The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was transferring onto trucks — those oversized vehicles meant for transporting cargo like furniture and sex slaves — the qualities of gourmet eateries. There’s a new generation of trucks roaming the streets and hugging the curbs of America, dishing out culinary configurations normally reserved for gourmet eateries. Take for example New York’s very own NYC Cravings, a shifty little bugger that buzzes around the city selling their special brand of Taiwanese fried chicken to the hungry masses, or the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, which serves up more innovate takes on the classic treat (wasabi-dusted softies!) ) than most storefront parlors. Those two, along with nine others, will be duking it out this weekend at the Vendy Awards in Queens, where New York’s next-gen street merchants do battle for culinary superiority. But no matter how celebrated and plentiful New York’s food trucks may be, there’s an unassuming metropolis on the other end of the U.S. who is the lucky beneficiary of three food trucks that are pushing the mobile munchies limits, and could probably roll right through the five boroughs and cook the competition. Welcome to Seattle.
Seattle isn’t known for having cutting-edge eats, especially not in trucks that themselves are pretty unconventional. But here are three food trucks which we highly recommend to road trip it over to NYC, and spend the weekend parked in front of our apartment. We’ll split the gas.
Maximus/Minimus: This giant pig-shaped vessel — a kind of DIY bovine Transformer — harkens back to Dumb and Dumber‘s infamous dog van, but instead of carrying two semi-retarded sweetie pies, it carts around simple-yet-elegant pulled pork sandwiches. The name represents the crucial choice you must make: do you want your sandwich maximus (a spicy six-pepper blend) or minimus (more sweet, a melange of tamarind, honey and molasses)? The side of slaw is tossed in a spicy vinaigrette, and the veggie alternative is a hodge-podge of roasted onions, fennel bulb and mint. But then again, if you’re a vegetarian, you probably shouldn’t be ordering lunch from a giant pig truck.
Skillet: There is absolutely nothing like it in New York. Served out of a reconfigured 1962 Airstream trailer are old favorites with inventive flourishes; take the Thai chile burger (a grass-fed Kobe patty topped with lemon grass and ginger bacon jam, pickled cucumber, feta, mustard greens) or the fennel sage burger (with fennel sage bacon jam, arugula, melted provolone, tomato marmalade), and NY’s craze-to-be, poutine. And yes, their bacon jam is a trademark item, so much so that they’ll ship it to you, anywhere.
Marination: Anything that calls itself “Seattle’s sauciest food truck” is an automatic winner. The marriage between Korean and Mexican food has long been a staple of L.A.’s famous Kogi truck, but this slick truck takes Korean classic and infuses them instead with a Hawaiian twist. Their SPAM slider (the unofficial national food of Hawaii is topped with their signature coleslaw and slider sauce, while their Kalbi (tender short-ribs marinated in all sorts of saucy goodness) is a must-try. Kimchi quesadillas are folded over jalapenos and kalua pork, and the tacos can be stuffed with innovative meat options like the ginger tofu chicken.