As Interest in Ethnic Food Rises, Filipino QSR Chain Jollibee Plans Aggressive Expansion

As Interest in Ethnic Food Rises, Filipino QSR Chain Jollibee Plans Aggressive Expansion

If you haven’t already heard about this Filipino fast-food chain, then you’re sure to run into one in North America within the next five years.

It’s called Jollibee and it’s set to open 100 stores in Canada within the next half-decade. As reported by The Canadian Press, the company “is eyeing the wave of new locations because the country is a key growth market and a big part of its North American expansion plans.”

Ethnic food, especially from the Philippines, was predicted to be a top trend for 2018, as Foodable reported in the past. It looks like Canada is really embracing this trend ever since Jollibee entered the market in 2016. The fast-food brand is exploring Ontario, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver to further expansion plans.

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Number Of Microbreweries And Vegan Shops Help Determine Most Hipster City In New Study

Number Of Microbreweries And Vegan Shops Help Determine Most Hipster City In New Study
  • This study determined the most hipster cities in America by purely analyzing data; and it's probably not the ones you may assume.

  • Cities with a population above 500,000, did not rank in the Top 10.

A recent study determined that Vancouver, Wash. is the No. 1 ‘hipster’ city in America.

‘The Couv,’ as locals call it, is the largest suburb across the Columbia river to Portland, Ore. a.k.a. Beervana. Surprisingly, Portland itself, known for it’s people with ‘hipster tendencies,’ ranked at No. 12.

But how are hipsters defined, anyway? And, do hipsters even know they are hipsters?

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A Closer Look at Vancouver’s Street Food Scene

It’s been almost six years since Michelle Ng founded Vancouver Foodie Tours in 2010, a business that stemmed from her passion for food and people. But Jane’s Walk was the catalyst. “They’re a non-profit organization and they were looking for people to host walks around Vancouver…so I contacted them and said, ‘Why don’t I offer some food tours for you?’”

“The street food scene in Vancouver… it is a scene that’s full of gourmet food trucks utilizing a lot of local ingredients, oftentimes organic,” says Ng. “And they’re all supportive of the local food artisans, which I think is great.”

One of these gourmet trucks is Soho Road, a mobile concept that delivers authentic Indian street food — and even has a tandoor oven on board. Its name, says Soho Road’s owner Sarb Mund, was inspired by a road in England.

“We couldn’t find a great curry here anywhere, so we thought that the coolest thing to do was [to] be able to showcase a tandoor oven, have it on the street, and have everyone be able to enjoy it like we do,” says Mund. Soho Road specializes in naan kebabs.

Mund says one of Soho Road’s menu standouts is the butter chicken, a naan kebab that’s not been done anywhere else, as far as he is aware.

“Our mission overall is just to make sure that everyone gets that amazing bite,” Mund says. “You definitely don’t sacrifice quality when you have street food. You can find some of the best food on the street in Vancouver.”

Butter chicken naan kebab at Soho Road

Butter chicken naan kebab at Soho Road

tacofino
Tacofino's fish taco

Tacofino's fish taco

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Tacofino is an operation with two food trucks and three brick-and-mortar locations. As its name suggests, Tacofino is a Mexican-inspired concept. The fish taco is what they’re most famous for, but menu items like the tuna taco take a playful spin: seared albacore tuna with cabbage, salsa fresca, ginger, wakame, and wasabi mayo. Tacofino, like many Vancouver food trucks, take a local sourcing approach. All of their produce and proteins are sourced locally, and all of the fish used is sustainable.

“When somebody orders dishes from our food trucks, they’re really able to experience the produce and the seafoods and the meats that we’re able to produce around this area,” says Ng. 

And what’s a food truck scene without some grilled cheese? At the aptly named Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck, owner Cindy Hamilton and crew have built a gourmet menu on a classic comfort staple. Mom’s includes a build-your-own format grilled cheese but also features options like The Sweet Little Val — lemon mascarpone, poached blueberries with thyme and honey, and slivered toasted almonds grilled between buttered brioche.

Hamilton’s mergence into the food truck biz is a bit different than most food truck owners. “I was rock climbing one day, and I overheard two guys talking about how there was a Hollywood film coming to Beijing, and no one [there] did any Western-style catering,” says Hamilton.

She had always loved to cook but had never done it for a living, so she told them she’d cater the film for them. That film just so happened to be “Kill Bill,” and two days later, Hamilton was on the set, in Beijing, catering. She stuck with TV catering for five years until having a child. Starting the food truck and quitting film was the only way she could afford a flexible schedule to spend time with her daughter. But it seemed a natural fit. “Anywhere I travel, the first place I hit to eat is on the street,” she says.

Locals and visitors alike are taking to the streets of Vancouver for a bite.

“A lot of times, food trucks are competing with the food shops and the food courts, and even the restaurants that don’t necessarily use a lot of local ingredients,” says Ng. “And so, there’s a lot of people in Vancouver and also visitors that do want to experience what we can produce locally, and it’s also better for your health because it’s fresher ingredients, it’s more sustainable, it hasn’t traveled miles and miles to get here, so I think it’s a great thing and a lot of people are behind it in Vancouver.”

Check out the “On Foodable Side Dish” episode above to get a closer look into Vancouver’s local (and delicious) food truck scene.

Vancouver Emerges as Portland's Next Foodie Hot Spot

Downtown Vancouver  | Facebook

Downtown Vancouver | Facebook

Less than ten miles from Portland, Vancouver, Washington has recently emerged as one of the Northwest's newest foodie hot spots. Over the last several years, Portland's top chefs and restaurateurs have begun making what is referred to as the "Columbia River crossing," bringing Portland's vibrant food and drink culture to downtown Vancouver.

Well known Portland chef Paul Klitsie, who previously operated the Pearl District's Fratelli restaurant, made the trek over the river less than two years ago, opening Willem's on Main in Vancouver. Following suit, Southwest Portland's Taste of Sichuan opened its second location in Vancouver and Chris and Cindy Reed, of Portland's Screen Door restaurant, recently opened The Grocery Cocktail and Social bar to serve Vancouver residents a number of specialty crafted artisanal cocktails.  

Will more Portland restaurants follow suit?  Read More

Sherry Makes a Fashionable Comeback

Sherry Makes a Fashionable Comeback

By Natalie Migliarini, Foodable Contributor

Sherry, in the modern day is coming back to the bar scene all over the world, including in the vibrant cocktail scene in Vancouver, B.C. The city's Nomad Restaurant is taking the lead and creating new and inventive sherry inclusive cocktails. 

Nomad is an enterprise crafted by four associates from British Columbia who have journeyed to different parts of the world and experienced a world of cultures and flavors. Those experiences were brought back to Vancouver, BC to create a unique dining experience. 

Not only are these experiences reflective of the dynamic food menu but also in the bar program. Seasonal ingredients and trendy cocktails are what this bar is all about. The cocktail menu includes fresh locally sourced ingredients that is ever changing to make best use of available produce. You will also only find British Columbia beer and wine on their menu. They use these components in making their own shrubs, bitters, syrups, tinctures, and infusions. The menu is made up of a selection of multi-facade cocktails with a lot of depth in which with each sip you may discover a new flavor. This philosophy is translated into the sherry cocktails they offer at the Nomad bar. Sherry is considered an old-school tipple of wine with further distilled wine added to fortify from grapes grown near the town of Jerez de la Fontera in Spain. The Moorish period brought about the name of Sherry, which was translated from the Arabic, Seris, pronounced "Sherish". Nomad Restaurant Owner and Head Bartender Matt Van Dinther gossiped with me as to why sherry is making a fashionable comeback. 

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