When I started writing about food trucks in early 2016, the trend was already well underway. With scores of these colorful mobile vendors to choose from, I was like a grownup kid in a candy shop.
But I’ll admit I was a little concerned that at some point I would run out of new trucks to check out.
I needn’t have worried. More food trucks than ever are cruising Triangle roads and highways, and there isn’t a day of the week you can’t find several to choose from if you’re willing to put a few miles on the odometer to track them down. What’s more, since the recent opening of County Fare, a sort of permanent food truck rodeo venue in Durham, you don’t even have to plug in the GPS to find a good selection.
Another telling statistic: Of the 29 mobile vendors I’ve reviewed so far, only three have closed. And one of those (Fetch Hot Dog Co.) closed so that the owner could devote his full attention to a restaurant (Village Diner in Hillsborough, where you can still enjoy his Weeping Radish Butchery dogs). That’s a success rate that brick-and-mortar restaurants would envy.
Now that the food truck trend is firing on all cylinders and food truck rodeo season is in full swing, here's a look at all of the trucks I've reviewed so far. They're in alphabetical order, and I've shared my favorite menu item from each.
Think of it as a virtual rodeo, or your guide to the next food truck rodeo you attend.
Dibs on: pork adobo
Specialty: grilled cheese sandwiches
Dibs on: Scarborough Fare (herb pesto and Gouda on sourdough)
Note: American Meltdown also has a location in the food court of Streets of Southpoint mall in Durham.
Arepa Culture NC
Dibs on: La Tica (chicken, peppers, onions and cheese)
The Bamboo Cookhouse
Dibs on: pork sisig
Specialty: steamed buns
Dibs on: crispy pork belly bao
Dibs on: blue cheese brisket
Belgian Waffle Crafters
Specialty: Liège-style Belgian waffles
Dibs on: the Bouc waffle (goat cheese, apples, walnuts, honey and thyme)
Specialty: Korean barbecue
Dibs on: spicy pork burrito bowl
Specialty: Chinese dumplings
Dibs on: Bayside Chive pork dumplings (fried)
Specialty: global barbecue
Dibs on: The Raven (smoked brisket and horseradish-apple slaw on grilled ciabatta)
Cousins Maine Lobster
Dibs on: lobster roll
Note: Cousins will soon have a brick-and-mortar location in the new Morgan Street Food Hall in downtown Raleigh, which is set to open July 23.
Curry in a Hurry
Dibs on: lamb curry
Note: Curry in a Hurry will soon have a brick-and-mortar location in the new Morgan Street Food Hall in downtown Raleigh, which will open July 23.
Daddy Bob’s Barbeque
Dibs on: pulled pork plate, jalapeño cheddar hushpuppies
Specialty: flatbread sandwiches
Dibs on: Truffle Chicken
Dibs on: BLT
The Humble Pig
Dibs on: Pulp Fiction (brisket confit and pimento cheese on a Kaiser roll)
Dibs on: Currywurst
Specialty: Mongolian barbecue
Dibs on: beef bowl (Xtra Hot sauce)
Mr. Puebla Tacos
Specialty: authentic tacos
Dibs on: carne asada tacos
Dibs on: local country sausage with optional fried egg
Note: Pie Pushers also has a restaurant at 117A W. Main St., Durham, above The Pinhook.
Dibs on: arroz con pollo or lechon if either is the daily special; otherwise, beef empanadas
Specialty: Latin American-inspired street food
Dibs on: green plantain bowl with carnitas
Soomsoom Pita Pockets
Specialty: pita sandwiches
Dibs on: beef ragu pita pocket
Specialty: Puerto Rican
Dibs on: Puerto Rican-style Cubano sandwich
Note: The truck has been temporarily sidelined because of a fire earlier this spring. Check the truck's Facebook page at facebook.com/eatspanglish for updates. Meanwhile, you can find some of their specialties at Pressed Sandwich House at 10630 Durant Road, #104, Raleigh.
The 13th Taco
Dibs on: Fish Tales (fresh catch) tacos
The Wandering Moose
Specialty: slow-cooked meats
Dibs on: brisket sandwich
Food Truck rodeos
Food truck rodeo is in peak season. Here are some in the works in the coming months.
▪ Durham Food Truck Rodeo. Durham Central Park, Durham. Sept. 2 and Nov. 4. durhamcentralpark.org.
▪ Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo. Fayetteville Street, Raleigh. Aug. 5 (3 to 9 p.m.) and Oct. 14 (noon to 6 p.m.) downtownraleighfoodtruckrodeo.com
▪ Cary. The next Downtown Chowdown is Sept. 16 on South Academy Street, between Dry Avenue and Waldo Street, Cary. townofcary.org.
▪ Garner has a weekly Food Truck Friday on Main Street in downtown from 5 to 8 p.m. For details, go to downtowngarner.com/event/food-truck-friday-on-main.
▪ County Fare is at 1920 Chapel Hill Road, Durham, and is open Wednesday through Sunday. Food trucks change every afternoon and evening. For details and a list of trucks, go to countyfaredurham.com.