September 17


New York City: Discover the food truck scene

By Laura Bacher

September 17, 2021

It’s finally that time again! The Corona pandemic has had us in its grip long enough now, and we can slowly make our way back out into the world! Although, admittedly, it wasn’t all bad. Now that restaurants are slowly opening again, people leave their nests and want to spoil their palates with delicacies. Therefore, we now take a trip to New York City and discover the food truck scene with treats from all over the world.

The emergence of food truck culture

The so-called food trucks established themselves in the USA in 2008 during the financial crisis and were as much a part of the restaurant concept as family dinners and fast food. Many young aspiring restaurateurs decided to open food trucks because the cost was much lower compared to restaurants. Food trucks now offer fast food options ranging from grilled cheese to waffles or tacos and serve fancy gourmet menus that impress with their regionality and sustainability.

A look back to the 17th century

Some may still assume that food trucks merely offer fast food for poorer people. While the notion is now misleading, the sale of food dates back to the late 17th century. Due to tiny living spaces and little financial means to cook their meals, vendors and salespeople sold food from small carts and street kitchens. This practice then continued around the world, especially in cities and small towns. Even today, there are many small street kitchens in metropolitan areas such as Beijing and Shanghai.

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The biggest food trucks in New York City

The anticipation is huge, and you’re finally boarding the plane to your long-awaited vacation to New York City! Just for your trip, I got smart and researched over 270 of New York’s most giant food trucks at Roaming Hunger!

Food trucks are everywhere: in Brooklyn, known for its art scene and spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline, in Manhattan itself, the so-called financial district, or in Queens – one of the most beautiful boroughs with Long Island City. And the best way to find the current locations of food trucks is through social media, such as Twitter, which is popular in the United States. Some owners:s also expand their media presence on Instagram and TikTok to maintain and expand their customer base.

Let’s discover the food truck scene!

List of some food trucks in New York

  • Big D’s Grub is incredibly hip if you’re coming out of your hostel or hotel in the morning and want to fuel up for your upcoming city tour with a delicious Breakfast Burrito. Since Big D’s doesn’t specialize in one culinary country, you can also get Korean-, Italian- or Hawaiian-style sandwiches.
  • Italian food is universally loved – especially pizza. Ponti Rossi offers decadent sandwiches in addition to authentic Neapolitan pizza. If you stop by, be sure to choose the Nonna Maria! Spicy smoked salmon sprinkled with Parmesan, and for a touch of spicy flavor, there’s romaine lettuce on top with tomatoes and a sour-spicy Rossi sauce. It’s all squeezed between two crusty loaves of Italian bread.
  • If you’re in New York for a quick trip to Thailand, you can’t miss Thai Mis Delicias. Traditional fresh and healthy dishes like the Beef Pad Thai (thick, hearty noodles in a sweet, savory peanut sauce with tender strips of beef) are so popular you’ll want to come back again and again.
  • Of course, the sweet-toothed among you won’t be left out either! If you’re into Belgian waffles with toppings like spiced biscuits, whipped cream, or dulce de leche, Wafels & Dinges is a must-visit.

Food trucks as cultural diversity

As you can see now, the amount of culinary and cultural diversity in food trucks is extraordinary. It’s great to see how street food from around the world can bring people from different cultures together.

In 2008, Roy Choi managed to open his food truck, Kogi, with gourmet-standard Korean barbecue, establishing himself as a pioneer in the food truck industry. You can argue that his concept ushered in the beginning of a culinary movement. The [1] IBIS World estimates that by 2021 there will be more than 24,000 food trucks in the United States. There was increased growth of 7.5%, especially in the years between 2015 and 2020.

As the popularity of food trucks continues to grow and menus expand in the most creative ways, food trucks not only exist in metropolitan areas but also in smaller towns and suburbs. In addition, trucks at fairs, festivals, concerts, or sporting events are also trendy, as they are a healthier alternative to the previous snack stands.

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Food truck trend toward regionality and sustainability

Trends come and go, some seem to catch on, and some don’t. But young people, in particular, are changing their lifestyles due to the now noticeable effects of climate change. So, too, is the increased demand for environmentally friendly foods. Not only in the U.S. but also in Europe, a shift in mindset is evident with food truck owners offering more organic and local products. Meat-free protein options, such as those produced by the Beyond Meat brand, are also becoming more popular.

And remember, once you land in New York City, ditch the fancy restaurants and hit the streets for the best and tastiest treats. You won’t regret it! Have we convinced you to discover the food truck scene? We hope so!

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Sources used:

[1] IBIS World (23.09.2020). Food Trucks Industry in the US – Market Research Report. https://www.ibisworld.com/united-states/market-research-reports/food-trucks-industry/
Mealey, Lorri (09.04.2021). A History of the Food Truck. https://www.thebalancesmb.com/a-history-of-food-trucks-2888314
Linchpin (18.03.2021). Trends shaping the Food Truck Industry Outlook in 2021. https://linchpinseo.com/trends-food-truck-industry/#5-increased-technology-and-social-media

Laura Bacher

About the author

Laura has been a big fan of foreign languages since her childhood. She grew up bilingual - English and German - and through international vacations, she got a taste of many other languages.

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