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June 13, 2013

Roundup: Our Guide To Fabulous Food Trucks In Neighborhoods Across Philadelphia

Tacos, ice cream, falafels, burgers, mac and cheese, gourmet desserts, and more, Philadelphia's food trucks have all of the best offerings. (Photo by D. Tavani for GPTMC)

Food truck fare never ceases to impress in the City of Brotherly Love.

With the hundreds of food trucks across the city, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed. No need to fear, our definitive list of some of Philly’s most loved food trucks is here.

While many food trucks’ location varies by day or week, a number of mobile food vendors have a specific spot that is their own.

But, if you’re looking to make plans with a particular roving food truck, check its twitter page for updates, or click here for assorted food trucks’ locations and hours.

Read on for our top food truck picks.

University City


Delicias: Grilled Venezuelan arepas stuffed with adobo-braised steak and plaintains; chicken salad and avocado; or chorizo and pico de gallo are all hot sellers at Delicias. Lynette Gueits’ repurposed truck calls University City home (at 35th and Market Streets), but the truck also travels citywide.

Foo Truck: Foowiches, or grilled square sandwiches filled with green-curry quinoa salad, gingery meatballs, pork belly with tea egg or peanut-flecked lemongrass chicken—are the signature items at Foo Truck, an uber-casual Asian-fusion concept located largely at 35th and Market Streets.

Gigi and Big R: The winners of Philly’s first-ever Vendy Awards, the long-established Gigi and Big R serves up down-home Caribbean fare such as fried whiting and curried chicken, along with generous portions of greens, beans, rice and mac and cheese. The outfit’s bricks-and-mortar location resides in West Philly at 5943 Haverford Avenue while the food truck sets up shop daily at 38th and Spruce Streets.

HubBub Coffee: The shiny red caffeine truck known as HubBub Coffee purveys Stumptown and Reanimator roasts via espresso drinks drawn from swank La Marzocco machines. It also sells the croissants and bagels necessary to go with these liquid delights. HubBub’s new non-mobile shop is on Logan Square at 1717 Arch Street, and the mobile location hails at 38th and Spruce Streets.

Kung Fu Hoagies: Specializing in vegetarian and vegan fare, Kung Fu Hoagies has wooed the meat-free set with tofu banh mi, BBQ “beef” hoagies and cold sesame peanut “chicken” noodles. The truck most often sets up shop 38th and Sansom Streets.

Mac Mart: The nail-polish pink Mac Mart truck turns America’s favorite side (macaroni and cheese) into a main course by mixing in barbecue chicken, homemade garlic croutons, bacon bits and more into five-cheese pasta. Look for it at 33rd and Arch Streets.

Magic Carpet: Catering to budget-minded vegetarian eaters since 1984 — long before it was trendy — Penn staple Magic Carpet has a slew of meat-free options, from the Smurf ’n’ Turf platter (tofu meatballs, rice, veggies and cheese) to the Sloppy Jason pita sandwiches and the exquisitely light spinach pies. Trucks set up shop at 36th and Spruce Streets and at 34th and Walnut Streets.

Street Food: Haute cuisine in a decidedly non-haute atmosphere is the idea beyond Street Food, where truffle parmesan fries, surf-and-turf lobster rolls, homemade chorizo and shrimp tacos and salted brownies have made appearances on the seasonal menu. The truck largely resides at 62 N. 33rd Street.

Spot: Specialty sirloin burgers, hand-cut fries, hand-butchered cheesesteaks, roast pork loin sandwiches and creative concoctions like meatballs stuffed with sharp provolone, have made Spot, owned and operated by a former butcher, a highly sought-after lunch stop on Drexel’s campus. Spot is located at 33rd and Arch Streets, in the midst of Drexel’s food truck haven.

Sugar Philly: A patisserie on wheels, Sugar Philly operates out of a truck named Sheila, vending perfectly engineered treats like crème fraîche cheesecake with blueberry compote, milk and honey, along with green-tea macaroons and classic crème brûlée. For your sweet fix, visit the truck at its, 38th Street between Walnut and Sansom Streets locale.

Rival Bros’ Coffee Roasters: An espresso bar on wheels, Rival Bros’ truck, bearing its old-fashioned pugilist logo, serves up espresso, pour-overs and drip-brewed single-origins and blends. It also sells fresh-roasted beans by the bag. The truck is located largely at 33rd and Arch Streets.

Tacos Don Memo: The wait for lunch can be long at Tacos Don Memo, whose passionate University City fan base swears by the generous tacos al pastor, vegetarian burritos and gigantic tortas layered with mayo, cheese and pickled jalapeños. The truck calls 238 S. 38th Street home.

Yue Kee: Since 1983, Yue Kee has been charming visitors with its no-nonsense proprietress and cheap, authentic Chinese — and Hong Kong — style eats such as sesame chicken, fried fish in garlic sauce and stewed pork ribs with rice. Located on 38th Street between Spruce and Walnut Streets.

Temple University


Cloud Coffee: A pair of grads from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art run Cloud Coffee, using ReAnimator beans and careful effort to create marvelous beverages. Bonus: the owners screen films and curate art shows right out of their truck. The truck is located at 2001 N. 13th Street.

The Creperie: Classic (nutella, banana, berries) and not-so-classic (pepperoni, ranch dressing, barbecue ribs, tuna salad) fillings stuff the crepes at The Creperie, a longtime campus favorite at Temple University. The truck serves up tasty crepes at 13th and Norris Streets.

