Restaurant: Mangal Kiss Mid East BBQ (Food Cart)
Cuisine: Middle Eastern/Food Cart
Last visited: November 5, 2012
Location: Vancouver, BC (Downtown)
Address: Art Gallery on Georgia Street
Transit: Burrard Skytrain or Vancouver City Ctr Stn Southbound
Price Range: $10 or less
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!
Food: n/a (didn’t try enough)
- Middle Eastern street food
- Fresh and relatively healthy
- Busy/line ups at lunch
- A bit slow w/service
- Made from scratch
- Made upon order
- Budget friendly/cheap eats
- Vegetarian friendly
- Simple/limited menu
- Closed for Winter season
**Recommendations: Shishliks, Limonana
I feel like this food cart flies under the radar. It’s surrounded by other great food trucks like TacoFino Cantina, Re-Up BBQ, Mom’s Grilled Cheese, Pig on the Street and the late La Brasserie Street food cart (which recently closed for good), so any food cart operating in this area has to shout to be heard. Mangal Kiss does no shouting though and I had many recommendations to try it, but for some reason I always get distracted by another eatery.
It hasn’t reached the “fame” of some other food carts in Vancouver, but they do a good job and their success rate per customer seems to be higher than most. Everyone I’ve talked to has raved about Mangal Kiss and the love for it seems to be greater than some of Vancouver’s favourite food trucks. It almost feels like the underdog of food carts and people are still slowly discovering it.
I wasn’t even planning to try Mangal Kiss Mid East BBQ on this day. I was actually craving fish tacos, but Go Fish was closed on a Monday and TacoFino Cantina was closed for the Winter. Actually a lot of the food carts are closing shop for the colder weather which is quite unfortunate, but lucky for me I got to try this one before it closed for the season as well.
There is nothing flashy or appealing about this food cart from the outside. I’ve had tourists tell me “Vancouver food carts are fancy”, but I guess I never really took notice. This one was simple and so was the menu. It offers limited items, but it has a focus and frankly I think that’s the way to go with food carts. Given the limited kitchen space in a food cart there’s only so much you can prepare home made and fresh on the spot.
Mangal Kiss Mid East BBQ focuses on Middle Eastern street food that’s relatively quite healthy and noticeably fresh. Vancouver doesn’t have many options for Middle Eastern cuisine to start off with, so I found this exciting. While we have several donair and kebab shops, there are few that are bringing the quality and bright flavours of Mangal Kiss. Their sauces and fillings were well prepared and I found it affordable and filling. Although I only tried one thing (only menu item they had left at the time) I enjoyed it enough that I would go back to explore the rest of the menu.
On the table:
- Israeli mint lemonade. Fresh picked mint, freshly squeezed lemons, and sugar cane served on ice.
- It was simple, very light and refreshing and actually quite mild.
- It was tart, but not sour and I could down two in one seating.
- It was less sweet than most lemonades and I liked that they used healthier sugar cane sugar.
- I wish they muddled the mint leaves for more mint flavour, but there were a lot of leaves in there.
- Sometimes this drink is made into a slushy during the summer in Israel.
- Shishliks are served on Taftoon. A traditional Iranian flat bread. Loaded with salatim and sauces $7
- Salatim: Hummus, tahini, purple cabbage, beets, pickled turnips, cucumbers, Moroccan spiced carrots, radish, tabbouleh
- Baharat – Spiced BBQ sauce – Turkish spiced mixture, savoury and mild
- Amba – A sweet and savoury mango sauce
- Zhug – Middle Eastern Hot Sauce
- This was the only thing they had left, but it is one of their popular items.
- There was no “mystery meat”, iceberg lettuce, bland veggies or sauce from a bag.
- Everything was noticeably fresh and the meat was grilled upon order.
- The only premade things were the Taftoon flat bread and the home made sauces.
- The flavours popped as much as the vibrant colours.
- The beef was quite fatty and moist being a rib-eye and not that marbled so at times chewy, but it had good flavour. Rib eyes have the “beefiest” flavour.
- It was well seasoned with Moroccan spices and I could taste cumin, coriander and perhaps some cinnamon and warm spices.
- There wasn’t much beef and I wouldn’t say it was the star of the show, but it’s the wrap as a whole that’s very good.
- In fact, I had several bites with no beef and it was still good due to everything else that made up for it.
- There was a nice crunch from fresh vegetables and there was some heat and spice from perhaps the seasoning on the beef, Moroccan spiced carrots or Zhug sauce (?).
- I loved the tangy acidity from the pickled turnips and the fresh parsley in the tabbouleh was quite apparent.
- The pita was grilled and it was thin, crisp and warm and not tiresome to chew.
- It was aromatic and packed with ingredients and there wasn’t anything dry about it.
- It wasn’t soaked with sauces either, but the sauces really topped things off.
- The sauces were almost like vinaigrettes and they were light and zippy.
- I wouldn’t have minded even some yogurt in this wrap, but that’s personal tastes.
- It was balanced with savoury, sweet, spicy and tangy and it had everything I look for in a bite.
- At a food cart I generally like to spend less than $8, so this was worth it and a fair price.
- It was good quality, easy to eat and filling enough for lunch… for most people.