December 29, 2020 by Ebastores editorial team
Updated December 29, 2020
Let’s discover Food Trucks in New York!
Traveling the world is my everlasting passion. Heading towards different places far behind our shores is a dream for many like me and you. “Travelling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller”; Keep reading and enjoy the trip with Ebastores in another amazing experience far beyond the shores of your own countries.
Dear you, kindly allow us to invite you for another short voyage to take you to places you never dreamt or imagined before, don’t think twice, you are already invited and you cannot resist the coming adventures. Happiness comes out of the ordinary lived experiences every single moment passes by. There comes a time we never look at the tinny beautiful things around us and forget to cherish their joyful moments. Let’s discover together the ordinary and simple life millions of peoples may not notice every day. Let’s enjoy a new experience lived in the streets of the United States and mainly in New-York City.
Discovering different places around the world is an enjoyable experience to learn about other’s cultures and civilizations. As travelers, we like to explore, live, experience, enjoy, and taste everything new, exotic, and appealing to us. Food is at the top of the wish list. If you want to learn about a particular culture, ethnicity, country, place, civilization, the first thing to start with is their food. Let me start with my short-lived adventure. I still remember a memorable day lived in a daily 24 hours. I don’t want to daydream about old memories but I would like to invite you, dear reader, to follow my steps and enjoy your days and make a walk to remember in the streets of New-York city.
In short, a friend of mine invited me to go for a walk after a long rainy day and to explore the delicious menus of street food in Bangalore, India. I was very reluctant to do so. I still remember my voice echoing a big No with a lazy body lying on my bed. Successfully, Roshni took me for a confessing walk to discover the delicious “Indian Dosa” prepared by a local food truck in Belendur. Places differ but the lived moment lasts forever and I am today confessing it to you. The question here is “Would you do the same? Have you ever been to street food trucks? Did you give it a try? If Yes, take a minute, try to remember the joyful moments you lived on that day? Have you seen any special things during the gatherings around you? How many people are there to enjoy the same menu? Why would all these customers prefer food trucks? What do they offer special? Do you have a historian's eye who looks like me to learn from the ordinary and travel back to all those cherished moments? My story with food streets started first on the shores of India. As I mentioned above, Travelling with Ebastores will take us to shores we never had the privilege to visit, or as in my case, I daydream to pay a short visit, or maybe one day, it may turn into a living reality. Who knows? Let’s believe in the beauty of our dreams.
The theme of the day is street food as you may notice. It is a new experience for many people like you and me. I had the privilege to give it a try thanks to a friend. All of us believe in the to-do list of our elders and to have healthy food. I am a big fan of a healthy lifestyle. Besides, I love adventures and I look forward to making ordinary days memorable future souvenirs. As a writer, I would seize any golden opportunity to learn and explore other’s cultural identities. Street food is not only linked to a particular country or a civilization. It became very popular, trendy, and appealing to many tourists and travelers like us.
Let’s go around the world for Street Food adventures!
When we say around the world, we meant that food street is not associated particularly with a single country. We are living in a world ruled by many countries but united by our humane heritage. Every single nation has its culture and various delicious menus. Street food is no exception to this. Rome and ancient Greece were pioneers within this field. Historical readings differ according to various myths, tales, and living facts. For example, in ancient Greece, fried fish were sold as street food. Evidence has shown that the number of vendors selling street food has increased during the excavation of Pompeii. Surprisingly, even during ancient times, the impoverished life of needy or poor people gave birth to the street food notion. The ordinary low lifestyle has given us the privilege to taste delicious food with a few pennies. Street food was mainly consumed by the poor residents of Ancient Rome or those tenements who do not have ovens or hearths. The menus served consist of a chickpea soup with bread and grain paste. Nowadays, Street food remains the same but with various popular menus. Unlike the old days, Customers are ranging from the rich to the poor sections of society. Street food seems to be the favorite of all despite age, group, or background. In ancient China, the same story found its roots too. The rich residents used to send their servants to buy them street food to enjoy it home. I would say, their prestigious status prohibits them from going out to enjoy its delicious menu. However, poor life would always be beautiful to wealthy people worldwide.
In 1502, Ottoman Turkey was the first country to legalize this type of business. The list of countries to introduce food street seems to be lengthy and it may take pages if not books to talk about every single nation and its delicious menus. The United States is our main focus and the heading destination in Today’s trip. Let’s enjoy the trip to New York City!
Street food and food trucks in the United States marked a melting pot of many cultures, cuisines, ethnicities, and lifestyles. How lucky Americans are they to enjoy all the cuisines within the American shores! The American archives are enriched with the culture of food streets in many cities in the USA.
