I’m a sucker for Hawkers Market. That combination of music, food, drinks, even a bit of art, all combined in a warehouse party space really gets me excited. But the lack of new vendors plus special food selling out way too fast is giving me second thoughts about Hawkers Market. (Also Vancouverites are still way too uptight to dance in public unless they’re plastered.)
It was held at MakerLabs on Kingsway and 10th, technically not Main Street (“Streat”) but close enough. It was the most convenient location for the market so far. Just a couple blocks away from the “brewery creek” area of town! This building used to be Cantu. If you ever shopped for bathroom fixtures, you might’ve been dragged here before. Food trucks lined up on the right (open to the public, of course), while the main event is inside (which you have to pay to enter).
Not to be confused with “MAKE” which is next to Main Street Brewing, just up a few blocks on Main and 7th.
Chili Tank is a common sight at the farmer’s markets around town. I think this is their first time at Hawkers Market.
One of my faves, Community Pizzeria.
Community Pizzeria’s menu.
Farm City Co-op selling veggies etc.
Fliptop makes another appearance at Hawkers Market.
I’m all for adding food trucks to Hawkers Market, BUT there still needs to be enough of a draw beyond these trucks (trucks that I could eat at any other week) to justify the $10 entry fee (that’s in advance — more at the door).
Inside Hawkers Market at MakerLabs.
Kombucha is a bit of an acquired tasted, but it reminds me of sour beers. It’s got a tart, slightly funky, fermented flavour with fruity qualities.
A few different varieties, each with their own particular taste and aroma.
Cookie cups are just as rustic-looking as last time 😉
Torching up some marshmallow at Sweet Petite. It’s nice to see boyfriends/husbands/guy friends helping out their partner with their food business. It’s almost like a stereotype at these kinds of events… “My wife drives the bus, I just push.”
Time to actually eat: Crushed Italian Meatball pizza from Community Pizzeria.
I could use a bit more charring on the bottom. It was good this time but it’s been better before. So many subtle variables at play here, from the dough, the yeast, the oven temp, the humidity, the weather, how many crucial seconds plus or minus the target time spent in the oven…
They had two 33 Acres beer available: 33 Acres of Sunshine (Blanche) and 33 Acres of Ocean (Pale Ale). I actually ordered an Ocean but they got the taps switched by mistake and poured me a Sunshine (pictured above). I dunno why nobody else noticed until I inquired, because they’re quite different-tasting beers. Ordering a hoppy pale ale but tasting a blanche/wit actually results in a visceral WTF?! reaction. At least, it did for me 😉 Humble-brag over.
The power of the pyramid didn’t cause people to dance more than usual…that is to say, nobody danced the entire two hours we were there. DJ Cito is back. I like his stuff but his playlist is getting a little bit played-out… Plus the speaker setup was wack. I think there were only two speakers for the entire space (one speaker pictured above), so if you weren’t in the sweet spot in front of the speaker, it all just sounded like mush.
Happily Stuffed are back too.
Cake in a jar.
We got a Matcha Mochi Bar.
Wicca loved it. Great idea. Sweet chewy mochi with a bit of a crust and good matcha flavour.
Wonton Girl is back too.
I really support her fancy wonton idea, but those prices are a bit steep.
I got one of each (far right, clockwise): Chicken with scallion oil, Yam & Cauliflower, Eggplant, and Shrimp (last three with sweet soy sauce on top). The shrimp one had a problem with the wrapping and/or frying. The way it’s formed, you get thick layers of wrapping on one side that gets a bit tough and hard to eat. Eggplant was good. Great idea to have eggplant inside a deepfried wonton; it was a new experience for me.
Chicken one was great! With the scallion oil, it reminds me of eating Chinese poached chicken with scallion/ginger oil but in a deep-fried wonton form. Whether it’s worth $1.50…well, I hope she gets some economies of scale going to make the prices a bit more attractive.
Saddest one was the Yam & Cauliflower one. Definitely needed more filling. Flavour was good though.
So that’s one of my nagging thoughts about Hawkers Market — that you start seeing the same vendors again and again. I would love to see more savoury options like Wonton Girl, but I think Hawkers Market is at the mercy of whatever vendors approach them with. If people in Vancouver aren’t really that gung-ho about starting up a food business, well, it’s gonna be reflected in events like Hawkers Market.
Another beef I have with Hawkers Market: special stuff selling out way too fast! The event started at 5:00 but when we got there at 7:00, a few vendors were already sold out! The Food Gays‘ CRAQ cream puffs were long gone 🙁 Read more about what they were here.
The Fried Chicken and Waffle Sandwiches from Oxtale were also sold out before we got there 🙁 If you’re gonna go to the trouble of booking a table and spend time prepping and cooking, why not make sure you have enough to sell? Arggh!!!
Another weird thing that happened: Rickshaw Foods were there but either sold out or had some problems with service that forced them to pack up early. They had a sign but turned it around. For people walking past, it was a bit strange and unfortunate.
I also saw a few empty tables. Good for me so I can put my food down (lack of tables and seating are always an issue), but it’s a bit of a buzzkill cuz it gives the impression that some vendors backed out at the last minute or just didn’t care. It’s like at a tradeshow — you don’t ever want to see an empty booth, or worse, a single guy sitting on a single chair in a bare booth…technically he’s there but who’d ever want to do business with him?
Ok, let’s wash away these mild disappointments with a crepe!
Savoury and sweet crepes available, of course.
Wicca went with the Roasted Peach, Caramel Orange, Candied Almond and Grand Marnier crepe.
Roasted peaches were sweet, flavourful and fresh-tasting. A bit drippy and messy if you’re not careful! The Chouchou lady said to eat it horizontally so the filling doesn’t all fall to the bottom, but easier said than done 😛 We’ll need more practice to eat crepes that way.
Sackful of caramel that didn’t go to waste 😉
So, great crepe but it’s a crepe we can eat any other day of the week, no Hawkers Market admission necessary.
Hmmm, chili for me!
Smokey Beef Chili with cheese and sour cream on top. Comes with a slice of Whole Wheat Boulevard Baguette from European Breads. Good choice of bread.
Generous big ‘n meaty chunks of ground beef. The liquid part of the chili tasted a bit on the thin side though, but otherwise good.
Nice Pops are back!
Cucumber, Lime & Chili from Nice Pops. A bit tart, a bit sweet, a bit spicy! The cucumber made it very refreshing. The girl said they’ll be doing “hopsicles” soon using hops!
I couldn’t resist getting a bottle of kombucha to blend with a beer at home.
It’s great that Hawkers Market is providing a platform for start-up food businesses to test out their ideas and probe the market, but things seem to be getting a little stale. In my “grass-is-always-greener”-type thinking, the Hawkers Market events in Edmonton and Calgary seem a bit more exciting. One of the Edmonton events featured stuff like BONE MARROW and TAMALES! Calgary had pork belly baos (steamed buns)! But as I said above, it all depends on who is willing to step up to the plate and execute their Next Great Idea (but also crunch the numbers so you can survive doing it). If you’ve got something new, exciting, creative and foodie-worthy, money will fly out of my hands in your direction. Contact Hawkers Market if you have the guts.