The food truck revolution is in full swing, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Tacos, Korean barbecue, grilled cheese, donuts, soup—whatever your taste buds are jonesing for, there’s a food truck for you, and we’re grateful for every damn crumb. Of the thousands (and we do mean thousands) of incredible grub trucks this country has to offer, we’ve settled on nine favorites.
1. Pastrami Zombie, Portland, Oregon: When it comes to pastrami, it’s almost criminal to consider anyone outside of New York City. But we love breaking rules, so we don’t feel bad about giving this PNW purveyor a spot on our list. With homemade cured meats, locally sourced ingredients and some of the most massive and delicious sandwiches west of the Mississippi, Pastrami Zombie is the real deal for every sammich aficionado.
2. Jogasaki, Los Angeles: This L.A.-based food truck is considered the home of the sushi craze sweeping the nation: Sushi burritos. Yes, they’re as mind-blowingly good as you think. Check out the Spicy Tuna Tempura burrito (deep fried spicy tuna roll dressed with eel sauce), the Lobster Burrito (crab meat, avocado, cucumber and baked langostino with soy paper) or the classic Jogasaki 4B (spicy salmon, avocado, cucumber, shrimp tempura and BBQ eel wrapped). Itadakimasu!
3. Halal Guys, New York: The food truck kings of NYC, the Halal Guys offer massive platters of shredded chicken or beef gyro meat (or both), served with rice, veggies and pita bread plus a delicious white sauce and a notoriously fiery red sauce. They have spots everywhere from Berkeley, California to Newark, New Jersey, but their original location at 53rd Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan. There’s a line, but it’s worth the wait.
4. Hey!… You Gonna Eat or What?, Austin, Texas: Austin is a foodie’s dream, but when it comes to the food truck scene, no one speaks louder than this crew. Their famous house sandwich is the Shiner Bock Beer-Battered Monte Cristo, which features pit-smoked ham and mesquite-smoked turkey with cheddar, provolone and a homemade cherry and fig jelly. But really, any of their made-to-order sandwiches is unbelievable.
5. Bob Cha Food Truck, Chicago: A seemingly unlikely pair, Korean and Mexican food fuse together perfectly at Bob Cha Food Truck, just a couple blocks west of Grand Park in Chicago’s Loop community. Serving up spicy pork tacos, Korean rice bowls, kalbi beef burritos and everything in between, Bob Cha is a Chi-Town staple and a must-visit for any dedicated food trucker.
6. Sam’s ChowderMobile, San Francisco: We’re kinda cheating, since this rig is “brought to you by Sam’s Chowder House” (a brick and mortar location), but it’s the quintessential bay area food truck. Offering the best bread bowl clam chowder setups we’ve ever had, lobster rolls galore and the finest fried fish in all of San Francisco, this renowned walk-up is an essential part of San Francisco’s culinary fabric.
7. Fete Au Fete, New Orleans: There’s just something about a good po’ boy sandwich that gets us all hot and bothered, which makes it easy to add Fete Au Fete to this list. If you’re looking for an authentic N’awleans meal (like crawfish poutine, chicken confit, blackened shrimp po’ boy, etc.) prepared by an award-winning chef, look no further.
8. Bon Me, Boston: It doesn’t make much sense that a world-class banh mi spot is in Boston, but who cares about convention, anyway? What started as an on-a-whim contest entry in 2010 has turned into a business with several trucks (and, apparently, a brick and mortar location in the works) serving up traditional gourmet Vietnamese cuisine like banh mi sandwiches, rice bowls and noodle salad.
9. Smoke Et. Al. , Nashville, Tennessee: Smoke Et. Al. is so much more than just a barbecue spot. Think smoked brisket tacos, sour cream sage baked biscuits, fried pickled okra with Alabama white sauce and crispy fried potato wedges with a Yakatori glaze. It’s barbecue, but with a modern twist unlike anything you’ve ever seen. And, damn, it’s good!