By Jess Wind
What do you do when you have 25 food trucks and not nearly enough stomach to try ‘em all? Bring helpers! We showed up hungry, at the crack of 11 a.m., ready to take on the Fraser Valley Food Truck Festival’s final event of the season in Fort Langley, and we were glad we did.
Before the trucks had fully rolled up their windows, line-ups started forming. Poomba’s Smokehouse and Mo Bacon sandwiches quickly had hungry guests looking for early lunch. We did a lap up and down Glover Rd., taking in the beautiful backdrop of historic Fort Langley, before committing to our first street food indulgence.
Taters, The Baked Potato Co. was our first stop and with so many different baked potato topping options, it was hard to pick a flavour. Luckily they offered free samples! After much deliberation and tasting it was decided that the “Sea ya later tater” with lobster, snow crab, and cod in a cream sauce was amazing, but the “Wild West chili tater” with beef brisket paired better with the baked potato foundation. Staying true to smokehouse chili flavours, it was a warm, hearty start to the day with a generous helping of tender beef.
The next step was to investigate what was coming out of the wood-fired oven at Whistler Wood Fired Pizza Co. Their menu featured a variety of favourites including pepperoni and Hawaiian, but I went with the unexpected and subtle rosemary rock salt. Scorching hot out of the oven, the unmistakable smell of rosemary wafting around me, I folded the first slice of impressively thin-crust Neapolitan-style pizza and took a bite. Flavours were subtle and complemented the hint of sweetness in the crust and the rich tomato sauce. This pizza was so good, my helpers went back for seconds to try the pepperoni.
Perhaps the most talked-about dish was Feastro, The Rolling Bistro’s “Original Dirty Fries.” These fries make poutine look like child’s play. They featured a bed of tasty fries, topped with pulled pork, two kinds of aioli: chipotle and lemon garlic, house-made BBQ sauce, fresh salsa, and pickled jalapeños. It was colourful, aromatic, and each flavour shone brightly. People were stopping us in the street to ask which truck the mountain of food came from.
The festival featured other food truck staples including tacos from Los Tacos Hernanos, gourmet hot dogs from Dougie Dog, and gourmet mac and cheese from Reel Mac & Cheese. There were “Big Ass Truck Made” burgers at Suburban Spoon, Fish and Chips at Pub Grub, and bannock sandwiches at The Bannock Wagon. But it was time for something sweet.
Though Mollies Mini Donuts were calling with their sweet fried “hugs,” the smell of which could be detected far down the street, I decided to go with a cannoli from The Cannoli King. There was just no denying the combination of sweetened ricotta, almonds, and chocolate chips rolled in a crispy fried cannoli shell. I only ordered one, and regretted it later when they sold out early.
By the time we’d indulged in all we could handle, the line-ups were stretching further and further from the trucks. Despite relatively quick cook times for food trucks, some people were waiting upwards of 45 minutes for their dishes.
Laine Ogilvie of Memory Laine events, who organized the food truck festival season in the Valley, commented on the crowds and overall impression of the event.
“The crowds were amazing. We did have a few line-ups as you do with large crowds. All the attendees were so happy to be there, and did not mind the wait,” she said, adding that they expected the turnout in Fort Langley. “This is usually the norm with these events, we do bring 25 food trucks and there usually are line-ups, but they are not too long of waits as the trucks are quick getting food out.”
The online discussion followed this sentiment. Many of the food trucks advertise their social media presence, and happy customers commented that the food was well worth the lineup, and they were thrilled to have attended.
Ogilvie noted that the changes to the Fort Langley festival this year made for a more successful event.
“We moved the event to Glover Rd., had double the trucks, and an overall better event. Live band, kids entertainment, community involvement.”
The trucks lined the street and were framed by bustling local shops and Fort Langley’s historic Community Hall which featured live music, plenty of seating, and an artisan market to round out the event.
Fort Langley Food Truck Festival pulled out all the stops to make it more than just a collection of excellent street food. It was a community-wide, family-friendly, and food-centric event that put many smiles on many faces. We showed up hungry, indulged in food truck staples, and found new favourites. How long ’til next year?