Gastronome Chronicles: 5 Must-Try NYC Food Trucks

As I’m sure many other Macaulay students have been told in the past, the city is our campus. While this idea offers us unparalleled access to the innumerable happenings in New York City, traveling around the city can be quite hectic. Case in point: this past summer. Between morning classes at Queens, an internship in Midtown, visiting friends at Hunter’s Brookdale dorms, and coaching for Let’s Get Ready at MHC Central, there were days when my stomach churned, its growls echoing on the subway platform. The homemade breakfast sandwich I had scarfed down hours ago just didn’t cut it. As a self-proclaimed foodie, such hunger pangs are practically blasphemous. Though I would have loved to sit in a nice restaurant with a book in hand (there are a handful of tasty options near W67), I simply did not always have the time.

What better solution than the numerous food trucks traversing the streets of Manhattan? While the food truck craze is not new, the trend is only growing. Trucks offer a quick, economical alternative to the confines of a sit-down restaurant, with just as much, if not more, flavor and ingenuity. With a little research, I discovered quite a few that parked daily nearby my internship, and the rest is history. Whether you are looking for a light bite or a full meal, here are five must-try food trucks offering a delicious little something for everyone on the go:

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Nauti Mobile (Luke’s Lobster Truck)

Born and raised in coastal Maine, Luke Holden of Luke’s Lobsters sure knows his seafood. Boasting five New York locations in addition to his Nauti Mobile Truck (check its Twitter @NautiMobile for real-time location updates), he brings his lobsters fresh from the dock to his family’s seafood business. Stop by the Nauti Mobile to try his famous, mouthwatering lobster roll. You’ll find generous portions of sweet lobster served atop a buttered and toasted split-top bun, with a slather of mayo, a sprinkle of lemon butter, and a dusting of secret spices and herbs – all for just $15.

Korilla BBQ

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With what began as an idea to create fast, casual, and affordable Korean BBQ, founder Ben Song introduced the Korilla BBQ mobile truck, serving up classic Korean recipes fused with a Mexican touch. While the menu is simple – you choose between tacos ($7 for 3), burritos ($7), or chosun bowls ($8) to start – the Korilla BBQ truck features playfully named fillings, including my personal favorite, “Ribeye of the Tiger” (deliciously sweet bulgogi, made from all-natural black angus ribeye steak). They also offer a great option for vegetarians: smooth house-made organic tofu, served well paired with the chosun bowl. But the best part about Korilla BBQ? Their toppings. With six kimchi renditions, four special sauces, and a multitude of unique vegetable garnishes (royal fern, anyone?) to choose from, you can’t help but pile it all on. Be sure to check their website for weekly locations!

Taïm Mobile

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Centered on their favorite Tel Aviv street food, husband and wife team, Chef Einat Admony and Stefan Nafziger, opened their own “falafel and smoothie bar” in the West Village in 2005 and launched the Taïm Mobile – Taïm (tah – eeem), meaning highly pleasant to the taste, in 2011. Two years in, the Taïm Mobile has a legion of devoted followers who line up daily to savor its gluten-free, vegetarian, and largely vegan menu (check their website for their weekly schedule.) Highlights include their $11 green falafel platter, layered with pillowy-soft pita bread, and their falafel sandwich, loaded with smooth hummus, a cucumber-based Israeli salad, pickled cabbage, and tahini—yours for a jaw-dropping $6.50. Don’t forget to “ask for everything”—they’ll add S’rug (Yemeni hot sauce), Amba (pickled mango chutney), Israeli pickles, and spicy peppers for an extra crunchy and tangy meal that is sure to sway any carnivore.

 Big Gay Ice Cream Truck

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Beginning as an experiment in the summer of 2009 by founders Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff, the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck has become one of New York City’s most iconic food trucks. Described by The Village Voice as “a cross between Mister Softee and Mario Batali,” the menu reinvents traditional soft-serve ice cream with clever dessert names and whimsical toppings, such as wasabi pea dust, Nilla Wafers, olive oil, and sea salt. My personal favorite? The heavenly “Salty Pimp” ($5)—a wafer cone filled with dulce de leche-infused vanilla ice cream, topped with a scattering of sea salt, and dipped generously in chocolate— a sweet, salty, and crunchy concoction worth every penny. In addition, each unique confection is served with good humor and a smile, reminiscent of the summer days of our childhood. Be sure to stop by their East Village or West Village shops, and check their website for updates on truck locations!

Wafels & Dinges

Photographed by Kevin Lu

After quitting his job at IBM in 2007, Wafels & Dinges founder Thomas DeGeest sold his first Liege wafel in SoHo and never looked back—and, boy, am I thankful. Helming seven trucks and carts throughout the city and a brand new brick-and-mortar café in the East Village, DeGeest offers two types of wafels (both $5 with one topping included): the light and crispy Brussel and the sweet and chewy Liege. Both delectable, the wafels come with your choice of “dinges”, or sides, including Belgian chocolate fudge, whipped cream, Nutella, and Spekuloos, an ingenious spread, both salty and sweet, typically made from cookie batter and a dashing of spices. A major highlight is their mouthwatering “de Bom” (one of my all-time favorite desserts): a warm Liege wafel drizzled with Spekuloos and topped with a heaping scoop of Spekuloos ice cream. When it comes to Wafels & Dinges, it is certainly not the time to skimp—I often add strawberries and a light chocolate drizzle for a dangerously good, food coma-inducing treat that serves well as both a snack and a meal. Follow their Twitter, @waffletruck, for daily locations.

Parts of this work were republished from Viral Fashion, October 5th, 2013, “5 NYC Food Trucks to Try Now” by Victoria Tan. More information can be found at Viral Fashion.

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