DUBAI, UAE – You often have to stand in queues and eat off paper plates – yet a growing number of diners have been won over by the variety and charm of authentic, creative, food-truck grub.
Dedicated “truck parks” are opening – the most recent being The Last Exit Al Qudra, at the end of Dubai’s D63 road – and the food vans have also become a common sight at events across the country.
About 35 participate, for example, in culinary events organised by Alexandre Teodoresco, the man behind Truckers DXB and Street Food Market DXB.
“Some people have had enough of Dubai’s VIP five-star super-expensive treatment,” says Teodoresco. “They want home-grown rather than big international franchises.”
When he organised his first event, Street Nights, four years ago, he could only find one food truck in the country. Now there are about 60, and in Abu Dhabi it has become easier to operate them out with organised events, with Mawaqif issuing permits.
But standing out in an increasingly crowded market takes a lot more than just offering tasty bites. “I see trucks getting more imaginatively decorated,” says Teodoresco. “They have no choice. It can’t be just another restaurant on wheels.”
While still in its infancy here, the industry is more established in the United States and Europe, where it appeals to war veterans, entrepreneurs and chefs tired of working for others, says Reema Shetty, whose Dubai company, The Foodsters Inc, has built a stable of 30 trucks.