Every American city tells a story of a thousand pages. Whether you are rich or poor, you can have a day to remember if you take a walk in the vivid streets of America. You should intend for a long stay or a month tour to still enjoy all the menus prepared by American cities.
Every food truck or street vendor would amaze you with interesting stories lived, learned, or heard during their years as vendors. The food itself is an art and a unique experience to learn about. If you are vegan or non-vegetarian, you are fortunate to find your servings from different places. If you can also try different cuisines like the Middle Eastern, Asian, African, Mexican, or European menus.
Let’s go around the world for Street Food or food trucks that can be easily found in America and New York, in particular. I would be subjective to say traveling to the United States will be a golden opportunity to explore many worlds within one World. A splendid melting pot made the American lifestyle the most appealing for many like me.
Praising the street food or food truck service is not intended. However, reading, searching, and scrutinizing the data, I found myself deviating my attention towards the magical life in the streets of New York City. What made life in that city colorful and seductive to our short voyage is the presence of many food trucks. What makes it even better, the cultural heritage of their vendors. Can we imagine ourselves moving from one truck to another trying to taste Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Syrian, and Italian menus in a day? Would it be possible for us to just daydream about trying all those delicious menus in just 24 hours?
Ebastores, you have given us the chance for a day tour! How would it be possible for us to enjoy and live the magic of New York in just one day?
Amazingly, many impoverished people succeeded to start their business and to better their financial conditions thanks to Food trucks. Back to the history archives, Many African women succeeded to make a new start after selling street food. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Immigrants from Africa sold various products ranging from fruit, cakes, and nuts coffee, biscuits, pralines, and other sweets. Others preferred selling ice-creams, gingerbread nuts, prawns, and jellied eels. Products differ from city to city in the United States. It has started first During the American Colonial period and it lived to date.
Digging underneath the archives drove us to many enriching facts about the City upon a hill in America. Food trucks tell many untold stories of peoples, places, cultures, ethnicities, lifestyles, and cultural tolerance united Americans to be a wonderful melting pot, happened once and never could have been repeated.
Let’s explore the evolution of Food trucks in the USA
Starting from the seventeenth century, food trucks have become part and parcel of Americans’ habits. Along with street food and small restaurants, food trucks started a revolutionary evolution in American society, which has witnessed the birth of this unique phenomenon. It has shaped American history in a way and influenced the rapid progress.
A brief history:
Pushcarts were a familiar scene in the New World. Authorities started regulating street vendors' business as early as the 1690s. New Amsterdam, now New York City, was the first area to pass laws regulating this way of selling food. By the 1850s, train passengers were offered food by dining cars. The first real start of this business, however, took off with the invention of the Chuckwagon866 by Charles Goodnight. Unlike previous carts and vehicles, these were specifically made to sell on the side of roads or in specific sites. These trucks enlarged their area of operations to include students’ dorms at famous universities. In the 1800s, Thomas H. Buckley started manufacturing trucks designated for street food usage. There were two fancy vehicles, the Owl and the White House Café. Later he introduced the Tile Wagon. These trucks were equipped with refrigerators, sinks, and stoves. Cooked meals became served as opposed to early truckers who sold only easy ready meals.
By 1917, the United States Army started mobile canteens to cook for the troops; a sign of the utility of this idea of street food. A unique invention came to be used in 1936; Oscar Mayer invented the first hotdog-shaped wagon called the Wiener Mobile. It was used to sell and advertise different products. Versions of this vehicle are still found and used today.
The sophisticated food trucks that we see today in every street in all states own real their existence to the emergence of ice cream trucks and Roach Coaches by the mid of the twentieth century. The latter became known especially to construction sites in the sixties. Whereas ice cream vendors started a decade earlier selling their frozen sweet treats.
Ethnic food gained imminence with the converging of an ice cream truck into a tacos truck by Raul Martinez in 1974. By the end of the century, food trucks were a remarkable phenomenon. They could be found in nearly every blue-collar worker's site such as factories, construction, mines, etc. It was a culture on its own. Later this would be a more sophisticated and organized business.
Food trucks’ evolution in the 21 Century:
The twenty-first century witnessed two major turning points for food trucks. The first started with the beginning of the century with Wikipedia adding a food truck to its list of entries. Other important events include the creation of the Vendy Awards; a competition for food truckers to celebrates New York’s best street sellers.
The second turning point came with the great recession of 2008. Like many business associations, restaurants suffered from bankruptcy. Several restaurants closed and jobs in the food industry were scarce. Therefore, food trucks seemed an excellent reasonable alternative. Many chefs started their businesses. There were movies themed around this issue in later years like the Chef. Finally, food trucks dominated the streets and became everyone's new favorite food supplier.
