Meals on wheels

Meals on wheels

Check out the new face of food trucks around the world, from London to San Francisco.

These days it’s just not enough to grab a portable barbecue, fling it in the back of an old VW camper, drive to Peckham, whip up a batch of ?10-a-pop organic burgers and call yourself a food truck. Mobile munching is serious stuff.

This hipster movement (surely you went to Street Feast at Dalston Yard last summer?) has been rumbling along for a few years. Everyone points the starter gun at the now famous Kogi (, the Korean taco truck that took LA by spicy storm in 2008. Suddenly, sticky barbecue ribs in griddled corn tortillas could be had in Rowland Heights or Granada Hills or Venice, depending on where the wind took it.

Soon enough, it became clear that setting up shop on wheels was significantly less tricksy than launching a restaurant, so paper plates of lobster rolls, creole curries and sashimi were soon tumbling out of vans on street corners everywhere from Cape Town to Sydney.

This new wave of food-to-go has evolved once more. The grub served is crucial, of course, but now the vehicle it comes from is just as considered. In San Francisco, they are super-sizing. The Del Popolo truck ( is really more of a lorry, the oven a monster: a two-and-a-half-ton, wood-fired, fiercely hot number straight from Naples. And the food? Kick-ass pizzas ready in 60 seconds flat.

There are some beauties closer to home, too, but on a smaller scale. Paris’s mobile Mozza & Co ( is doing a fine line in mozzarella salads from its three-wheeler Piaggio Ape on the banks of the Seine.

In Berlin, Die Dollen Knollen ( makes the crispest kartoffelpuffer in an old Citroen H van.

And loiter around East London on any given weekend and you’ll come across The Bell & Brisket ( prepping salt-beef bagels in a racing-green horsebox, and the insanely popular Mother Clucker ( turning out Southern fried chicken from an ex-US Army Chevy ambulance. It’s fast food on the fly.

Published in Conde Nast Traveller December 2013

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