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The 11 best food trucks in NYC

From Salvadoran pupusas to Korean barbecue, grab some top-rate mobile grub at the best food trucks NYC has to offer

Photograph: Jael Marschner
Tea Slush at Kelvin’s Natural Slush Co.

For a city as on-the-go as New York, it only makes sense that food trucks—NYC's meals-on-wheels once slinging simple fare like burgers, hot dogs and ice cream—have risen to the standards of Gotham’s hordes of hurried, but still discerning, diners. The new wave of food trucks serve pristine seafood, fresh-fried falafel and other sophisticated bites—and, best of all, most of these moderately priced plates qualify as cheap eats.

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Food trucks in NYC

Hard Times Sundaes

Formerly parked in tucked-away Mill Basin, Brooklyn, this serious burger truck quickly achieved a cult status among patty aficionados that has propelled it onward and upward to easier-to-access Williamsburg. Ground beef purist Andrew Zurica now slings his improbably juicy single-, double- and trile-stacked burgers from behind the Pfizer Building. Get 'em hot with free raw or grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles and jalapenos, or pony up an extra $1.25 for a helping of crisp bacon.

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Williamsburg

The Cinnamon Snail

From this roving truck, self-taught chef Adam Sobel dispatches vegan dishes like Korean barbecue seitan and acclaimed desserts including fig pancakes and a crème brulee doughnut.

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King of Falafel

Fares “Freddy” Zeideia is a sort of local celebrity in Astoria, Queens, where he’s been doling out Vendy Award–winning falafel, shawarma and kebabs from his King of Falafel & Shawarma truck since the early aughts. His street-food standouts find their first brick-and-mortar home at this 38-seat casual Middle Eastern spot, marked by a black awning that cheekily reads #YEAHHHHHBABY. While the Manhattan cart and Queens truck continue to operate seprately, the restaurant turns out crowd favorites like thinly sliced beef-and-lamb shawarma, as well as an expanded menu of newfangled creations such as daily baked pita bread and a falafel burger with zaatar and tomato.

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Astoria
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Snowday

This snowflake-emblazoned sugar shack is dedicated to—surprise—maple syrup, drizzling the sweet stuff on desserts and savory mains alike. Find it infused in sourdough-cheddar grilled cheeses (ham, pea shoot) and glazed on smoked pork ribs. Roaming Prospect Park and Governors Island, the van puts proceeds toward empowering youngsters with the help of social campaign Drive Change.

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Kelvin

Swirl fresh ingredients like mint sprigs, pomegranate seeds and zesty ginger into all-natural slush concoctions (green tea, citrus) at this choose-your-own-adventure frozen-drink truck. The spicy ginger-blueberry variety will make you forget all about those sticky, mouth-staining Big Gulps from your childhood. Spot the sleek blue stand at Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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Solber Pupusas

From their Vendy Award–winning truck, husband-and-wife team Rafael Soler and Reina Bermudez have been serving cheese, meat and veggie pupusas with all the fixins—pickled jalapeños, tomato sauce and coleslaw—since 1998. Grab their acclaimed Salvadoran-style grub at the Brooklyn Flea every weekend or through their pop-ups at Vendy Plaza and Royal Palms Shuffle Board Club.

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Red Hook
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Korilla BBQ

This tiger-striped food truck offers tacos, burritos, and rice bowls filled with Korean-style meats like beef bulgogi, braised short ribs and spicy chicken—plus house-made kimchi to pile on top.

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Downtown

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Truck

Onetime Good Humor man Ben Van Leeuwen partnered with his brother Pete and Laura O'Neill to open this classic ice cream truck, based at the corner of Greene and Prince Streets (two other roving vans sit at Bleecker and Perry Streets in the West Village, and Bedford Ave and North 8th Street in Williamsburg). Local, hormone-free milk is in the custard base, and even the most elemental flavors sport a flourish: Chocolate contains Michel Cluizel cocoa, and vanilla is made using the brothers’ own bourbon-and–Tahitian-bean extract, aged for four months in vodka-filled oak barrels.

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Downtown

Taïm Mobile

The popular Middle Eastern takeout shop, run by wife-husband team Einat Admony and Stefan Nafziger, takes its famed falafel show on the road. Nab best-selling items from the brick-and-mortar location, like the traditional green falafel and the date-lime banana smoothie, plus quinoa salad with toasted almonds and preserved lemons.

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Downtown
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El Rey del Taco

Late-night tummy fillers (Philly cheese steak, gyros) and Mexican staples (burritos, quesadillas) are given an artisanal touch at this taco truck—which started as a street cart selling tamales—where handmade corn tortillas are piled with your choice of chorizo, salted beef or chicken, along with cilantro, onions and tomato.

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Astoria

Nauti Mobile

Luke Holden's beloved crustacean chainlet, Luke's Lobster, rolls out this blue-and-yellow seafood shack on wheels offering fresh lobster, shrimp and crab—one buttery roll at a time. Posted up at Pier 13 in Hoboken, the roving truck issues the same New England favorites as its Manhattan brick-and-mortars, like creamy clam chowder, Cape Cod chips and Maine microbrews.

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Find the city's best fries

The 15 best french fries in NYC

Like Batman needs Robin, Gotham's best burgers need their trusty side of golden french fries. In New York, those crisp potato wands can be found in all different forms, on menus that range from the best restaurants in NYC to tried-and-true cheap eat standbys. Whether you like them shoestring skinny or hand-cut meaty, with ketchup or with mayo, these are the best french fries in NYC to try right now.

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By: Christina Izzo

Comments

2 comments
The V
The V

Also check out Vendy Plaza every Sunday from noon-6pm at La Marqueta in East Harlem @116th & Park for the newest food vendors. Brought to you by the Vendy Awards. vendyawards.streetvendor.org

Tamara S
Tamara S

What are you talking about? This list is the same every year...if you actually do research on food trucks you would know the Cinnamon Snail CLOSED and now has a stall at the PENNSY.  What about DiSo's? or Toum? Or Old Traditional Polish Cuisine - there are so many unique food trucks that you never seem to mention that are a staple in NYC. Go out there and actually look!!!!