Government St. at Fort St.
J: On a warm Victoria day, I was following Ed on an empty stomach as he attempted to complete his errands, from the metaphysical crystals at Instinct Art & Gifts to the artistic supplies of Island Blue. But now and again I would redirect when something of interest popped into the corner of my eye.
SerSon Gallery of Fort Street was one of those stops. Although barely enough room for a man my size to move, there was plenty to view. As I spun around I examined old UK magazines, nesting dolls and formerly owned rotary phones.
But I paused if only for a moment to gaze upon the beautiful shop keep Sonia. From her words I learned they restore old phones to working condition. I also gathered on my own that people can hand paint their nesting dolls (I saw a must-have Harry Potter set in the store’s display window). But as fun as it was to investigate the great independent shops of our city, my stomach was whining.
Dinner was only an hour away but would it take time from our schedule to locate a small cart operation?
E: On the road less traveled, our hungry noses were the guide. Or was it our senses?
We chanced upon a hot dog cart offering Asian styled variations. Is it original? Nope, but at least the owners/operators recognized the trend started in Vancouver. And the thought of kimchi on a hot dog was paramount. At $5, I thought why not?
J: I really wish Victoria would have more carts like these working the year round.
Carts like the one serving sushi in Sooke would be beneficial. Sadly Victoria’s economy depends on the tourist dollars and we are not of a metropolis size to support our own independent businesses’ health.
But the good news is I have seen more food operations on wheels this year. Familiar names like Pig and L’Authentique Poutine and newer names like the Hungry Rooster are a great way to introduce food to the masses.
Hey, the Noodle Box started with a simple cart all those years ago and I’m glad to say I was one of their early customers. But I’m still sad to say I was not one of their early investors. Hindsight is still 20/20 but that shouldn’t stop people like me from looking for the next big thing.
Victoria Oven’s Japanese teryiaki dog will not make the owners’ rich but it will be most welcomed by hungry tourists and locals. Their beef hot dog was nicely seasoned and was clouds above store-bought. I could’ve had two but room was needed for dinner at Shizen Sushi. And I don’t have to have my J-teriyaki on an all beef because Victoria Oven lets you choose either pork or the more vegan friendly option.
E: I tried the one in Sooke a long time ago and it was satisfactory. They made a name for themselves by saying they do locally harvested fish, but the options were limited since the cart can only hold so much.
Although, I like to do a volume measurement… just how many hot dogs and trimmings can a traditional cart hold versus one for sushi? All that rice is a volume killer. At least the type of nori used can be compressed down to a nice sizable container. it just springs back up when taken out!
J: It’ll be the first sushi rolls ever marketed and sold by Wham-O.
E: In the Korean dog, I liked it. The kimichi was not overpowering, and that could’ve killed the product. I’ll have to try the Japanese teriyaki but I’m surprised James couldn’t figure out the complexities of the Japanese Mayo and the nori used. By sight alone, I could tell the dog was not evenly spread out and the cook talked about the difference between store bought and home made Japanese mayo.
I’m shamed to say that James lost a point at being a foodie (or remembering that fact).
J: I definitely loved the Japanese mayo on the product. It’s only influenced me to purchase a bottle at my local supermarket when next payday comes.
All I knew was the hot dog was better than store bought and much better than those I’ve bought at the occasional Mr. Tube Steak franchise cart.
A foodie is someone advanced in the ways of food preparedness, ingredients and taste whereas a food lover is someone still learning but can still appreciate the taste of something good. And out of all the hot dog carts I have ever tried, this is the best. I’ve learned cruelly in life that there is always someone better than you and that people are easily replaced.
But maybe, just maybe we need to change all of that and appreciate more of what is in the now before regretting what is gone. Perhaps places like Quadra Village’s Rice Bowl would still be in business today.
3½ Blokes out of 5