Tastes & Treats at The Food Truck Wars
· 7 min. read
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When I was younger, I prided myself on having a hollow leg and the ability to eat much more than the average man. However, last weekend at The Centennial Market's second annual Food Truck Wars, I finally met my match.
I've written about The Centennial Market a few times, and I've watched it grow in leaps and bounds the last few years. The market is inside the shell of the former Sears Outlet building, a building where I spent much of my childhood. Sears closed this outlet building in 2016 and shortly afterwards The Centennial Market opened in an attempt to save the shopping centre.
The market grew quickly, and the parking lot of the building has become a hub of events throughout the year. One of the biggest events is the annual Food Truck Wars.
Although various types of "food truck wars" have been common in other Canadian cities for decades, Regina didn't have them until last year. The catalyst that caused the Food Truck Wars to begin was the decision of the city to increase food truck permits to $1,680 (from $1,400) per season. Many food trucks couldn't afford that and weren't able to set up in popular places like Wascana Park or City Square Plaza. Because the Food Truck Wars operate on private property, the food trucks don't need a permit to set up shop. This means not only are vendors able to make a profit, but that food trucks from other communities can participate too, like Graham's Grill who came all the way from Duck Lake.
Although I didn't attend the Food Truck Wars last year, I was asked by the event organiser, Chrysta Garner, to be a judge this year. This entailed sitting at a table and having people bring me different dishes of food for three hours. It was a difficult task, but I was up to the challenge. There were six judges in total, with some of them being Winston Chapman from WinstonOneOnOne.com, Dalby from the Regina's Rock Station 104.9 The Wolf and former mayor Pat Fiacco.
Last year's Food Truck Wars had each judge eat a full dish of food from each food truck, but the number of food trucks had doubled this year, so it was decided we would all share. We had to grade the food on presentation, size, flavour and the appearance of the food truck.
In the course of three hours I sampled four poutines, four minidonuts, three hamburgers, two nachos, one taco, one hotdog, one sausage, one perogy, one ice cream sundae, once cup of ice cream, two rolled ice cream and plenty more.
I wish I could say I could eat all that? but I couldn't. After dish number eleven I began to feel sick, and I couldn't touch dish number twelve (which is too bad, since it was Peg's Kitchen and I've always wanted to try her perogies!). I excused myself to go to the bathroom? and to save you the details, I missed dishes thirteen and fourteen.
Thinking back, I don't think it was the food that made me sick. I think I was oblivious to how hot I was, and how little water I was drinking. I still have sunburn from that day, so I think I was suffering from a minor heat stroke. Either way, when I got back, I was happy to walk into dish number fifteen, which was nice, cold, rolled ice cream.
After we were done judging, Garner took our votes and compiled them to make a final decision. About a half hour later, the winners were decided. Prairie Smoke & Spice BBQ won third place, Absolute Zero won second place and Sweet Tooth Rolled Ice Cream won first place.
The Food Truck Wars went on for another hour, with the beer gardens and the live entertainment ? music by The Milkman's Sons and the Crosby Harle Band ? becoming the main event. But, instead, I decided to go home and fall into a food coma.
Although the judges had collectivly chosen their winners, I had some of my own favourites. Along with Sweet Tooth Rolled Ice Cream, I also really enjoyed Bon Burger and their pizza burgers (pepperoni on a burger is something I didn't know I needed) and Tru North Concessions, who had a delicious foot-long hot dog. I also really enjoyed Going With The Grain, who I would argue is the number one underrated food truck at the whole event. I've had their food before, and it is always spectacular.
It's great to see the event growing and becoming more popular, and I was honoured to be chosen to be one of the judges. This year they had fifteen food trucks and over 40 vendors, and I've been told the upcoming one in August will be even bigger.
For those who didn't make it to the event, the complete list of all the food trucks in attendance are:
- Absolute Zero
- The Bannock House
- Bon Burger Regina
- Coney Island Poutine
- El Tropezón - Food Truck
- Going With the Grain
- Graham's Grill
- J & P concessions
- Nacho Fiesta Food Truck
- Prairie Smoke & Spice BBQ
- Queen City Grill
- Spiral Spuds
- Sweet Tooth Rolled Ice Cream
- Tru North Concessions
Thank you again to Chrysta Garner and the Centennial Market for inviting me to be a judge. Next time I'll do my best to eat all fifteen-plus dishes.
Do you think you could be a judge at the Food Truck Wars? Did you participate this year? Tell me why or why not in the comments below!
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Categories: Canada, Regina, Saskatchewan