This new food truck is bringing Somalian food to Toronto streets—when it can find somewhere to park

Asad Cabdullahi MataanBy Asad Cabdullahi Mataan

Kal and Mooy (the name means “mortar and pestle”) is the city’s first East African food truck. It launched earlier this month and has since been on a mission to introduce Torontonians to Somali cuisine—which, according to co-owner Ahmed Duale, is “a fusion of African, Middle Eastern and European cuisine,” combined with something he calls “the Somali taste.” Until recently, Ahmed was working as a different kind of trucker, driving tractor-trailers across the border to the U.S. and back. Now he’s spending his days cooking traditional Somali food—samosas, rice platters and a shawarma-style wrap made with sabaayad, a Somali flatbread—with his wife, Aisha Mahamed, and tooling around Toronto in their mobile restaurant.

So far, the street-side reception has been warm, although there have been some challenges, mainly on the parking front. Ahmed is one of the few Toronto food-truckers who waited in line to spend $5,000 on one of the city’s new mobile-vending permits. “I was new to the business, so it seemed worthwhile,” he said. The permit allows him to park on city streets, but only if he’s at least 50 metres away from any operating restaurant. “I’m discovering, even though I have the permit, there’s no place to park.”

Ahmed has been spending most of his time around High Park and Church and Gerrard. “There are hot spots on Front Street, or on Queen Street from University to Dovercourt, but they’re all out of bounds. I’m hoping city council will reconsider.” As for his decision to buy the permit, he’s not sure he’d make it again. “If things stay the way they are, I might not renew it.”