It’s no secret that Vancouver has some of the best street food around and the newest food truck to enter the scene is serving up some of the BEST. Vij’s Railway Express brings you on a food adventure that your taste buds soon won’t forget. The inspiration behind Vikram’s food truck are the major railway stops in India and the regional specialty’s they each have. He’s teamed up with the Gourmet Syndicate-the guy’s behind the Roaming Dragon food truck and event catering, in fact there using the dragons old spot on Georgia Street.
I was greeted warmly by Vikram himself as well as Gourmet Syndicate’s Jason Apple, I’ve followed the man behind the famous restaurant since I was a child so this was a big foodie moment for me, he is just like his food-warm, comforting and approachable. Speaking with Vikram over lunch he explained how the menu would work:
“I’ll have specials every week – one week it’ll be all Delhi, another week, it’ll be Bombay and the next, Calcutta. I wanted to bring awareness to the cuisines and showcase Indian foods and the regions of India“
I started with the Puffed Rice and Chickpea salad, it was a delicious mix of chickpeas and peas served with crunchy rice puffs, almonds, cashews and a fresh mint mango chutney. The salad was filling without being heavy. This salad had so many textures going on with between the nuts, puffed rice and chickpeas. The herbaceous flavor from the chutney kept me wanting more! It reminded me of a guy from London, England who was featured on Eat St and the only item he sold was this type of salad.
For a drink I went with the Blueberry Lassi, made with fresh BC blueberry’s, heavy yogurt, milk and syrup. It’s served in a bag that can stand up on it’s own on a flat surface or hang from your finger, it’s quite a novel way to enjoy a drink. It was fruity and delicious, the blueberry’s really came through and the yoghurt added a nice tang. The lassi had a bit of spice in the form of cardamom, it gave a nice hit at the end.
For my mains I was given a sampler plate of some of the most popular dishes. A Goa inspired curry of coconut with masala staring BC spot prawns, the Lucknow Lamb Kebabs and the Cassava Fries with Tamarind and Date Chutney.
The Cassava fries were crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. The tamarind and date chutney is something I loved, savory with a bit of sweetness, it’s like a delicious Indian ketchup. Compared to fries made from potato, cassava is really light in weight.
How can you go wrong with BC spot prawns and coconut curry-you can’t! It was creamy and fragrant, not spicy and a pleasure to eat. The prawns sweetness was complimented by the coconut and I could have eaten a big bowl of this alone. It usually also comes with naan but I had to pass seeing I’m still one-handed! The basmati rice was cooked perfectly and added a nice light nutty flavor.
One of my favorite dishes is the lamb kebab inspired by the Lucknow region in India but given a North American twist are not to be missed. The lamb is ground and formed into kebabs then grilled, served in chapati with a cucumber and tomato salad that is a great palate cleanser. This is one of the best-selling dishes and I’d recommend trying it before it’s gone! The meat is spiced nicely, not gamey and a pleasure to eat. The chapati is strong enough to hold together but still nice and thin.
Another item on the menu that is also vegetarian and one of Vikram’s favorite dishes is the Coconut Ginger Green Beans. I thought t would be a sautéed green bean dish but I was pleasantly surprised when this was brought over to me! The beans were soft and tender from being stewed, the rice underneath was cooked beautifully and the coconut garnish on top added a great flavor note.
Lastly we have the Coconut Beef Curry with fresh naan. This was another favorite of mine and is pretty popular on the truck. The rice is scented with spices and the naan is a bit more denser than what I’ve had before. Flavor wise the beef is packed with spices and a bit of chili heat that tickles the back of your tongue when your eating this. I tasted the sweetness of the coconut a bit but my favorite part of the meal was the beef, it was melt in your mouth tender and it had me coming back for more.
With dishes priced between $5-$11 it’s a delicious, affordable taste experience you should not miss out on. Open from 11AM-3PM, long lines form early but it’s well worth the wait. Vij’s is a great addition to our amazing street food scene, his food really does satisfy your hunger as well as feed your soul.
**Disclosure-my meal was paid for by Gourmet Syndicate, my opinion of the food is completely my own and was not influenced by Gourmet Syndicate.**