The Cinnamon Snail food truck.
Calling New York City an epicenter for countless industries isn’t saying anything new, but a burgeoning subculture of small businesses has recently blossomed in the Big Apple that may strike tourists and outsiders as curious. That being, we have some pretty bomb food trucks in this town. How awesome exactly is this budding culinary scene? Well, can you get Belgian waffles hot off the streets of Boston? Didn’t think so.
With this in mind, here are a few of the most creative cuisines,not to mention interesting business models, currently spoiling NYC pedestrians.
Neither veganism nor the organic movement is anything new to inner-city restaurants or grocery markets, but it’s certainly nothing you’d expect from your every day food truck. The Cinnamon Snail, however, delivers food meant to “inspire peace and bliss,” according to their website. Just how blissful does it get? Their gochujang burger – which will set you back $10 but is worth every penny – could probably convert any stone-cold meat lover, like me.
The gochujang burger.
Early birds can check out the Snail’s wide-ranging breakfast selection, which includes delectable specialties like chipotle seitan burritos and blackberry amaranth pancakes with honeysuckle syrup. Go ahead and say that last one out loud a few times in case you’re not already salivating like a Pavlov’s mut. True to their market, The Cinnamon Snail truck can be found usually in downtown or midtown Manhattan toting a yoga blanket on their trailer. Check out their Twitter account (@veganlunchtruck) for location updates as well as general happenings on the front lines of veganism and food justice.
Started by a Columbia grad who saw his future vanish with the downfall of Lehman Brothers, no starters’ list of NYC food trucks could be complete without some discussion of this staple of food truck fusion cuisine. It’s great to see that business savvy wasn’t wasted as Korilla practically wrote the book on food truck promotion via social media (check out their Twitter account, @KorillaBBQ). Did we mention their menu isn’t too shabby either? For the adventurous, check out their ‘Ribeye of the Tiger.’ Coming to your tastebuds in either burrito or taco form, USDA-choice steak is layered in tomato salsa, red leaf lettuce, spicy red kimchi, two varieties of Korilla sauce (with a choice between mild and hot), and shredded monterey jack cheese for a truly cross-cultural experience.
Against the almighty New York Times review, I’d say I enjoyed the combination of cheese with Korean flavors, but it probably isn’t for everyone. For a (slightly) safer bet, try the ‘Wild Child’ chosun bowl, with your choice of one of four different proteins in either ‘sticky’ or bacon and kimchi fried rice along with one of seven wild mountain vegetables including shiitake mushrooms and crown daisy, all glazed with Korean hot sauce.
First garnering a reputation as a Brooklyn restaurant delivering freshly caught seafood (sustainably, in true New York fashion) from the waters of Maine, the Red Hook Lobster Pound recently decided to throw their hats into the food truck game, and to great success. Being a native New Englander, it’s nice to taste a clam chowder that does justice to the classic dish while giving it some imagination – which is no small feat. As far as their regular menu goes, their lobster roll is not to be missed, but certainly isn’t for the cleanly. Prepare to get your hands dirty.
The ice cream truck is an American institution and no stranger to even the most remote suburban school child. The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, however, can only be found where gourmet desserts and same sex couples are commonplace, the Chelsea District. Delivering such classic dishes as the “Mexican Affo’gay’to”, the “Bea Arthur”, and “The Salty Pimp”, the parlor-turned-food-truck has something for just about everyone. My personal favorite is the “Cococone”, a soft serve vanilla cone served in toasted curried coconut. For those not crazy for coconut (truth be told, normally I’m not) try the aforementioned “Salty Pimp” which supports my theory that anything combining dark chocolate and sea salt is probably going to be delicious.
As minorities go, the gays may have the market cornered on ice cream, but waffles? Leave that to the experts – I mean, the Belgians. And make no mistake, Wafels & Dinges are thoroughly Belgian (or so they’d have you believe) wearing their accents right on their sleeves as well as their website. For those skewering for late night snackery, this food truck offers some pretty wild dessert choices. Take for instance, this week’s weekly special, “de BBQ pulled pork wafel”, which features coleslaw and coolickle (a pickle soaked in red kool-aid). For those looking for something more conventional, your first dinge is on the house (you know, before you order the ice cream scoop). After that, it’ll cost you a dollar.