The food truck trend is everywhere, from sporting events to private events to big cities to music/art/food festivals and everything in between. Once upon a time the idea of eating food out of a moving vehicle might have seemed like a terrible idea. And for the most part, food trucks seemed to exclusively serve questionably prepared hot dogs and stale pretzels. It felt wrong to willingly consume food that was whipped up in a truck. And besides, how good could the food be? Let us be the first to admit — we were wrong. That was then (and if we’re being honest, we were probably a little quick to judge) and this is now. Food trucks are taking the culinary world by storm, and it can be argued that they’re the most delicious, most fun, and most cost-effective way to enjoy authentic cuisines from around the world.
Make no mistake about it, food trucks are here to stay. They aren’t a passing fad or a bizarre food trend in cities where chefs can’t afford proper dining establishments. Food trucks are a thing, and not only are they not going away any time soon, but they are making serious bank in the food world.
According to The Economist, there are currently over 4,000 food trucks throughout the country (and that number seems to be growing), and from 2011 to 2016, food truck industry revenue grew at an annual rate of 7.9%. Off The Grid, a San Francisco-based company that helps support mobile food businesses by doing everything from designing the trucks to setting up vending groups to helping with marketing recently released its first Mobile Food Trends Report. The report breaks down the food truck trend and its projected growth for the future, and spoiler alert: this rapidly growing industry is taking over.
According to the report, the food truck industry alone is expected to grow by nearly 20 percent in 2019 alone, growing to a 985 million dollar business in the next year. Food trucks offer a ton of benefits to both business owners and patrons alike. For entrepreneurs it offers a chance to start a business with a smaller upfront investment but with more flexible opportunities and a larger reach to feed a bigger and more diverse audience. It also allows chefs to experiment with their menus, innovate more rapidly, stay ahead of the trends and focus on brand awareness and food quality, rather than increasing prices to make rent or investing in a permanent location that might not work.
And even Hollywood is catching on to the food truck trend. The hit movie Chef, staring Jon Favreau, was about a talented chef with a temper who leaves his job at a popular restaurant to run a food truck in Miami with his son, his ex-wife (the gorgeous Sofia Vergara) and his friend (the hilarious John Leguizamo). The film was well received by critics and fans alike, and it was nearly impossible to watch without craving an epic Cuban sandwich that can only be served from an authentic food truck.
Food trucks are a way for culinary professionals and business owners to innovate, to grow, to diversify their offerings and to satisfy a wide and growing audience of foodies with appetites for the best and most delicious food. If you’ve been hesitant to hit up your local food trucks in the past, now is the time to change your perception of these mobile kitchens and get in line, ready to dig in.
Not sure where to begin? Good news, we have the inside scoop on the best Latino food trucks around the country. If you’re lucky, there are some delicious, easily accessible and dare we say it, cheap, food trucks in your very own community. If not, they are certainly worth the trip to check out the best Latino food trucks across the US, and trust us, come hungry.
Philly, the city of brotherly love, is known for more than just its rich history, the birth of our nation and the Rocky steps. It’s also a food lover’s mecca with a buzzing restaurant scene and some of the best food in the country. And Philadelphia also happens to have some of the best food trucks around — Philly was even named the 4th city in the nation in terms of food truck friendliness according to a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Both downtown and on the local University campuses (especially University of Pennsylvania, which features several blocks of food truck heaven), food trucks are king. As for the best Latino mobile food joints, Tacos Don Memo is a must-try. This food truck serves some of the best al pastor and carnitas in the city (or in any city some might say).
Come for breakfast tacos in the morning; come back for the slow-braised meat served with rice and beans for lunch. Another tasty option is Dos Hermanos, a food truck started by two brothers with a passion for cooking and sharing their Mexican culture with the people of Philadelphia. The truck serves authentic Mexican food — think tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tortas and more — with only the best, freshest ingredients made with love.
Miami, Florida wasn’t always known for its food truck scene, but with outdoor food markets and food halls on the rise, and year-round gorgeous weather perfect for eating outside, it should come as no surprise that you can find some seriously delicious grub from food trucks located throughout the city. And it’s no secret that this city is heavily inspired by Latin cultures and cuisines, so you have tons of options if you’re hungry for everything from Cuban to Caribbean to Mexican cuisine. If you’re craving tacos/fritas/Cuban sandwiches and more, there’s a food truck for that.
We have to start with a Cuban establishment that has been a staple in the community for decades: El Rey de las Fritas. While there are four brick-and-mortar locations throughout Miami, the food truck brings El Rey de las Fritas’ famous handmade Cuban burger (seasoned beef and chorizo patty, topped with shoestring potatoes, spicy sauce on a toasted Cuban bread roll) to people around the city. It’s a must-try for anyone living in Miami or visiting and looking to try some local Cuban delicacies. BC Tacos is a mobile food truck serving unique and flavorful gourmet tacos. Located throughout South Florida, these trucks serve everything from basic tacos (chicken, steak, barbecue pork) to less basic (chicken Caesar, bacon cheeseburger and beef short rib).
And then there’s Box of Chacos, a food truck that is famous for serving tacos that are anything but traditional. They feature dishes that have a unique take on Mexican style tacos, by adding a touch of Chinese flair and influence to their recipes (hence the name Chacos, blending Chinese flavor with tacos).
One thing Houston seems to do really well where food is concerned is perfectly blend Southern charm with Texas style and Latin flavors. And the food truck offerings aren’t limited to just classic tacos, though they are some of the best classic tacos served throughout the city. Food truck offerings also feature fusion menus and more inventive Mexican cuisine. Tacos Tierra Caliente is one of Houston’s most famous taco trucks, and the original Tacos Tierra Caliente truck is almost 20 years old.
