Recently my eyes were opened to the wonders of street food (and I’m not talking about hijacking the food vans for the homeless and needy) when I came across a bright yellow van parked outside the Two Trees café on Vulture Street, in West End. The mobile food van is called the Wandering Elephant and it has been operating in Brisbane for almost two months. Friends Anthony Bartzis and Ben Carter started the business after Ben came back from a trip to Thailand. Ben is half-Thai and has modelled the menu on traditional Thai food with a bit of a modern twist.

Ben told me that they are one of only two food carts currently operating in Brisbane. The other cart is called the Bun Mobile, which travels around Brisbane serving up gourmet burgers to hungry passersby.

When I backpacked throughout Europe in 2010 I came across various food stalls. Paris was of course the home of the Nutella crepe and in Istanbul I found corn on the cob, pomegranate juice, and water chestnut vendors everywhere. My boyfriend (original hailing from Seattle) says that there are street stalls everywhere in his home city. He says that the meals are significantly cheaper than in a restaurant and you get the opportunity to interact with people in the community (an opportunity that is restricted by headphones and mobiles).

The beauty of the mobile food-vending store is primarily the saving on the overhead costs that are associated with running a restaurant. The vendors can set up symbiotic relationships with business owners that don’t sell food. Ben says that the food truck is beneficial to owners of small coffee shops in Brisbane, such as Two Trees. The food van attracts a larger clientele on the days it is located near small business.

I have to say that I’m sold on the idea of the mobile food van. I can’t wait until we see more popping up throughout Brisbane. Maybe then we’ll earn a little more street cred. Happy dining out.

To find out where the Wandering Elephant is going to be, like them on facebook http://www.facebook.com/wanderingelephant, or look them up on http://wherethetruck.at/.

To find out where the Bun mobile is going to be, go to http://www.thebunmobile.com.au/.