As bastions of high-quality, fresh food prepared as you wait, it's easy to see why food trucks are so popular these days. Some cities have started taking their love of meals-on-wheels to new heights, with the appearance of ‘food pods’, food truck parks, and food truck festivals.
For food truck fans, here are best cities to visit.
A happy customer at one of the Portland food pods
Portland, Oregon, USA
In Portland, the mobile food capital of the USA, clusters of food carts throughout the city are called ‘pods’ and what they lack in size compared to your average eatery, they more than make up for in flavour.
While the selection on offer is impressive, there’s no doubt that carbs and comfort food are kings here, with some of the most popular carts including Viking Soul Food (Norwegian meatballs with caramelised goats cheese), the Egg Carton, Potato Champion, and Tabor (deep-fried Czech sandwiches).
The most popular carts are usually located between The Old Chinatown district and Portland Downtown so why not check into the nearby Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland and kick dinner off with their daily, complimentary wine tastings?
Everything from dim sum to dolmades
Austin, Texas, USA
Food trucks serving everything from dim sum to dolmades are popping up on every corner in Austin, many becoming so popular that they’ve graduated to brick and mortar restaurants.
But there’s still time to check out Peached Tortilla (Japanese-Vietnamese-American fusion comfort food), Veracruz All National, and El Primo breakfast tacos. A lot of the city’s best food trucks congregate at South Congress Avenue, making the nearby Guild East 6th self-catered apartments a great place to kick off your visit.
Frying tofu at a food truck in George Town, Malaysia
George Town, Penang, Malaysia
The not-so-secret food capital of Malaysia has embraced food trucks and, given the diverse nature of Penang’s population, the result is an incredible array of dining options, including an impressive selection of Indian, Cantonese, Malay, and Hokkien Chinese menus.
Not content with just dishing up mouth-watering grub on every street corner, George Town recently hosted a food truck carnival at the Vouk Hotel Suites. The event raised money for the Cerebral Palsy Children’s Association of Penang and gave the hotel staff an unbeatable grounding as one of the city’s best food trucks.
Sample traditional and innovative food in Seoul, South Korea
Seoul, South Korea
Seoul has always had a fondness for food trucks but until recently they tended to be restricted to local vendors selling tteokbokgi (rice cakes in spicy sauce). While these traditional dishes are still worth hunting out, the city has seen a dramatic increase in the number of food trucks showcasing new and innovative menus.
The Kimchi Bus and The 100 Food Truck Smoke & Grill are favourites with the locals and almost every cuisine is now represented on the streets of Seoul but it’s the liquid food trucks that are proving most popular. Rain Cocktail and The Juice Box are great options for a pre-dinner snifter.
To learn more about the history and importance of food in South Korea pay a visit to the Seoul Food & Culture Academy, a foodie favourite that’s surrounded by traditional Korean guesthouses like Vine Hanok, Xichun168, and Xiwoo Hanok.
An evening at one of the Sao Paulo food truck parks
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Panela na Rua, aka Pot on the Street, is a food trucks park in the Pinheiros district of Sao Paulo that opens every Sunday and has over 30 vendors. The trucks serve traditional Brazilian dishes, gourmet burgers, Japanese-Brazilian fusion dishes, vegan food, and desserts worth travelling for.
Many of the best-loved Sao Paulo food trucks reflect the city’s large Japanese-Brazilian community and locals flock to Tako-yaki, which is usually parked on the Praça da Liberdade. Visitors hoping to get there before the lunchtime rush can stay nearby at Jardin’s House.
Grabbing a cup of liquid goodness in Istanbul, Turkey
Many of Istanbul’s food trucks launched as a counter to chains and big business, providing young city workers with high-quality, easy, ‘home cooked’ meals and serving up some of the best Borek, Menemen, Simit, and Doner kebabs you’ll ever try.
This has also led to a surge in what has been dubbed Istanbul’s ‘third wave coffee scene’, with trucks like Manivela Coffee popping up in the city’s university district. Once you’ve grabbed a cup of steaming goodness, head down to the riverfront area (south-west of Taksim Square) for gourmet food and traditional dishes.
Food-obsessed travellers have taken to booking self-catered apartments in this area, in order to really make the most of Istanbul’s food trucks spend a few nights in the Kamondo Apartments, White Rose Apart, or Galata Chic Deluxe Flats.
Delicious offerings at some of Taipei's best food trucks
Taipei is famous for its Night Markets and these bustling, fragrant centres of activity also tend to attract the city’s best food trucks. These markets are full of history and the traditional Taiwanese bao buns and noodle dishes are often served alongside ancient shrines and temples.
But other influences are starting to make themselves known, with European and North American menus and established restaurants like 1Bite2Go launching their own trucks. The Shida Night Market is especially popular and visitors planning to make the most of Taipei’s food trucks should check out the Citizen Hotel, Rido Hotel, or the Uinn Travel Hostel.
*These holiday recommendations come from the travel scientists at Booking.com. They’ve analyzed destinations endorsed for food trucks and, according to Booking.com reviewers, these places are the best.