When gourmet food trucks first rolled onto the scene I was definitely skeptical. How can gourmet food go on the road like that? But somehow they do it and now food trucks are popping up all over the country. I’ve tried a few in NYC and I’ve never been disappointed. Some of my favorites are the Rogue Tomate Cart, Rickshaw Dumpling Truck, and Frites and Meats. Yum!
I’m no expert but John T. Edge is — he’s a a James Beard Award winner and writes the monthly United Tastes column for The New York Times. He wrote The Truck Food Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Ramblings from America’s Best Restaurants on Wheels and shared his list of favorite dishes on wheels.
Five Truck Foods I Crave
by John T. Edge
Swamp Shack — Portland, OR
Trey Corkern traffics in authenticity. He decorates his diminutive hutch with Spanish moss. And he buys crawfish from Louisiana. His crawfish pies, goosed with Creole cream cheese, are better than 90 percent of those I’ve eaten in Louisiana. Seriously.
Big Gay Ice Cream Truck — New York City
Soft Serve Vanilla Cone with Crushed Wasabi Peas
The Big Gay Ice Cream truck boys take pride in brilliant juxtaposition. Cool, white, soft serve, flavored with vanilla, nestled in a foam cone. Vibrant green peas, spiked with wasabi, cracked into vegetable shrapnel. Dissonance never tasted so good.
Sammy’s El Sinaloesne — Tucson, AZ
The Perez family knows how to candy cane-wrap a hotdog with bacon, so that the strip and tube fuse as the whole fries on the flattop. They also stock a generous salsa bar of sliced radishes, pickled red onions, pico de gallo, and guacamole sauce, ready to be piled high on your bun-cradled weenie.
Liba Falafel — San Francisco, CA
Falafel sandwich with Olive, Orange, and Thyme Relish
Gail Lillian fries greaseless orbs of crushed chickpeas. And she knows that elemental foods benefit from flourishes. Her best flourish is that relish, which tastes like it was airmailed from a Mediterranean clime.
Chef Shack — Minneapolis, MN
Lisa Carlson and Carrie Summer built their business on doughnuts. They serve lots more now, including crazy-good burgers with nettle butter. But their cardamom-cinnamon doughnuts astound. Imagine a cinnamon bun that took a detour through the Indian subcontinent on the way to the deep fryer, and you’re pretty close.
John T. Edge is a James Beard Award winner, writes the monthly United Tastes column for The New York Times, and is the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi. He is also the author of The Truck Food Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Ramblings from America’s Best Restaurants on Wheels and Southern Belly: The Ultimate Food Lover’s Companion to the South. Mr. Edge lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where for a time he was the co-owner and operator of Dunce Dogs, a hot dog stand.