This weekend Smithsonianmag.com released it’s list of their top 20 food trucks around the country. They did not give any information on how they developed this list, so it’s difficult to know how they came up with their top 20.
Here is their list:
In 2008, Roy Choi, a classically trained chef who once worked at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, took his Korean-Mexican fusion food to the streets. There, his beef short rib taco with a special, 21-ingredient sauce quickly emerged as his signature dish. From one truck, which Newsweek declared “America’s first viral eatery,” Kogi has expanded into an empire, with five trucks, whose locations on any given day are tweeted to over 96,000 followers, and four brick-and-mortar establishments. Many, including Smithsonian magazine’s very own food columnist Jonathan Gold, feel like food truck culture is indebted to Kogi, which proved that delivering “high-end food at street level prices,” as its website says, is possible. – Megan Gambino
On November 3, 2009, Chef Jeremiah tweeted: “Welcome everyone to Miami’s food revolution.” And with that ambitious announcement, his GastroPod hit the streets of Miami as the first mobile gourmet kitchen in the city. Soon after, the city exploded with burgers, tacos and even dim sum on wheels. But, GastroPod continues to stand out in the crowd. Today, the shiny 1962 Airstream pod is a familiar sight, usually swarmed by fans of the seasonal fusion cuisine. Yelpers love the Mo’ Better Burger: a mess of short rib, brisket and sirloin topped with a poached egg. The fusion concept comes out in dishes like the banh mi pork tacos and the shitake flan. – Aviva Shen
Lardo, a food joint run out of a little clapboard cottage parked at 43rd and Belmont in Portland, has been “bringing fatback since 2010,” referring to a cut of meat from a pig’s back. Lardo’s owner and chef Rick Gencarelli compares it to bacon, just without the meat. One of his favorite ingredients, he uses it generously—especially, when preparing his hand-cut French fries.
Gencarelli, previously the head chef at the award-winning Shelburne Farms in Vermont, has centered his vision for Lardo on two things: Italian flavors and local farmers. His seasonal menu features fresh deli sandwiches, including the much-raved-about grilled mortadella. Serious Eats cooed over the sandwich in December. And, according to the Willamette Week, the sloppy mortadella, with pickled peppers and gooey provolone “absolutely kills.” – MG
Clover Food Lab
Started by MIT grad Ayr Muir in 2008, Clover Food Lab has long been a favorite of the campus crowds in Cambridge. Across the Charles River, thanks to the recent easing of strict mobile vending regulations, Boston proper is finally starting to see more trucks on the scene. Meanwhile, the Clover gang has expanded its empire of locally-sourced vegetarian fare into two brick-and-mortar restaurants and five trucks. Don’t let the vegetarian thing faze you; even Boston mayor and meat-lover Thomas Menino swears their soy B.L.T. is the best in the city. – AS
The self-billed “traveling culinary carnival” brings cuisine from mythical lands—Merlindia, Benethiopia and, most recently, Volathai—to the nation’s capital. Along with your plate of butter chicken, beef berbere or green green curry, the Fojols serve up a colorful fantasy, complete with costumes, mustaches and alter egos. The first truck, Merlindia, perhaps in a diplomatic move, arrived on the day of President Obama’s inauguration. Since then, DC has enjoyed a proliferation of food trucks slinging everything from cupcakes to lobster rolls. But as Washington City Paper says, “No one has been able to top the Fojol Brothers of Merlindia in terms of fun, flavor, and ‘Folosophy.’” – AS
Find the entire list <here>