Los Angeles has, arguably, the largest fleet of food trucks feeding hipsters and the rest of us from noon until the wee hours of the morning. This is a good thing, so good that The Food Network's inaugural Great Food Truck Race featured a majority of road chefs from the LA area.
With all of these roaming diners around the sprawling city, you may wonder what's worth a drive. Lucky you, I tested out trucks over a period of six months and discovered 10 amazing trucks you must try when you're in the area. I didn't include dessert trucks, because they would have an unfair advantage due to my sweet tooth, so these are the best lunch and dinner spots on the food truck map.
Follow these 10 trucks on Twitter so you can start stalking. Happy eating!
Sucked in by their adorable French bulldog logo, I kept coming back to The Little Frenchie for their perfect lunch-sized sandwiches. I'm a traditionalist with my French fare and usually go for the Croque Monsieur, but The Little Frenchie won me over to their namesake sammy of roast beef, caramelized onions, and Dijon mustard on a french-dipped french roll.
9. Kogi BBQ
As a new'ish Los Angeleno, I've fallen hard for the Korean BBQ options in this city. But Kogi is in a league of its own serving up Korean Mexican tacos, burritos, and quesadillas that melt in your lucky mouth. The short rib taco will make you frantically search for Kogi on a regular basis, so don't say that you weren't warned.
Little bites traveling outside of Chinatown? Yes, please! I'm a sucker for BBQ pork buns, but during my vegetarian stage, I kept going back for the black bean tofu mulita. It's like everyone makes their own version of a taco in this town. Thank god, because it's delicious. The quantities are small, as dim sum should be, so load up and get at least three items when you step up to the window.
The Vizzi truck claims to have visionary cuisine, and with their combos of osso buco and tacos, I tend to agree. A sucker for the truffle oil, when Vizzi added it to popcorn and served it up with my sandwich order, I wanted to demand they open a restaurant that doesn't move around all the time on the spot. Their braised Wagyu beef sliders on a Hawaiian bun with chimmichura sauce were so mouth-watering, I drove to my husband's office and insist he try them as well. He too demanded they open a little bistro at the end of our block.
Love bacon? You're not the only one, as I was in line with a guy who takes the Los Angeles Metro (yes, there is one, didn't you see Speed?) every day at lunch just to get a sandwich from Lardon no matter where they're parked. But the real winner at Lardon is "the baco" -- a potato and Cheddar mixture in a bacon shell with horseradish sour cream. Top that off with a Frisee au Lardon sandwich with a fried egg & vinaigrette on toasted brioche, and I believe you've reached your bacon quota for the quarter. Of course they also serve breakfast.
5. El Matador
Picking a taco truck is almost impossible in a town that has more trucks able to make mouth-watering homemade tortillas than your average American city. After trying more than I care to admit, I also took some locals opinions into account and am calling El Matador (usually on Western, around Santa Monica & Fountain) the winner. I wasn't brave enough to go for the hot sauce, but hear it's sublime. For a few bucks you can get the best taco al pastor around, coupled with a carne asada taco. They don't actually have the homemade tortillas, but you can head down Western to find some delicious ones at Danny Immanuel's, the food truck with the neon sign that flashes "Chorizo."
Take a friend when you head out in search of the Grill 'Em All truck, because you have to order one of their daily special burgers, and there's no question you must get an order of the double dipped fries with truffle oil, and you might want to add on the tater tots of the day. That's some sharing food. I would recommend the behemoth burger with beer-soaked onions, bacon, smoked cheddar, and grilled cheese buns, but eating all of this might kill you on the spot. You know what? I'm still going to recommend it. Worth it.
I made myself try a few different food trucks that offered up Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) to see if Nom Nom really was as good as it seemed, or if I was just excited about having a Banh Mi. Nom Nom's got it, with their super fresh ingredients (in love with their lemongrass chicken) and the secret weapon: the soft in the middle, crunchy, crusty French bread.
2. Dosa Truck
I didn't even realize how much I loved dosas, until I had the Dosa Truck's sweet potato masala dosa (Sita's Surprise) and sampled their Slumdog. Dosas are a rice and lentil crepe from South India, a traditional South Indian street food, and now I want to eat one every day. Whether you stuff them with paneer or local ingredients the truck scoops up for daily specials, the savory crepe lunch is a perfect food truck meal: you can eat it as you walk down the street, or pack it away to take back to your office.
You may think you can make a grilled cheese sandwich at home, and you would be right. But there's a reason the lines stretch around blocks when the Grilled Cheese Truck pulls into your neighborhood. And that reason is a grilled cheese on French bread with BBQ pork. Or, the cheesy mac and rib. Or the harvest melt with roasted butternut squash. God help me when they park in front of Frosted Cupcakery, I might as well go get a prescription of Lipitor. This is the food truck you just don't want to miss. Luckily they get around, and no matter what part of the greater LA area you're in, you aren't far away from the double cream brie with caramelized onions grilled cheese.
Image via Kevitivity/Flickr