This section witnessed huge rapid growth and success. They expanded their territories to include all corners and all classes of society. A variety of menus were being served and the choices multiplied.
During 2010, food trucks became widely acknowledged. Magazines started writing reviews about food trucks. The first related website came online under the label Mobile Cuisine. Also, Television channels started broadcasting the Great Food Truck Race. And the National Restaurant Association includes food truck exhibitions in the annual convention in Chicago.
The following year, liquor licenses were granted to trucks. Besides, they are now used for advertisement purposes. By 2014, the National Food Truck Association was established. It aims at protecting and organizing the necessities of this business. States began issuing laws to regulate food trucks. In recent years the number of trucks was estimated to reach 23.000. Even established restaurants started having food trucks as extensions to their existing business to reach more people and provide service at certain events and gatherings.
The technology offered great help in the progress of food trucks. Owners are now using social media to reach wider audiences. Some branded trucks have millions of followers on Twitter and Facebook. Providing delivery service and free WIFI are two more hacks to bring more customers.
Segmentation of food trucks:
Food trucks are classified based on the shape of the trucks or the area of landing whether it is parks, streets, or institutions. However, important segmentation is done based on food types and menus. The following classification can apply to food trucks across the world:
- Ice cream: while targeting mainly youngsters, ice cream trucks lure both young and older people. These trucks have been offering deliciousness and putting smiles on all faces for hundreds of years. The most famous food trucks in the United States are: Big Spoon Creamery, Parfait Organic Artisan Ice Cream, in Seattle, the firm committed to using locally cultivated ingredients, Fifty Licks Handmade Ice Cream, French custard-style ice cream without any chemical additions, located in Portland, and Coolhaus, the empire that spreads across New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
- Snacks: food trucks serving fast foods are now competing with fast food shops and quick-service restaurants. One argument declares that these trucks are offering more variable food options than restaurants. Besides, they are easy to find at every corner, which justifies their convenience to busy workers and overwhelmed moms who do not have time either to cook or look for a suitable restaurant. Typical dishes offered include hot and cold sandwiches, soups, burgers, French fries, pizza, Mac and Cheese, and ethnic food like Mexican and Indian dishes.
- Barbeque: whether you prefer it on a seasoned sandwich or alone, barbeques are always everyone’s favorite. Kogi is one food truck that made Korean barbeque a staple of the Los Angeles food scene.
- Vegetarian food trucks: vegans can find their food choices on the sides of the streets, too. The Cinnamon Snail is among the leading first organic vegan food trucks. Their description reads as follows: “Our vision is to present absurdly tasty, compassionately crafted food to lure unsuspecting non-vegans to the dark side, where they will reside forevermore in a carrot castle with a broccoli king and queen.” The description alone is enough to seduce even the noon vegans and lure them to try something different for a change.
- Halal food: with the growing numbers of Muslim communities in the United States, the spread of truck foods selling only halal dishes has become a regular sight. Halal refers to a particular method of slaughter used by Muslims. Though they are relatively new to the scene, halal food trucks grew so quickly in number that they have become a distinguishing sign of New York streets. Most vendors are of Egyptian or Afghan and Bangladeshi descent. Nevertheless, they offer a multitude of dishes regardless of their origin and nationality. The Kwik Meal halal food truck is a media sweetheart and a popular option for people from all sects and creeds.
All these trucks are loyal consumers of olive oil. Halal vendors are de facto users of this liquid as it is inherently linked to the Arabic cuisine traditions. Others are strongly advised to use olive oil instead of other varieties of oils because of its great benefits. It is preferable both for cooking and frying. Seasoning your vegetarian foods with drops of olive oil is also a secret to good health. Other products available at Ebastores, such as homemade harissa paste can be a wonderful addition to the plates of these trucks. Many dishes of Arabic origins are known for their spicy flavor. Mexican food also is generally hot and spicy. This paste can take your food to the next high level making your menus a gastronomic paradise.
Regulations of food trucks:
It is essential to keep in mind a few facts before starting a new food truck business. Though these fancy trucks are now parts of the face of America, some areas restrict the spread of this business. Restrictions and regulations differ between states, and they range from tight to relatively loose laws.
