It’s Friday, approaching lunchtime and it’s one of those clear blue-sky days when Victoria shines, postcard-style. The water is sparkling and the Olympics sharp against the skyline. I’m downtown and I’m hungry.
Reluctant to get myself into a sit-down restaurant affair, I wander down to one of Victoria’s top seafood vendors on the water — Red Fish Blue Fish — hoping against hope that the lineup is reasonably short. No dice. It’s a 40-minute wait. Now I’m hangry.
Then a little voice in the back of my head reminds me I’d heard something about food trucks behind the Royal BC Museum. I’m not sure if they actually exist, but I head that way anyway. As I near the imposing building, I spy a sandwich board on the steps, with the words Food Truck Festival and an arrow, pointing, well — behind the museum.
So it’s a festival! I follow the signs, turn a corner and smell food — grilling, baking and frying. Mmmmm. I dart up a small flight of stairs and angels sing as I take it all in. Trucks. Perogies. Burgers. Salmon. Shrimp tostadas. Fish tacos. Beer and wine. More burgers. Creole po’ boys.
Set in a sunny, garden-like courtyard with ample seating and eating space, the Food Truck Festival is a haven for Victorians (and savvy tourists) who crave a food truck experience — and don’t want to have to travel to Portland to enjoy it.
I watch as Puerto Vallarta Amigos dishes up a tostada that’s piled so high with shrimp that I can’t even see the actual tostada. Paired with an order of generous Baja fish tacos crammed with coleslaw and spicy sauce, there’s enough to satisfy anyone’s appetite until breakfast the next day.
Terry, the affable vendor at the salmon stall, serves me a generous sockeye fillet with crispy skin, tomatoes and lettuce on a whole wheat bun. “No onions,” I say automatically and when he wholeheartedly agrees, my heart does a little leap — he’s my kind of people. The burger is divine: flavourful and slopping-all-over-the-place juicy.
The bottom line: this hidden gem of a food festival is a heaping helping of funky authentic goodness. And, it’s been so popular that it’s graduated from summer-only to April of next year.