Mobilizing is by no means an easy process. Take, for instance, the illegal emigration of Chinese immigrants from the province of Fujian. Many residents of the waterside area will, like yeast or the protagonists from The Borrowers, gather together during times of hardship to seek better pastures, particularly those of New Zealand. However, this island nation only serves as a stepping stone to these fleeing people, who eventually see America as the land of great opportunity and thus their eventual goal. Unfortunately, the means by which they smuggle themselves out of their native country is quite unconventional. They will squish themselves into crates of cargo and, unbeknownst to the larger transport vessel, hitch a ride across the sea. Of course, those who choose to travel in this economic fashion could become malnourished, diseases, or dead due to the unsanitary, cramped quarters that they have resigned themselves to. To make matters worse, if they are caught alive by the officials of their target nation, they will likely be deported. Thus, mobilization of a smaller population from a larger entity may not always succeed, but it does, to some extent, for Vij’s new wheeled outlet, Vij’s Railway Express.
Based off of the trademark Indian restaurant, the Express truck is located on West Georgia Street between Burrard and Thurlow. Be prepared for a bit of a line-up if you choose to venture out. Janice and I, following our new ritual of #foodcartmondays, elected to do so after hearing word of its inception on Twitter. After about 15 minutes in line, we were able to place our order.
This is what was being offered on the day of my visit; it may be subject to vary.
After getting baked (in terms of temperature) in my car on the way over, I noticed most of the waiting patrons sipping on their ginger lemon drink. However, the manager stepped outside during the middle of our wait and announced that it was now sold out. Darn! I instead decided to further elevate my bodily temperature by ordering the Kashmiri Chai ($3.50), a cup of chai with pistachio and almond slivers. Perhaps the ex-history student in me ordered this as a result of the region referenced in the name of the drink. In any case, I found the beverage to be far too sweet. Although it did have a strong chai flavour, it was rather flat and overpowered the nuttiness that I was expecting. I hypothesized that perhaps the slivers had sunk to the bottom given their presumably increased density, but this was not the case. I was sad. Perhaps the ginger lemon drink would have been a better option.
Janice, not being fance enough, ordered the Galam Masala beef curry ($8.50), which came with rice and naan bread. The curry had quite the powerful, dynamic flavour with a strong, yet not overwhelming, presence of spice. However, she felt that the naan was too thick and bread-like and would have preferred a thinner variation. She felt that her meal was worthwhile overall nonetheless.
I, on the other hand, have been wanting to try Vij’s lamb Popsicles for quite some time now. As such, I ordered the Lucknow lamb kebabs, spicy lamb kebabs on chapati. This was clearly more of a wrap and not the skewer I was expecting, although that’s alright. It was kind of awkward to eat with a fork but looked too messy to consume with one’s hands (I went to finishing school in Switzerland), so I ended up stripping it and going directly for the prize.
Upon biting into the lamb, it exploded in a mess of oil in my mouth. Nonetheless, I could still appreciate the slight crispness of the outside as well as the chewiness of the meaty interior. There was but a slight hint of the usually distinctive gamy flavour of the lamb, which I generally don’t mind. In terms of heat, I felt as if Janice’s curry was much spicier. The lamb itself did not have a very distinctive taste, although the accompaniments enclosed in the chapati assisted in this regard. After the proteins and lipids, the bed of lightly dressed fresh vegetables underneath added a nice, healthier contrast.
In the end, Vij’s Railway Express is certainly a noteworthy addition to the crop of food trucks permeating the downtown scene in Vancouver. It may not be able to encapsulate the original restaurant or the slaw of true Asian street food, but it did capture the stares of pedestrians passing by as Janice and I roosted ourselves on some nearby steps to consume our meals. Of course, were they more intrigued by the food or our fatass tendencies? For the sake of Vij’s and our dignity, I’ll just assume it was the former, as it is definitely worth a try.
Conclusion: Andy ate a fair amount.
Vij’s Railway Express
1075 West Georgia St.