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Posted by on Jul 18, 2011 | 23 comments

Why you should pay attention to the food truck craze?

This post is titled, “Why you should pay attention to the food truck craze?” I guess the answer is obvious.  Let me say it to you in this way.

Because the food served by truck owners is amazingly delicious, interestingly innovative and offered at prices that can be paid by the majority.

It is as simple as stated in the previous sentence.  You people, who have experienced them, know what I am talking about.

The food trucks craze has been growing and growing the last couple of years.  I have to admit that I have started to frequent these mobile eateries a few months ago.

The story goes like this.  My husband started to assist the chef/owner of The Twist Burger truck a while back.  They met years ago, way before his friend started in the truck business.  My husband has been working besides tons of trucks.  He has been attending some big events (where more than 40 trucks attend).  I have seen the photos. I have been inside the trucks.  I have attended some events.  I have tasted a lot of offerings.  Therefore, I am a converted fanatic.

My husband in front of The Twist Burger truck

How is my latest obsession related to travel?  Well, by following food trucks around here and there, I have noticed the big hordes of tourists and travelers frequenting these eateries.  Because those guys waiting in line with huge, professional cameras can’t be locals.  Locals take photos of them next to the truck (with their phones) and then post to Facebook immediately.  Plus, my husband comes home every day with stories about the German or French guy he met at lunch time.

Additionally, whenever I visit another city, I see food trucks lining the streets.  Last year, I went to Vancouver and the trucks offering unique combinations were many (by the way, Ayngelina from Bacon is Magic recently posted her experience eating at food trucks in Vancouver).

Consequently, this food truck trend can benefit the traveler.  I see it as a type of street food (but maybe on a higher gourmet level).

This is why I have decided to share some reasons why you should give food trucks a try.  I will address some sanitary considerations that are of interest to many.

  • A lot of food truck owners have a culinary educational or experiential background.  Some have attended school at gastronomy capitals (ex., Paris).  Some have owned restaurants in the past. Others come from families who have been in the food business forever.  Believe me, this people know what they are doing with food.
  • Trucks offer a wide range of dishes.  Seriously, there is a truck for each type of palate.  Comfort food (grilled cheese sandwich, mac n’ cheese)? Check.  Ethnic food (Vietnamese, Filipino, Hawaiian)? Check.  Dishes based on one ingredient (French fries, baked potatoes)? Check.  Sweet deliciousness (cream puffs, ice cream, cookies, cake)? Check.  As you can see, you can indulge into a wide variety.  This is good . Very good.
  • Original, innovative and the so called “fusion” dishes are served in many trucks.  You probably have heard how the Kogi truck got its fame by serving Korean tacos and burritos (short rib meat, spicy pork, etc. in a tortilla).  The truth is that some of the food offered in trucks is hard to find anywhere else.  In what restaurant are you going to find Korean tacos, exotic shrimp specialties, fried chicken with a French twist or interesting meatball combinations?  Sorry my friends but you will have to visit the trucks (there may be restaurants serving these dishes but they are inspired on truck offerings).

Lamb Frankie from the India Jones Chow Truck

  • As I said, the people preparing the food have culinary backgrounds.  Therefore, they know how to handle food in order to avoid common sanitary concerns.  Moreover, they train their employees to follow proper food handling rules.  Plus, they use gloves and hair nets when handling food.
  • Trucks are inspected by sanitary institutions and are given grades (at least in Los Angeles).  This means they are subject to the same restaurant sanitary standards.
  • Some event committees conduct their own sanitary inspections before allowing a truck to participate at an event.
  • Trucks are professionally cleaned (with the proper chemicals) every night.
  • The ingredients used in food preparation are fresh.  Ingredients are bought daily.
  • The prices per person vary but they are usually less than 10 dollars per person.
  • The food is served faster than in restaurants.
  • There is the opportunity of meeting nice people while waiting for your food.
  • The trucks are located at strategic, congested areas.
  • And last but not least, the food from some of these trucks is really, really good.

This is how I see the situation.  I am eager to try different trucks in the future.

Let me finish by saying this.  My sister went to culinary school and worked in restaurants for 10 years.  Because of her stories, I know restaurants are not necessarily the cleanest, freshest, healthy or diverse places to eat.  Because of this fact, there are a good number of different options to experience food.  I think food trucks are going to continue gaining a share of the market.  Of course, these are great news for the traveler!!

