The Sheaf comprehensive: A thoughtful review of campus food trucks

By in Opinions
There is nothing sexier than eating lunch four times in one day.

I spent an afternoon in the hot sun eating everything I could stomach from each food truck parked on campus during Welcome Week for the purpose of informing the public.

Before you stick up your nose and criticize a lack of inspiration, let me tell you one thing: I would have eaten at all these food trucks with or without the intention to also write a detailed and specific review of each one. I suppose I just thought, why not use my voice to speak on the things I’m passionate about? We can’t all solve an economic crisis.

With my pride out of the way, let’s get started.

The University of Saskatchewan welcomed, or rather, gave permits to four unique, established Saskatoon food trucks, which I rated out of 10, during the campus Welcome Week celebrations.

Something exciting this year — perhaps in response to previous years’ criticisms — was that the food trucks were not strictly limited to the beer gardens! Rotating through three spots within the beer gardens and one outside the gates, all trucks were available at least once to the underaged. The afternoon I made my rounds, it was SoomSoom on duty to the full populous.

SoomSoom — 9.85/10 I was stoked to see this familiar blue behemoth as a part of the food-truck roster this year. SoomSoom offers a super diverse menu, with options for kiddos and big’uns alike. Menu prices ranged from $6 to $14 per dish. I ordered a falafel Soomwhich, and I loved every bite. While it’s difficult to gauge my wait time comparatively with times of heavy foot traffic — I stopped by in the late afternoon, and there was no line — it took only a record three minutes to receive my order. It was colourful, rich and the perfect amount of carbs for this gal on a hot summer day.

Rebel Melt — 4/10 While, on paper, I am very much into what Rebel Melt is putting out in terms of quirky street food, my physical body does not explicitly allow me to indulge in their specialty dishes. Dairy is not a friend of mine, and as I had further obligations in my day, I opted to order the single menu item adhering to my dietary restrictions. The Zuke Stix, as they are charmingly named, were pretty good — comparable to onion rings but a whole lot slimier. Paired with a not-too-spicy chipotle dip, it was a pretty okay snack. Surprisingly, I waited longest for this relatively simple order, which clocked in at seven minutes.

Nom Nom — 4.65/10 For this stop, I shared a Mexi Rexi Burrito with a friend. I am not used to eating four meals in one afternoon, and I was grateful for the extra stomach. Neither the friend nor I were entirely impressed by our order. It was pretty good — though quite small considering it’s price — but there was nothing very remarkable about it. While $10 can get you a burrito about the size of a newborn baby in some establishments, ours was more like two bananas side by side. We only waited four minutes to start snacking, and critiques aside, still ate the thing faster than you can say “using ‘Mexi’ in a menu item is a little problematic.”

Smoke’s Poutinerie — 3.97/10 I think I might have confirmed here that there is, in fact, a particular level of inebriated that makes Smoke’s poutine taste just as good as an angel’s toes. At the time of this tasting, however, I was not this level of inebriated. Don’t get me wrong, those red plaid boxes still get me going, and it might be fair to argue that I didn’t enjoy the dish as much, because in my sober state, I donated most of my cheese curds to the people at my table. I will say I was disappointed by the truck’s limited menu. Though I was hankering for something with mushrooms, I opted for the next best thing: pulled pork poutine. It was in my hands in exactly five minutes, and it was a little salty. I enjoyed it, but it was reminiscent of the same-old, same-old.

All in all, it was an enjoyable though expensive — and three-day-bloat inducing — endeavour. Maybe next year, we’ll see some shakeups in our vendors’ offers. In the future, I’ll be looking out for occasion-specific or limited-run menu items. Everything’s cooler when you can’t always have it.

Emily Migchels / Opinions Editor

Photo: J.C. Balicanta Narag / Photo Editor