Unlike some other cities around the world, there’s only a few choices available to us Sydneysiders who like their street food – there’s the Chinatown markets on Fridays and Harry’s Cafe de Wheels around town. Luckily our options have now been broadened with the City of Sydney Council approving some street food trucks to start doing the rounds through some CBD locations.
We decide to try to find the Cantina Mobil truck which was supposed to be at Queen’s Square (next to the Supreme Court building near St James station) at 9pm on a Thursday night, but just missed it by a few minutes according to the couple happily munching away on burritos who we bumped into during our quest. Thankfully, the truck’s next stop was only 5 minutes away at Pitt Street Mall so we powerwalked over and were greeted by the sight of this Mexican food truck…
It completely plays up the novelty factor with its big flashy arrow sign, making the van hard to miss and drawing attention from passersby doing their late night shopping. There’s not a huge menu on offer because space is obviously limited in the van, but they are dishing out the Mexican favourites like soft or hard shell tacos, burritos and chilli corn. You can choose from Chipotle beef, Achiote chicken or pinto beans for your fillings just to keep things interesting.
With a line quickly forming behind us, we had to make a snap decision on what to order so we settled on a beef burrito, beef hard shell taco, chilli corn and a raspberry rose iceblock for dessert. Sounds like a lot of snacks, but it was gone in a flash!
We managed to snap one shot of all the food before we launched into it – starting with the beef taco, because I knew it would be the messiest to eat. Sure enough, after my first bite of the taco half of the shell cracked and some of the juicy fillings fell out the other end. This taco’s fillings consisted of lettuce, chilli corn, tomato salsa, chilli con queso (a mild Mexican chilli cheese). As for the taste, I’m used to having sour cream and chilli sauce in my tacos, so I wasn’t completely won over by the flavours in the taco.
Chiptole beef hard shell taco, $5
The Chipotle beef burrito ($10) was much tastier and this would be my pick from the choices available in the van. Not only was it easier to eat because it was snugly wrapped in foil, but the flavours of the tortilla were helped by the sour cream and pinto beans. The rest of the filling was the same as the taco (except no chilli corn) but it just tasted that much better when mixed with the sour cream.
The last of the savouries was the little dish of chilli corn we got on the side. We probably didn’t need to add this because it was also included in the taco fillings. This is a traditional Mexican street food snack with sweetcorn kernels tossed with 3 types of chilli, cumin and seasoning and tasted as expected from the description. It’s more of a nibble kind of snack and doesn’t have too much depth of flavour but can get addictive with all the crunching on the kernels.
Chilli corn, $4 and Freshpops raspberry rose petal iceblock, $4
The raspberry rose petal flavoured Freshpops iceblock was actually advertised as an ice cream which was quite misleading. It also wasn’t really Mexican, but rather homemade by the Freshpops team (they have details of their Facebook page on the wrapper). It was quite fragrant with the rose flavour but I couldn’t really taste much sour raspberry flavour; it just seemed more like a generic berry flavour with chunks of mystery berry frozen into it. It’s been ages since I’ve had an ice block and judging by the weird stares I got as I chomped on it walking down the street at night, it’s probably best saved for the actual kiddies.
If you happen to be at one of the landmarks that the Cantina Mobil van stops at, be spontaneous and try out what they have on offer because it’s a fun street food experience. But if you’re a hardcore Mexican food fan, you can try hunting down the van like we did – check out the Facebook page for times and locations: https://www.facebook.com/CantinaMobil
Various locations across Sydney