New York City – the global power city that never sleeps and yet loves to eat. So there we have an institution in itself – the concept of meals on wheels. You can see colorful food trucks mushrooming in the city whipping up a variety of cuisines for different tastes and appetites. Just take your pick – Mexican, Greek, Korean or Indian. Or is it those fierce desserts cravings? No matter what you fancy, good food out of cartons and boxes will comfort you in every nook and cranny of NYC.
It’s kind of a food renaissance
This food truck renaissance is a great relief for New Yorkers who have been spared from the task of chopping shallots or microwaving leftovers after a hard day at work. Not to forget the dirty dishes! This street-side gourmet global palette promises to satisfy hungry souls without breaking their banks. While there are many names in the must-visit vendors list – there are some eateries that deserve a special mention for sheer popularity and innovation.
For instance, take the case of The Cinnamon Snail. It is a popular vegan restaurant with signature treats like cinnamon bun and miniature cheesecakes that melts many a hearts in the Big Apple. Their wide range of organic vegan donuts gets the brownie points.
For meat lovers, Shorty’s On Wheels is the answer for all those darn good steak prayers. The juicy chicken steak with broccoli or pizza steak drowned in marinara sauce, are the top sellers. If you want to spice up your boring lunch then Calexico carts serve spicy giant burritos and quesadillas – topped generously with melted cheddar, grilled chicken and an exclusive chipotle sauce. Your heart will indeed say – Muchas gracias!
For the lovers of Oriental cuisine, options are galore. For instance, Korilla BBQ which offers unique Korean tacos. At $7, the grilled and nice marinated meats wrapped in tacos are a hit with lunch goers. Then there is the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck that is now gaining immense popularity owing to its delicious, healthy dish of 6 dumplings served with Miso soup. Their cold noodle salad ($9) studded with carrots, scallions, sprouts and sesame goes light on the stomach and the wallet as well.
Most of these licensed vendors have a tough daily regimen. They have a massive Twitter following and Facebook fans and they use the power of social media to spread the word, advertise and gain feedback through crowd sourcing. In fact, Today the soaring popularity of food trucks has turned them into potential advertising space.
Food truck diversity clearly visible in the Empire City
While this popular phenomenon has caught on in several US and Canadian cities, the diversity is clearly visible in the Empire City – the financial and cultural melting pot that offers great grub options. If we go trace back the origins, it is believed that this concept gained momentum by1890s as night lunch wagons, which catered to night-time workers, which is a common sight in big cities like New York.
The food trucks are a common sight on New York roads and the list of these retrofitted canteens is ever growing. It’s a heartwarming sight to see cross-cultural grub like sushi, dim-sums, Vietnamese sandwiches, cupcakes, tacos, and Indian dosas jostling with America’s patented Hot Dog. From being modest carts serving chips and soft drinks, the food truck culture has come a long way. These vans are now gratifying masses and in some cases round the clock.
Drop in food truck license applications
According to recent reports, there has been a drop in the applications seeking food truck licenses. It is believed that lengthy complicated paper-work, regulations to stress upon healthy, local food and a necessary adoption of compostable cutlery has played a role in this sudden drop. Of course the joy of feeding good grub to people is immense, but meeting everyday challenges of maintaining a catering cart can be quite a daunting task too.
Like any business venture, it is not without any problems. The parking curbs, criticism over noise and fumes, stringent government regulations, increasing consumer sophistication and the reality of long, arduous work hours are just some of the consistent issues that continue to prick this concept. However, the brighter side is that with simple skills, basic infrastructure and relatively small amount of capital, many mobile canteens have indeed scripted unfathomable success stories. The secret is simple – fresh food that reflects local culture and flavor.