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Eat like a local: The best food trucks in L.A.
Long before food trucks became trendy, taco trucks — or roach coaches — ruled the streets of L.A. Now, the gourmet food truck craze has taken over, offering up everything from Vietnamese sandwiches to Texas BBQ, dim sum, lobster rolls and red velvet pancakes. If you want to experience the local food scene, don’t wait in line at fancy bistros and Hollywood hangouts — check your Twitter feed to find the tastiest food in town. (There are plenty of apps to keep you informed, like TruxMap, which uses your phone’s GPS to locate which trucks are closest to your current location). Here are some top picks:
Kogi is one of L.A.’s most iconic food trucks — for good reason. It started out peddling $2 Korean BBQ tacos before becoming what many foodies say is a symbol of L.A. street food. Try the Short Rib Taco, with double-caramelized Korean BBQ, salsa roja and cilantro-onion-lime relish tucked into crispy homemade corn tortillas.
For the late-night crowd, El Chato (which opens at 9 p.m. until “late”) is a local hot spot. It’s not hard to find a good taco in L.A., but El Chato offers up a smoking smoky chipotle. Try it with salsa and melted mozzarella on a crispy tortilla, along with your choice of meat: carne asada, chili-rubbed-el pastor or cabeza.
This menu is inspired by French cooking techniques and coastal flavours, using fresh ingredients found along the West Coast — like the lobster sliders, with garlic poached lobster tail, tarragon remoulade, arugula, crème fraiche and sweet Hawaiian bread. The truck also showcases independent musicians, DJs and short film clips.
The Grilled Cheese Truck
The name pretty much says it all — but this isn’t your classic bread, butter and cheese. The truck offers up gourmet versions of this childhood classic, using the best ingredients available (no cheap imitation cheese slices here). Creative combos include savoury melts such as Cheesy Mac and Rib or BBQ Smoked Pork, to sweet options like Toasted Marshmallow or Roasted Banana Purée.
The Buttermilk Truck
True to its name, this truck uses buttermilk as a key ingredient in its menu items — from Hawaiian Bread Cinnamon French Toast Sticks for breakfast to late-night Fried Chicken with Cinnamon Waffles. The classic? The Buttermilk Brick consists of two eggs over-easy, hash browns, house-made chorizo gravy and a buttermilk biscuit — a perfect hangover cure.
Fist of Fusion
This truck serves up a fusion of Hawaiian and Filipino fare, inspired by chef Ronnie Lucido’s mother’s recipes. While the menu changes, the truck is known for its Notorious R.I.B. (marinated short ribs) and Sisig Taco (citrus-marinated pork with onions and peppers in a cilantro cream sauce).
Sprinkles Cupcake Van
Got a sugar craving? Keep an eye out for this cupcake-shop-on-wheels — in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, no less. Known for using the finest ingredients, from sweet cream butter to Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, the cupcakes are topped with trademark “sprinkles” such as chocolate sprinkles from France or seasonal sugar decorations.
Jogasaki Sushi Burrito Truck
While you can get your fix of Asian-Mexican fusion tacos all over L.A., this truck has taken it one step further by combining traditional Mexican fare with … sushi. Opt for a tortilla or sesame soy paper filled with sticky rice and traditional sushi fillings. Or, try something a little more adventurous: spicy tuna nachos, salmon ceviche tacos or the spider burrito with deep-fried soft shell crab.
Sure, L.A. isn’t known for lobster, but truck owner Justin Mi — a former seafood distributor — flies in fresh lobster from Maine several times a week. The stars of the menu include the Lobsta Roll (with fresh Maine lobster) and the Crab Roll (with fresh Dungeness crab) on a toasted split-top roll with butter or mayo, as well as clam chowder, lobster bisque and whoopee pie