each complete with a mountain of powdered sugar.
What to get: The O.G. classic beignet. $10.
From the folks at Alijandro’s Kitchen, comes this one-year-old shawarma shop.
What to get: The 12-inch chicken shawarma wrap ($12) or the Shack Chicken Shawarma Box, which can be ordered with rice, salad or half rice and half salad ($15).
Weekend night market vendors
Started by friends at the beginning of the pandemic, this business specializes in all things sweet (churros, cookies, candy floss) plus chicken croquettes—because not everyone has a sweet tooth.
What to get: The signature churros are fully loaded with Oreo, strawberry shortbread, caramel and popcorn, or coconut and chocolate ($5.75). Thirst quenchers include pouches of lemonade and iced tea. $4.50.
This stall is a collaboration between Fresh Coconuts, a Scarborough-based delivery service known for their imported fruit) and Press Supply, which makes cold-press juices made with things like soursop, sea moss, mamey sapote, jujube and pennywort.
What to get: The Tropical Bulldog, made with your choice of fresh-pressed juice and the water from a freshly cracked coconut. Pictured here is the Pink Mojito Tropical Bulldog made with watermelon, raspberry, lime, mint, jasmine rose tea and honey ($15). A more compact option is the Butterfly Lemonade that tops a cup of cold-pressed pineapple and lemon juices with butterfly pea flower tea, lavender, honey and soda ($8).
This restaurant-turned-trailer has been serving Trinidadian food for the past two-and-a-half years now.
What to get: The Bake and Shark, which is a delicacy that hails from Maracas Beach in Trinidad and Tobago. The freshly kneaded dough is fried to order before sandwiching deep-fried shark, mango chow, coleslaw, lettuce and tomato. $22.
For true, no-holds-barred Filipino fare—we’re talking fried pork intestines, sisig made with pig’s head, and balut—step right up.
What to get: Try the Sisig Poutine, fries topped with sisig and a special sauce ($10). Or snack on skewers of charcoal-grilled BBQ Pinoy marinated pork ($3), St. Lucia Tender Juicy Jolly Hotdog, a hard to find nostalgic favourite ($3) or a stick of crispy bituka (deep-fried pork intestines, $5).
This two-year-old Scarborough catering operation is best known for wings, especially when coated in their signature sweet and spicy sauce. Bonus: guest DJs at the booth.
What to get: Wings! But there are satisfying specials, too, like mini cornbread doughnuts and a popcorn chicken kebab (made in collaboration with @Jesa_Sweet_Tooth).
Although Jonathan Pong has been creating and selling Asian food–themed plush toys since 2013, this is his first time hawking edible goods.
What to get: The MDS Platter comes piled with curry fish balls in a fried noodle nest, fried rice noodle roll skewers and Spam fries. $15.
This vendor got its start a couple summers ago, operating out of Kensington Market’s Rasta Pasta every Monday. Here you’ll find Osaka-style takoyaki (octopus balls) and garlic ebiyaki (shrimp ball), though every now and then an Asian beef brisket bao pops up on the menu.
What to get: Made-to-order takoyaki-nuggets of octopus battered and fried with green onion, pickled ginger and tempura bits. They’re topped with bonito flakes, seaweed, house-made takoyaki sauce and choice of chipotle garlic mayo or Japanese Kewpie mayo. $7 for five pieces or $13 for 10.
COVID-19 safety procedures are in place with a mask-wearing policy and reduced capacity to permit social distancing.
Street Eats Market STC, 520 Progress Avenue, streeteatsmarket.com, @streeteatsmarket