As city staff work on a proposal to allow more food trucks on Ottawa's roads, the local street-food scene is slowly diversifying.
Chef on Wheels, a food truck close to City Hall near Elgin and Lisgar streets, now sells Asian food. When Dung Le took over the former chip wagon from his mother, he said he decided to transform it.
"People around here, from the court house, the City Hall … they want a nice truck," Le told CBC News. "So they come here to eat. They want good food, healthy food."
There are 69 food trucks operating in Ottawa, and only 19 of them are allowed to operate on city streets. The rest have to remain parked on private property.
Six new licenses could be handed out next year
The city is proposing to hand out six new licenses next year. Philip Powell is the city's program manager of licensing permits and markets.
"We're really trying to focus on getting different types of food," he said, with a focus on health, fresh food and local food.
Food truck licenses and street permits cost more than $6,500 per year.
Donna Kyd pays rent to operate a food truck in a private lot. While there isn't a lot of pedestrian traffic in the area, she said she wasn't planning to compete for a spot.
"How are they going to decide who gets those licenses?" she asked. "The lineup for those permits will be miles long, and the city is really unclear in how they will make the decision as to who will be issued those licenses."
The new food-truck proposal is expected to come before city council this fall.