More food truck options, below.

Poi Dog Snack Shop: A trio of intellectuals run Poi Dog Snack Shop, the first and only Hawaiian truck in town. The menu lists tacos, musubi and sweets. Ingredients include fried Spam, Kalua pork, small-batch tofu “poke” and mochiko-and-furikake-battered chicken. Find the truck largely at 13th Street and Montgomery Avenue.

U Got Munchies: A neon night owl is the symbol for U Got Munchies, which stays open until the wee hours to satisfy student snackers. After all, at 2 a.m., there’s nothing quite like bacon burgers, loaded chicken parm potatoes, mozzarella-stick-topped cheesesteaks or deep-fried Oreos. U Got Munchies boasts two locations, a storefront at 2012 Broad Street, and a truck at 1321 Norris Street.

Yumtown: Local and humane farm products are the foundation for Yumtown’s creative cookery. Menu items include the Joy, a beer-braised pork, pickled jalapenos and red vinegar slaw served on challah; and fried mac and cheese served with spicy marinara. The truck largely calls Temple University (at 12th and Norris Streets) home.

Roving


Buttercream: From Love Park to South Philly and back again, Buttercream — helmed by “the cupcake lady” —brings cupcakes to the masses in tempting flavors like lemon with blueberry cream cheese and dulce de leche. She also has a bricks-and-mortar shop in South Philly at 2015 E. Moyamensing Avenue.

Call Me Cupcake: Among the goodies on offer at the Call Me Cupcake truck are carrot cake, red velvet and seasonal variations. The roaming truck has an event-based schedule.

Farm Truck: Calling itself a “food truck” and “gallery,” the artsy, rustic and eco-friendly Farm Truck prepares seasonal sandwiches, salads and sides that might include a chopped apple salad or a Sriracha sausage on a long roll. The truck occasionally vends fresh produce too.

The Dapper Dog: The Jersey Special (potatoes, American cheese, peppers and onions) and the Moe Green (grilled asparagus and sharp provolone) are just a couple of the topped hotdog options at The Dapper Dog, parked late on Friday and Saturday nights at 2nd & Poplar Streets and serving lunch on Thursdays in Love Park.

Lil’ Dan’s: The signature sandwich at Italian sandwich truck Lil’ Dan’s may be the oddest delicacy on this list. The spicy-sauced chicken cutlet has been breaded in Oreos. Less adventurous eats include eggplant parm, Italian pork and Magglio sausage sandwiches.

Local 215: Pork fritters stuffed with pistachios and honey mustard. Braised duck with cilantro, pickled radish, baby greens and chili aioli rolled in laffa. If the meals at Local 215 sound more like gastropub fare, well, that’s exactly the point.

Lucky Old Souls: A jazz radio show and a concert series were the earliest ventures for Lucky Old Souls, which has since expanded into a musical burger truck, emphasizing farm-to-truck goodies like grass-fed beef burgers, hand-cut fries, thick milkshakes and freshly made condiments.

Pitruco Pizza: A mobile wood-fired oven bakes the charred-crusted, eggplant, sausage, soppressata, spicy garlic, margherita and radicchio pies at Pitruco Pizza, one of the most reliably everywhere trucks on this list.

Say Cheese: The grilled-cheese sandwich, described by its makers as “brown-bagged meltyness,” is the raison d’être of Say Cheese, whose variations include a grown-up version featuring house-cured meats. The truck also serves up hand-butchered cheesesteaks, buffalo chicken sandwiches and sandwiches featuring homemade mozzarella.

Vernalicious: Global fare in sandwich form comprises cuisine from Germany, Latin America, Vietnam, Italy and the U.S.A. at Vernalicious. On any given day, at any location, eaters line up for pulled-pork grilled cheeses, mushroom burgers, Buffalo-chicken sausage and loads more.

Zea May’s Kitchen: Native American cuisine is the hallmark of Zea May’s Kitchen, where the menu might include bison sausage empanadas, blue corn muffins, native grain parfaits and marinated mushroom salad with quail eggs.

Zsa’s Ice Cream: The Chipwich, taken up several notches, is the star of Zsa’s Ice Cream, a retro van serving artisanal ice creams and sorbets in flavors like salted caramel, peanut butter, maple toffee graham and cinnamon, and cookies include cinnamon chocolate chip oatmeal, dulce de leche and double chocolate chip.

Other Neighborhoods


Denise’s: Soul and Caribbean foods mix and mingle on the giant platters dished out at Denise’s,
a 30th Street Station landmark that specializes in jerk chicken, cornbread, mac and cheese and candied yams—all easily sopped up with slices of Wonder bread.

Falafel Truck: Famous for its heftily portioned fried chickpea balls, Rittenhouse’s boisterous, busy Falafel Truck also distinguishes itself with charcoal-grilled chicken and an array of accompanying tastily spiced treats (beet hummus, fresh grapes, salads) that changes daily. Located at 20th and Market Streets.

Jamaican D’s: Fans line up for the brown stew chicken, curry goat and oxtails at Jamaican D’s, a friendly jerk-centric truck, which has become a mainstay of the Community College of Philadelphia campus.

Taco Loco: The tacos on offer at Pennsport’s Taco Loco include pastor, chicken, tripe, tongue and chorizo fillings. Sold three for $7.50, all are delicately seasoned with chopped onions and cilantro — and are best washed down with a bottle of Jarritos soda. Located at Jefferson Square Park between 3rd and 4th Streets and Federal Street and Washington Avenue.

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