The FIRST food truck to hit the streets of Vancouver, The Roaming Dragon is also the city’s most award-winning and recognized food truck. Specializing in Pan-Asian deliciousness, their menu is rooted in authenticity with innovative inspirations and quirkiness to modernize traditional flavours and presentation. They focus on DELICIOUS food (sustainable, ethically treated, as local as possible!), a FUN customer experience (music, interactivity w/ our team), and being SUPPORTIVE of their community (charitable events, fundraisers, etc).
RH: What is the funniest thing that has happened to you inside a food truck?
RD: Last Summer, we had the Dragon at a Festival and we were just about to close up for the night when one of the Dragons stepped outside to close up shop. As soon as he stepped out, he locked eyes with a SKUNK…yes…a real live skunk! We had a truck full of team members held hostage by a skunk. For an hour, we were poking our heads out the back door, looking in the truck mirrors to see if the little stinker moved on. We honked horns, smashed pots, stomped on the floor, and the bastard wouldn’t let us go. The worst part was that we had to be there the next morning for another busy day of slangin’ our Roaming Dragon deliciousness and we were worried that if we pissed the little bugger off enough, he’d ruin our next day may making us the Stinking Dragon…needless to say, the laughs, conversations, and experience of the skunk incident was by far the funniest time we’ve ever had inside the truck (so far!).
RH: What is your favorite food trade with another truck?
RD: Our menu is pretty diverse, so we get our fill of pork, chicken, fish, beef, noodles, and salads…our best trades are when we get something that doesn’t fall into these categories. Last month, we were invited to be a part of an event for YELP and we were flanked by “The Juice Truck”…fresh juices, smoothies, and great people. By far, our favourite trading partners! We have so many exciting, creative, fun food options and vibrant food truck personalities in Vancouver, so we’re looking forward to continued trading!
RH: What part of food trucking did you think would be popular that ended up not being so?
RD: Before the streets of Vancouver were open for food trucks or carts, Vancouverites were limited to see trucks/trailers/carts (serving food other than hot dogs) at festivals and events. Knowing this, we still decided to bring the Dragon to life, and we decided to sign-up for a Summer-long “Night Market”. The event is regarded as the LARGEST event of its kind outside of Southeast Asia. Hundred of vendors and tens of thousands of people coming every Fri-Sun night for 3 straight months. Although we were limited on where the Dragon could roam, we were convinced that our Pan-Asian menu would be a no-brainer success at a market whose primary visitors would be familiar with our flavour. The reality was quite the opposite. People LOVED the glitz and glamour of the Dragon, and if we had a dollar for every picture taken next to the Dragon, we’d be retired.
The Mistake: If your food isn’t under $5 for a heaping plateful of food or the item isn’t on a stick, you’re seen as overpriced and confused. Our use of organic, hormone/antibiotic free, homemade this and delicious that didn’t stand a chance. We showed up with a suit and tie to an event that called for flip-flops and tank tops…
The Upside: We stood out so much at the night market, at a time when changes for regulations were just about to happen, that we received HUGE amounts of attention. The media flocked to the Dragon to try our eats, and while the volume of business we received didn’t meet our expectations, the media love for our food and appreciation for our “vision” propelled Roaming Dragon into the spotlight!.
RH: Where is street food heading?
RD: Street food is heading into an era of total accessibility. More restaurants will see the value in mobility, not necessarily taking their eats to the street, but looking at food trucks as ways to expand their brands and reach. Street food will morph into “Mobile Restaurants”.
RH: What on your menu is a must-have?
RD: Our menu has it all, so it really depends on your mood, the weather, or preferences. Fried Rice Balls are insanely delicious, Togarashi Tuna Tataki Sammy is insane, Indonesian Rendang Poutine is off the charts delicious, and our Sloppy Duck is to die for.
Roaming Dragon has been featured on the Food Network, NY Times, across virtually every Canadian news source, and as far as Japan, Australia, Korea, and beyond. The Dragon was award a prestigious “Best Food Cart” award for 2011 and the founders recently were selected as “Top 40 Foodies Under 40” by Western Living Magazine.
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