For two decades this truck has been serving up the best pastor taco in the city along with homemade flavors, sauces and only the freshest ingredients. While the truck serves the basics (quesadillas, tortas, tacos and burritos) they encourage customers to try new flavors and varieties (such as chicharron (pork skin) and lengua (beef tongue)). Coreanos is a Mexican/Korean fusion food truck, offering dishes that are the perfect blend of Mexican and Korean flavors, a combination you never knew you needed. The truck offers contemporary twists on Korean-inspired Mexican dishes — think Korean barbecue tacos, pork belly tacos, fusion burritos and more.
At Pho-jita Fusion Mexican flavors and traditional Latin dishes are blended with Thai recipes and ingredients. Think basil chicken quesadillas and tor-Thai, which is a soft Mexican bun with basil chicken, pico de gallo and Thai-mayo.
Food lovers and culinary experts agree that some of Chicago’s best meals can be found at a selection of food trucks offering global cuisines on the go. The 5411 Empanadas food truck travels throughout Chicago serving the best, freshest, most inventive baked empanadas.
Named for the international dialing code for Buenos Aires, Argentina, the food truck’s goal is to bring the flavors and dishes of Argentina to Chicago. La Cocinita is a food truck that serves contemporary Venezuelan-inspired Latin American street food. The menu is all about the build-your-own-taco options, allowing you to pick your own fillings, toppings, sauces and even format (tacos, arepas, flour tacos or a bowl) and encouraging you to try new flavors and less familiar Venezuelan fare along with your traditional tacos.
3 New York
We all know that New York City is one of the food capitals of the world, serving virtually every cuisine you can imagine in every type of dining establishment. So why are diners ditching permanent restaurant fixtures in favor of food trucks? Places like Smorgasburg, the largest open-air food markets in America, located in Brooklyn, Manhattan and beyond, are changing the way people eat in New York. And food trucks are on the rise too. Tacos El Bronco has been around for years, serving fragrant and cooked-to-perfection tacos in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, not far from its brick-and-mortar offshoot on 4th Avenue. They’re famous for their tender lengua (beef tongue), sweet pastor (roasted pork), and crisp, fatty cabeza (slow roasted meat from the head of a cow), all served with a heaping handful of cilantro and raw onions.
At Cesar’s Empanadas you’ll get delicious but cheap (only about $3 a pop) empanadas with every kind of filling to satisfy your cravings. And make sure you leave room for dessert — they are famous for their guava-and-cheese empanadas for dessert.
Last but not least, Lechonera La Piraña, located deep in the Bronx, is the kind of food cart that Puerto Rican dreams are made of. It is famous for it’s lechon — suckling pig, served on top of rice — that is slow roasted by La Piraña’s neighborhood proprietor, who proceeds to chop the cooked meat with a machete.
2 Los Angeles
L.A. has always been a destination known for its sunny beaches, celebrity sightings and of course for its Latin cuisine and Mexican food offerings. And some of the best ways to try all the best Mexican dishes LA has to offer is from food trucks located throughout the city. Some of the most successful and famous food trucks in the country took off in LA, such as Guerrilla Tacos by Wes Ávila a taco stand that became a food truck that eventually became so successful it had to be turned into a multi-location brick-and-mortar establishment.
But there are still amazing food trucks offering everything you could want from Latin cuisine. At Mariscos Jalisco, one of the longest-standing taco trucks in the city, you must try the famous tacos dorado de camaron, a shrimp taco folded into a corn tortilla and fried to golden brown, crispy heaven. It lives up to the hype, which is why the truck’s loyal following always comes back for more. El Chato Taco Truck features a more traditional taco menu, specializing in tacos, burritos and quesadillas, including authentic tacos al pastor, carne asada, chicken, chorizo, and more. The grub at this food truck is so good that L.A. Weekly rated it as the #1 taco truck in L.A. And do not miss Taco Zone, a favorite among the late-night crowd in Echo Park (but also adored by fans and foodies all day long). This truck is located in only one place: the parking lot of an Echo Park Von’s, and it’s famous for its al pastor, carne asada and suadero, which is like a brisket.
A huge part of Portland’s quirky identity revolves around not just food, but food trucks. The city features several pods of food trucks and carts offering a wide range of cuisines in clusters across the city. Each pod features a collection of different food trucks and carts, so you never leave hungry and you can always find what you are craving. And if you are craving Mexican cuisine or Latin fusion food, you’re in luck. At Little Conejo, you’ll find tacos made from the freshest ingredients, especially their famous handmade tortillas and masa, made in-house from organic, Mexican corn ground daily.
If you’re looking for something a bit less traditional and more global, then Koi Fusion PDX is your food truck jam. This truck features tacos that are combined with traditional Korean flavors and ingredients — think a kimchi quesadilla and a burrito filled with Korean seasoned rice. Tierra del Sol Cuisine is all about authentic Mexican-Oaxacan style food, serving homemade recipes that have been passed down for generations in Mexico (and now Portland).
There are hundreds of food trucks scattered throughout the city of Seattle, and eating fresh, gourmet, delicious food on the go is gaining popularity in this city that has always valued good quality cuisine. And now it’s easier than ever to indulge and follow the food trucks thanks to social media updates and the ever-moving magic that is kitchens on wheels. At El Camion you’re destined to over-eat because the food is so good, but it’s also super cheap and arguably the best Mexican food in Seattle.
From breakfast burritos and huevos rancheros in the morning to shrimp tacos and mulitas (corn tortillas stuffed with your choice of filling), you can’t go wrong. Snout & Co specializes in Latin delicacies and classic Cuban favorites such as citrus marinated mojo pork with rice and beans, Cuban sandwiches, BBQ pork and a picadillo bowl that will blow your mind.