To start with, licenses are required to open such a business. Permits can be expensive. Some states, such as New York, restrict the number of licenses; therefore, you might have to wait for a long time before you are granted a permit. Extra parking permits might be needed, especially in crowded monopolies. Besides, if you are planning to sell liquor you will need to apply for a liquor license. One more important permit to obtain is from the health department. For this permit, you need to abide by strict health regulations. More, to operate on the public territory, truckers need to pay a leasehold excise tax. What seems burdensome in these permits is that certain areas require that you obtain new licenses if you relocate even temporarily to a new place. All these permits render the food truck business an expensive matter unlike previously perceived. Other licenses might be needed such as fire certificates, food handlers’ and seller’s licenses, and vehicle permits. You must check all federal and local jurisdiction blueprints before hitting the roads.
The regulation of food trucks, though subject to local modification, falls under the jurisdiction of three entities, the Department of Health, the Department of Transportation, And the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. When certain counties and cities seek to impose stricter laws or limit existing permissions they are generally overrun by courts.
State and federal associations emerged to organize food trucks, define their right and duties, and keep them updates concerning new regulations. The National Food Truck Association is one body including all regional organizations. These institutions work for the sake of public safety and to ensure health standards.
Food trucks offer trendy recipes and mouthwatering menus, but are they safe? Although standards differ between states, there is still a general code that needs to be applied in all operations areas. The Food and Drug Association introduces generic terms that need to be met in the foodservice. Therefore, daily routines and attention to food quality and sanitary issues should be a priority to avoid fines and threats of closing business. Generally, routine inspections from the health department occur once a year. In case certain violations are detected, follow-up inspections would occur to make sure that violations are rectified. However, other check-ups might happen following customers’ complaints. Inspections seek to inhibit food-borne illnesses. That’s why they usually focus on whether the food truck meets safe food practices or not. These include storage, cooking, and sanitary details. Food must be bought from a licensed source to ensure good quality. Products need to be stored at the appropriate temperatures. And sanitary products and running water must be available for washing hands.
Generally, food trucks rank lower than restaurants and brick and motor shops when it comes to health records. Around 27 percent of these trucks earned lower than A grades according to recent data analysis and health department reviews. Therefore, it is a matter of life or death to choose your vendor wisely. Public records and online customers’ reviews are a beneficial source of information. Indeed, food trucks usually offer food options at low prices and sophisticated dishes less expensive than their restaurant-based counterparts; nevertheless, it never hurts to be extra attentive. These vendors often complain about tight regulations and minute scrutiny of their tucks, but public safety should always come first over profits.
Food on four wheels: TV shows, fast food nerds, and serving communities
Food trucks face-off:
Food truck trends swept television broadcasts and reality shows. Food Network aired a face-off competition in 2014 and 2015. The series, hosted by former pro football player Jesse palmer, features four teams' challenge. Each team of two persons has to present one of their top dishes to a panel of experts. The panel included radio host Steak Shapiro and restaurateur Alpana Singh, in addition to guest judges. Two teams win the appreciation of the panel, and they take to the streets the second day for a heated face-off. The winner is the team who compiles more profits. They are awarded a truck for one year.
Other friendly non-famous competitions exist across American soil. The Food Truck Face Off in Utah is one event hosted by the Food Truck League. It is one of the largest food gatherings that seek to give back to the communities. The profits from this event are raised for four charity groups including Utah Community Action and Fourth Street Clinic. This face-off is an annual habit. Even though 2020 turned out to be a tough year as it prohibits crowded gatherings, measures have been taken to ensure that the event goes on for the sake of those in need.
Tacos trucks at every mosque:
This idea is a community initiative in Orange County, California. It aims at bringing Latinos and Muslims together through sharing food. Rida Hamida and Ben Vasquez are the masterminds behind the initiative. Both ethnic groups have relatively small numbers in the county. Being minorities, they lacked any political power. Hence hate crimes were frequently recorded. After Trump won the presidential race, anti-immigrant sentiments surged. Hamida and Vasquez came together to discuss these common sufferings and address the issues of these vulnerable groups. A brilliant plan to encourage people from these two communities to know one another was put into action. The first event took place in June 2017, and soon other gatherings followed with growing numbers of attendees each time. Food is aimed at bringing people together for common goals. More intercultural and ethnic exchanges are expected as a result of this.
Food Truck Nation
is another TV show designated for food nerds looking for the most delicious bites. Broadcasted on the Cooking channel, the show visits food trucks and offers scopes about the chefs behind the street’s most tasty dishes. Chef Brad Miller hosts the show. Miller is one of the candidates battling in Gordon Ramsay’s “hell’s kitchen”. He works to showcase different items and cuisines.
