Man has had a fascination with fire since the beginning of time, and there ain't any better evidence than all the variations of barbecue that fire has begat. It shouldn't be much surprise that of all the barbecue traditions around the world, the older civilizations have got that game figured out right.

And it was only a matter of time before Vancouver's food cart scene saw a proper representative. Mangal Kiss Mid East BBQ, which recently set up shop on Georgia at Burrard, offers shishlik wraps ($7), each a harmonious, pan-national take on a geographic area not otherwise known for getting along.

Its features: a choice of skewered protein (chicken or beef) nestled inside lightly grilled Iranian taftoon flatbread, packed out with familiar accoutrements from the region (hummus, tahini, tabbouleh) and a few rarer ones (beets, pickled turnips, slices of Moroccan spiced carrots), with a variety of sauces ranging in heat level. The meat - grilled, not just finished, on order - may get a bit lost in that sea of veg, but it's a fresh and tasty predicament to eat your way out of.

But get the chicken, which on average tends to be a bit juicier and more delectable than its bovine alternative. Stand back on the church steps behind with a limonana ($2), a taste-neutral Israeli lemonade with mint and sugarcane, and watch the flame on which those skewers grill: it's one of few things mankind has gotten right.


Mangal Kiss Mid East BBQ
On West Georgia at Burrard (beside the Christ Church Cathedral)