Food trucks continue to stay ever-popular, and that popularity is growing. Serving the masses from a mini-restaurant on wheels means a wider circulation and visibility, and sometimes even a lower price for quality food. Plus, Twitter has made it incredibly easy for fans to track the trucks. With rents constantly rising and restaurateurs looking for a quick way to gain attention, many entrepreneurs have turned to food trucks as the new business model. Asian food particularly lends itself well to being served out of a truck, as it is usually easily portable, simply made (more about the ingredients than the technique itself), and innovative—people are intrigued by anything that isn’t your standard General Tso’s chicken. Perhaps this is why we’ve seen such an influx of incredible trucks serving their take on Asian cuisine—read on for Mochi’s favorite 10 around the country, in alphabetical order.
1. Bian Dang (twitter.com/#!/biandangnyc) – New York City
Bian Dang, formerly known as NYC Cravings, serves Taiwanese-style entrees. The pastel blue truck serves lunch boxes (bian dang in Mandarin) with ample portions of treats like fried pork chop over rice with their specialty sauce. The menu also features zongzi, a sticky rice dish wrapped in bamboo leaves with peanuts, dried shrimp, pork, Chinese sausage and veggies—offered without meat for vegetarians too.
2. Chairman Bao (twitter.com/#!/chairmantruck) – San Francisco
Besides its flashy red-and white-striped panda truck, Chairman Bao is known for its baked and steamed buns. A top seller is the pork belly buns—one bite offers you a taste of crispy, juicy meat paired with hoisin sauce. Other popular choices include the people’s buns (a baked bun with sesame chicken, scallion and bok choy) or the crispy garlic tofu bun with miso greens.
3. The Flying Pig (twitter.com/#!/FlyingPigTruck) – Los Angeles
Focusing on French and Pacific Asian Rim fusion food, the Flying Pig is known for its tamarind duck taco: slices of duck confit with mandarin orange, pickled red beets, radish sprouts, toasted almonds and tamarind gravy. Other tasty fare from this food truck includes the pork belly, a hearty dose of braised meat with vegetables and death sauce (hoisin with a punch of spiciness) on a Chinese bun.
4. India Jones (twitter.com/#!/indiajonesct) – Los Angeles
The only thing that will make you smile more than this Indian food truck’s tongue-in-cheek name is its refreshing and tasty offerings. During a hot afternoon in Southern California, cool down with the mango lassi, a smoothie made of mango, yogurt and ice. The curry menu at this truck covers a variety of flavors such as chicken tikka masala and lentil or the bean du jour.
5. Kogi BBQ (twitter.com/#!/kogibbq) – Los Angeles
Korean American Roy Choi’s upbringing heavily influences his culinary fusion of Korean and Mexican flavors, the trait that Kogi has become famous for. If you’re ever unsure of what to order, short rib tacos, filled with succulent meat and topped with a mix of fresh veggies and a tangy sauce, is the way to go. If you’re still hungry and have room for dessert, the chocolate tres leches cake has just enough sweetness to be the grand finale to your meal.
6. Korilla (twitter.com/#!/KorillaBBQ) – New York City
In a city that has seen it all before, Korilla provides Korean BBQ with a twist. Its Chosun bowls provides a multitude of options, with four different kinds of kimchi and three different sauces you can enjoy over a heap of filling veggies. In the mood for a taco or burrito? Try one with bulgogi, pulled pork, chicken or tofu and a side of BKFR (otherwise known as bacon, kimchi, and fried rice). Korilla has caught the eye of Food Network executives, and is on the Great Food Truck Race, hosted by Tyler Florence.
7. Momogoose (twitter.com/#!/momogoose) – Boston
Offering Southeast Asian vegan and non-vegan cuisine to Boston and Cambridge, Momogoose offers a selection of soups, baguettes and bowls. The much-loved Ga Nuong features lemongrass chicken on a bed of rice noodles and leafy greens. The Three Sisters, a combination of three veggie crispy rolls, rice noodles and vegetables, provides a vegetarian option. As if great food weren’t enough, Momogoose charitably donates a meal to the United Nations World Food Program for every meal the truck sells.
8. Nong’s Khao Man Gai (twitter.com/#!/Nongskhaomangai) – Portland
Portland, Oregon has become another hub for food trucks, and Nong’s Khao Man Gai is at the center of it. Khao Man Gai, a popular Thai dish of chicken and rice, is the only item served at this food truck. Similar to Hainan chicken from China, Khao Man Gai is poached, cooked in herbs and accompanied by a pungent soybean sauce with garlic, ginger, sugar, vinegar and Thai chilis.
9. The Nom Nom Truck (twitter.com/#!/NomNomTruck) – San Francisco & Los Angeles
After participating in the first season of Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race, Nom Nom became a household name by serving fresh banh mi, a Vietnamese baguette sandwich. At this bright, green truck called the Nominator, choose between lemongrass chicken, lemongrass tofu or honey grilled pork with daikon, cucumber, cilantro, carrots, jalapenos and mayonnaise. The Nom Nom truck recently expanded to serve fans—fondly dubbed nomsters—in both northern (twitter.com/#!/NomNomTruckSF) and southern California.
10. Phamish (twitter.com/#!/eatphamish)
Make sure to arrive famished at Phamish—you’ll definitely leave full. Puns aside, Phamish is beloved for its offerings of Vietnamese dishes like pho, vermicelli and spring rolls. The variety of dishes at Phamish is amazing, and it’s great to have all the options in a Vietnamese restaurant rolled up in one food truck.