Street food, food trucks, and varied cuisines:
Street food is ready-to-eat food options sold on the sides of the streets. However, people mistakenly consider all street food coming from food trucks. Street food includes food trucks but is not limited by them. Brick and Mortar restaurants and cafeterias are listed as street food sources. Sociologically, street food has been linked to certain classes of society. However, these foods are now seducing all segments of society regardless of all stratifications. Street food is generally linked to the traditional eating habits of societies. It cherishes authentic original dishes and keeps their presence felt to the new generations. Concepts and perceptions might change from one country to another, but street food remains a seductive attraction to people no matter their status.
Some of America's most desired and known fast foods include regional and foreign options. The following chart lists a few recognizable fast foods and where are most likely to be found:
- Tacos in San Francisco, California: they are strikingly simple, yet in their simplicity lay all the beauty. They include a bit more than meat, salsa, cilantro, and onions. They are the perfect option for all times. Whether it is meant for dinner, lunch, or a quick snack, tacos in San Francisco are always on the menu and every day’s special.
- Hot dogs in Chicago: hot dogs are a marker of American food traditions. Chicago food vendors know how to make the perfect sandwich.
- Donuts in Oregon: donuts are a simple flavorful treat widely consumed in the United States. New flavors and fancy shapes now reign over the latest brands of donuts.
- Frito chili pie in New Mexico: is an iconic spicy fast food.
- Poke bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii: this dish evolved through a mixture of Japanese, American, and Polynesian elements. It is now the national dish of the island and a wonderful treasure. It consists of three main ingredients, rice, fish, and vegetables.
- Cheesesteak: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, certainly makes the best cheesesteaks.
- Dumplings in New York City: dumplings enjoy a majestic ranking among street foods in New York.
- Grilled cheese in Massachusetts: the city offers fantastic grilled cheese sandwiches in varied forms.
Street food in the United States is mainly equated with food trucks. More than small shops and restaurants, these trucks offer a multiplicity of choices at the lowest prices possible. Their uniqueness and popularity lays in their versatility. They are always in the right place at the right time. Mobile food vendors enjoy the luxury of being present at different locations. They are also known for their fast way of preparing food, which is a convenience for busy workers having lunch at the last minute. Unsurprisingly, restaurant owners started their food truck trail as an extension to their established businesses.
Trying new mixtures and foreign cuisines has been a habit of food truckers for a while, for the sake of attracting new customers from different backgrounds. One cuisine worthy of a trial is the Mediterranean Tunisian cuisine. Tunisian recipes have been appreciated by a wide range of food lovers across the world. The spicy flavors and the seasoned textures are simply mesmerizing. Dishes such as “lablabi”, loaded with harissa paste and healthy extra virgin olive oil, could be just the right next special plat among New York streets, being the meeting point of different cultures and ethnicities.
One important reason why food truck is the better choice is that they offer services from diverse cuisines. The list includes American cuisine for sure but expands to the Mexican, African, Mediterranean, Asian, Italian, and Indian cuisines. The beauty of this business is that they offer the ultimate taste and flavor of a multitude of cuisines just around the corner of your neighborhood.
Living the moment, enjoying the days, and looking differently at the ordinary lived facts is a must to learn from others and ourselves. Ebastores thinks of you and aims to transform your ordinary day into a different celebration of many unseen facts around you. Food is just a subdivision in the story of our daily lives. We keep learning from the unexpected and cherish the sweets of the ordinary. Heading towards New York is a very short voyage to spread our wings and believe in the power of imagination to explore food trucks in the USA. Exploring and discovering places around the world cannot be that easy for many like us. However, we can still dream and enjoy the given facts, collected experiences and personal lived moments to learn about other’s civilizations and cultures.
We are not for consuming unhealthy street food or a non-hygienic dish. We strongly believe in the motto of “eat clean, green, and organic”. However, stepping out from your comfort zone, exploring the difference, trying something new can be very appealing to many people like you and me. Food trucks in New York are a beautiful and splendid melting pot of different cuisines, civilizations, and ethnicities. Tasting different menus once a week or once a month won’t harm you if you select well your Food truck service. Enjoying delicious plates from various international cuisines can take you to shores you never stepped before. Are you still waiting? Gather your courage, Live the moment, give it a try, Enjoy the delicious plates of your favorite cuisine, Have Truck’s food, and tell us your story. Ebastores believe in you because you are a talented storyteller. Before we say “See you very soon”, we would like to conclude this beautiful journey with the following quote by Aldous Huxley: “Civilization means food and literature all around. Beefsteaks and fiction magazines for all. First-class proteins for the body, fourth-class love stories for the Spirit”. Looking forward to hearing your story very soon. With Ebastores, Stay Tuned.