Le Tigre is one of the newest Vancouver food carts around but has been the talk of the town ever since it has set paws on the road. With staple dishes like beet fries and kick ass rice, the two chefs offer something modern and refreshing to crowds rushing to their very distinctive ride. You won’t be left hunting for too long!
The owners have been locally trained: chef Steve Kuan gained experience in award winning restaurants after graduating from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, and chef Clement Chan graduated in Culinary Arts at VCC to be named National 2010 Canadian Chef of the Year by the CCFCC. Both have won a number of championships, and chef Chan was one of the 20 contestants on the second season of Top Chef Canada, which makes Vancouverites lucky enough to enjoy Top Chef quality food!
The unique beet fries definitely contributed to this food truck’s fame. Beet wedges with plum powder are lightly battered and fried to add a crispy factor to this otherwise tender and juicy root vegetable. The chopped fresh cilantro on top is a refreshing addition that instantly brings summer to mind. A seven spice mayo accompanies the dish since fries usually come with something to dip into. You may want to keep it aside to enjoy the natural sweetness of the beets.
Another specialty is the kick ass rice served with either braised pork belly or chicken popcorn. The rice is kicking with finely sliced Thai chilis, scallions and fresh herbs. Fried rice can be at times oily and somewhat bland but this version is something to write home about: it is cooked in sake, butter and dashi (Japanese stock). It is served with a poached egg that could be a bit more gooey so the rich and warm yolk spreads to the neighboring meat and rice.
A nice surprise and a pure delight is the warm brussel sprout and cauliflower salad. Don’t like brussell sprouts? This dish will make you crave them! The crunchy vegetables —probably flash fried— mix well with the capers, cracked chilies and parmesan cheese that make this dish somewhat sweet but not too much thanks to the dash of lemon juice. For only a few dollars, this salad is an excellent value.
There are few items on the menu so it is possible to taste them all in two or three visits. The steamed bun with BBQ pulled pork should make it to your plate. The protein is very tender and is nicely complemented by the sweet chili bean sauce. The salmon miso chowder is oceanwise which does not come as a surprise since Le Tigre is eco-friendly in so many ways. Don’t miss yet another favorite: the finger lickin’ popcorn chicken. Wash it down with their special drink – if not sold out when you finally get to order!
While the two chefs describe their food as a modern twist on classical Chinese cuisine, it does not feel overly Chinese. Even if their name is French and their ingredients very West Coast, their dishes are excellent Asian street eats with amusing names and excellent flavor-texture combinations that only chefs wearing plastic Hello Kitty frames could create.
Tuesday: Cambie and 8th Ave
Wednesday: Jackson and Railway
Thursday: Alberni and Bute
Friday: Granville and 10th Ave
Saturday: Farmer’s Market
Closed: Mondays and Sundays
Follow them online to get the latest information on their location and hours of operation.
Written by Véronique St-Antoine. Connect with Véronique on Twitter @vstantoine.