By CECELIA MARSHALL for Arizona Daily Wildcat Published March 29, 2013 at 2:33am
Everything is mobile these days: Phones, homes, banking and even pet grooming. Now, a new sub-culture is transforming parking lots into temporary food courts and offering on-the-go people a delicious feast for a reasonable price.
Outside, people wait in line at their favorite food truck, inhaling the heavenly aroma that floats from its windows. Inside, depending on the rush, it can be a hot mess of ovens, fryers and stoves.
Food truck culture has become a phenomenon across the nation in major cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Seattle. Now, food trucks are taking Tucson by storm.
David Aguirre, director of the Tucson Food Truck Roundup, has been working to bring together the food trucks of Tucson several times a week to provide locals with culinary convenience.
About 10 to 30 food trucks attend these round-ups and, due to growing popularity, often quickly sell out of food. Food trucks are even common now at special events such as weddings, graduation parties, and festivals, but also bring life to areas around town with less traffic.
New food trucks are constantly being licensed and joining the herd. This was especially true during the height of the recession. When restaurants closed down, chefs took their cuisine mobile.
Others who are just entering the restaurant business, start out with food trucks and segue into their own stationary restaurants.
Tucson’s own “Eat-a-Burger” began as a 14-foot trailer food truck and became the popular downtown burger joint known for its specialty burgers.
Clever names are the source of much of the attention surrounding food trucks. The more creative the name, the better. “Planet of the Crepes” is one local food truck, and specializes in thin French pancakes that host combinations both sweet and savory.
A pithy name isn’t the only thing that makes for a successful food truck. Any concept you have must have a unique twist. Unless your food is outstanding, you won’t get much attention if your truck is called “Eat Here.” Fusion cuisine seems to be the most common.
“The Twisted Tandoor” is far from authentic Indian, yet still creates incredibly delicious and flavorful dishes with their own variation of Tikka Masala and curries.
A lack of address used to make finding your favorite food truck difficult. But most food trucks now have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, where owners post where they will be, what time they will be there and what specials they are serving. It allows food trucks to gain a quick reputation and a cult following.
When you find yourself on-the-go, skip the fast food chain and go for cuisine that is more mobile, affordable, and often more sustainable. It may have come off a truck, but chances are you’ll be chowing down on a dish that surpasses those of many local eateries.