In the past five years, up-start chefs and established restauranteurs alike have taken their edibles on the road, with mobile food trucks rolling into just about every city in the United States.
To weed out the exceptional from the merely trendy, we scoured local food trucks to find the most magnificent mobile-eateries in America, from gourmet ice cream in New York City to fresh French cuisine (including sauteed skate cheek) in San Francisco.
What are your favorite food trucks? Tell us below!
PHILADELPHIA: The food truck scene is finding footing among Philly’s many college students. One standout is the Sugar Philly Truck, which was conceived of in 2010 by recent grads to satisfy students' late-night sweet tooths. A seasonal menu of high-end desserts—including elegant French macarons—gives it a luxe appeal. 38th and Walnut St., Philadelphia; sugarphillytruck.com
Sweet Philly/Sweet Philly
SAN FRANCISCO: Chef William Pilz peddles modern Filipino cuisine made from super-fresh ingredients out of his truck, Hapa SF. If you're new to this variety of sumptuous Asian fare, don't miss the "lumpia," or pork egg rolls, which are like juicier, more delicious versions of traditional spring rolls. 2937 Alabama St., San Francisco; hapasf.com.
Hapa SF/Hapa SF
LANSING: It may surprise you to learn that one of the US's best veggie-friendly food trucks isn't in Portland or the Bay Area but, of all places, in Lansing, Michigan. Known for “farm to truck” fare, the Purple Carrot collaborates with 11 local farms to create a sophisticated seasonal menu that highlights the best produce of fall, winter, spring or summer. 4360 S. Hagadorn Rd., Okemos, Michigan; thepurplecarrottruck.com.
Purple Carrot/Purple Carrot
LOS ANGELES: Taco worshippers will be at home in Los Angeles thanks to the city's hopping Mexican food truck scene, the mecca of which is undoubtedly Border Grill, an eatery on wheels (named for its Santa Monica brick-and-mortar predecessor) that offers tantalizing slow-roasted pork, carne asada, freshly made salsa, and, best of all, whole fried avocados. For information on where the truck will be parked visit bordergrill.com.
Border Grill/Border Grill
MIAMI: Set in a sleek Airsteam trailer, Gastropod ain't your mama's food truck. The first of its kind to hit Miami, Gastropod lures swarms of customers with a gourmet take on traditional American barbecue favorites like short ribs, brisket and poached egg-topped sirloin steaks. For information on where the truck is parked visit gastropodmiami.com.
LOS ANGELES: The wait may be long, but the reward at Kogi BBQ is well worth it. The spot offers a smattering of Korean fusion favorites like short-rib tacos, spicy pork burritos and Spam-kimchi sliders along with their signaure Kogi dog—a spicy-sweet treat topped with onion lime relish that makes a perfect post-bar snack. For information on where the truck will be parked visit kogibbq.com.
Kogi BBQ/Kogi BBQ
SEATTLE: Offering a unique blend of Hawaiian street food and spicy Korean flavors, Marination brings pan-Pacific treats to the Pacific Northwest. If the sound of kimchi quesadillas doesn't get your mouth-watering, we're betting the kalua pork sliders—which come finished in a creamy, spicy "nunya" sauce—definitely will. 132 N. Canal St., Seattle; marinationmobile.com.
SAN FRANCISCO: Chef Laurent Katgely abandoned the New York restaurant scene to open French food truck, Spencer on the Go, on the streets of San Francisco. With unusual gourmade fare like sautéed skate cheeks and sweetbreads with smoked bacon and truffle sauce, Katgely is raising the bar for food trucks everywhere. Best of all, a sumptuous, three-course meal will only run you $25. 300 7th St., San Francisco; spenceronthego.com.
Spencer on the Go/Spencer on the Go
PHOENIX: With an emphasis on home-made crème brûleés, the aptly-named Torched Goodness, which opened in 2010, became an instant sensation in the Phoenix-Scottsdale region of Arizona. With its newfound success, the menu has expanded to include burnt custards in exotic flavors like maple bacon and lavender. 6912 E. Friess Dr., Scottsdale, Arizona; torchedgoodness.com.
Torched Goodness/Torched Goodness
NEW YORK: Ice cream snobs worship at the alter of Ben Van Leeuwen's truck Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, whose rich, locally-made treats—peddled from instantly recognizable meringue yellow trucks—are some of the best New York has to offer. With "vanilla" made from real Tahitian beans and aged in vodka-filled oak barrels, this ice cream is the epitome of summery, ice-cold perfection. Prince St. and Green St., New York City; vanleeuwenicecream.com.
Van Leuwen/Van Leuwen