Food truck festival

If you want to read more about the food truck trend, take at look at this article published at the Westways Magazine – Meals on Wheels
What about you?  Have you eaten at food trucks?  What was your experience? Let me know in the comments section below.

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23 Comments

    • Jeremy,
      My post does not refer to food trucks in general.

      I am talking about the ones that have appeared as part of the trend of young chefs trying to create different dishes and use social media to promote their businesses. I have an insight on those type of trucks. Therefore, I am trying to let the reader know why those trucks are great.

      My article does not necessarily represent the reality of “regular” food trucks because I don’t really move on that circle. Therefore, I cannot write about their practices.

      Therefore, you are right in pointing that the quality of the food and taste depends on where you go.

  1. Food trucks remind me of the hot dog trucks that have been around for decades before it was cool to have a food truck. Glad these guys are finding a way to make a living and people are enjoying their food.

    • Eileen,
      You made me think about the hot dog carts that used to be parked around myhigh school. At that time, I was able to get a loaded hot dog for a dollar. They were great!!! No doubt, street food rocks!!
      Ruth recently posted..Vancouver’s Viceroy: Day 2 (Scene 4)My Profile

  2. It’s been about 3 years since I’ve been back to the US, and when I was there last, I didn’t know about too many street food trucks. I went to university in Phoenix, AZ, and I did frequent a few Mexican street restaurants that were extremely delicious. As a huge foodie, I would drive clear across town just to eat there. Great review Ruth, that Twist Burger sounds like is serves tasty food and offers a unique environment to meet others in the process.
    Mark Wiens recently posted..Exclusive Tips, Travel Advice, and the Best of Migrationology: Announcing the Monthly NewsletterMy Profile

  3. Loved this post. The old pie cart used to be so much a part of our city life. All gone now. Food trucks all but disappeared, but we now have a TV show of a food truck going around New Zealand serving up quality healthy food choices. Here’s hoping the food truck scene will be revived here in NZ!
    Jim recently posted..Dave and Deb’s Amazing Adventure! : The Mongol Rally.My Profile

    • Wow, a pie cart? That is great. When I was growing up in Puerto Rico we had the donut guy selling from his car. His donuts were unique.

      I am with you. Hope the food truck scene in NZ gets fired up.
      Ruth recently posted..Vancouver’s Viceroy: Day 2 (Scene 4)My Profile

    • Stephanie,
      Wait till I publish another post about my favorite dishes offered by food trucks. You are going to say “I’m sold” like a 100 times.
      Ruth recently posted..Vancouver’s Viceroy: Day 2 (Scene 4)My Profile

  4. Ruth when I was living in LA I was a food truck junkie. I gotta say Kogi took food trucks to the next level by using Social Media. I also love the more traditional taco trucks which look nondescript but bust out the best street food on earth!
    Grace recently posted..Up in a Hot Air BalloonMy Profile

  5. I grew up seeing the food trucks that would come around to feed construction workers….they always struck me as a little dingy which certainly did not bother the workers. Fast forward to the present and I think that not only has sanitation improved, but the offerings have come a long way from those egg sandwiches the guys used to wolf down. I’m a definite fan of food trucks now.
    Renee recently posted..Looking back in time – My 7 linksMy Profile

  6. The “roach coach” of yesterday has bid adieu to these wonderful food trucks! I think they are awesome and continue looking forward to trying more of them. Thanks for giving them the credibility they deserve.
    Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista recently posted..30 Days and counting!My Profile

  7. I used to be afraid of “roach coaches”…. but now I love ’em! In LA they have a great variety of choices and often they park together so you can shop for different foods, depending on your mood.
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday: Golden Gate BridgeMy Profile

  8. Hello Ruth.

    I totally agree with you. I never think that the food being served on food trucks compromise quality or whatsoever. Besides, the thought that the “food goes to you” is such a brilliant thought. We barely recognize their importance because they are just around the corner. But if they are gone… I don ‘t think you wont find any other place where you can satisfy hunger with great food.
    Nanamie recently posted..Piano FX Studio 4.0My Profile

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  1. Food Trucks in Los Angeles | Arete Digital Imaging Blog - [...] {"data_track_clickback":true};A couple of months ago, Ruth from Tanama Tales, wrote an interesting post on the food truck craze. She…

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