As street food season kicks off in Toronto, try this food truck's classic wontons
FeasTO Dumpling Food Truck parks at Bay-Adelaide Centre farmers' market each Thursday
The Victoria long weekend is the unofficial kickoff for many things in Toronto: summer, patio season, music festivals. It is also the unofficial kickoff for street food in the city.
Diverse street food options in Toronto are still limited due to regulations, but you'll start to notice a new food truck or two on University Avenue near College Park, and a new truck or two at downtown farmers' markets.
"We wish things could be different. The city makes it hard to operate a food truck in Toronto," said Cameron Pounder, who operates FeasTO Dumpling Food Truck with his business partner, Ada Mok.
When the food truck is active during the spring and summer months, I will go out of my way for a plate of dumplings. The OG Pork has become a favourite over the years, plump dumplings that eat like a bowl of ramen or pho, with intense pork flavour, subdued by the soy-sauce soaked wrapping.
"I grew up eating dumplings. My mother would make them weekly. But, also it's a type of food that allows us to get creative. The dumpling is a vessel for inspiration" Mok said.
Pounder and Mok are well-travelled food enthusiasts who have spent a considerable amount of time exploring the street-food scene of east Asia and south-east Asia.
The FeasTO truck launched five years ago during the peak of Toronto's newfound obsession with food trucks. The menu has remained the same, a small menu of stuffed dumplings with a variety of sauces. The lemon grass chicken is fantastic, it has lasting impressions of lemon and mint that follow through with each bite into the dumpling and linger long after you've finished the plate.
With a modest menu, Pounder and Mok were able to introduce something new to Toronto.
Toronto's downtown lunch rush is very similar to U.S. counterparts like New York, Boston and Chicago. During warmer months, you have thousands of hungry mouths that are looking for quick and affordable food, preferably from a mobile vendor.
"It's exciting to be eating outside, a plate of something and you catch up over lunch," Mok said.
"City regulations don't allow us to get to the Financial District. University Avenue near College Park is great but we really want to be downtown," Pounder said.
While curbside may not be the best option for finding great street food in Toronto, the weekly markets that operate in the Financial District have become stomping grounds for food trucks.
You can find the FeasTO at one of the longest running weekly markets, the Thursday Farmers' Market at the Bay-Adelaide Centre. If you spot them, immediately order a plate of shrimp wontons.
The classic Chinese combination of wonton and chili oil is fairly new to the truck's menu.
I had it for the first time during the Toronto International Film Festival last year. Pleated wontons are stuffed with chunks of shrimp, served with a drench of chili oil. The oil gives the wrappers a silky and slippery mouth feel, and personally I feel that there's nothing better than shrimp flavoured with chili oil.