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Photograph: National Food Truck Day
Photograph: National Food Truck Day

The absolute best food trucks in NYC

From Korean barbecue tacos to donut ice cream sandwiches, the food trucks in NYC serve the city's best grab-and-go grub.

Written by
Victoria Marin
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For a city that pulsates with as much on-the-go energy as New York, it only makes sense that food trucks—NYC’s meals-on-wheels once limited to slinging simple fare like burgers and hot dogs—have started rivaling Gotham’s best brick-and-mortar restaurants.

With pristine seafood, fresh-fried falafel, juicy burgers and a plethora of other mouthwatering bites, most of their moderately priced plates are also our favorite cheap eats. Some roam the streets while others park it for good—here's where to find the best food trucks in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best street food in New York

Best food trucks in NYC

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Elmhurst

One of the absolute best-kept secrets (though judging by the long lines, the word got out a long time ago) in NYC is Birrialandia in Jackson Heights, where an entire household will eat heartily and happily for less than $50. The tidy menu includes just four items, all of which are a variation of the same things: tortillas and birria, a chili-based beef stew that originated in Mexico, sometimes topped with cheese and/or garnished with onions and cilantro, depending on the dish.

In a city renown for its delis, Disos manages to not only compete but to do so from the confines of a food truck that’s constantly on the move. The hearty sandwiches are offered in full and half size portions, on your choice of bread, and categorized by bases: prosciutto, salami, Italian meats or veggies. Meat lovers, try the Don Vitone (prosciutto, soppressata, fresh mozzarella, sweet roasted peppers, olive tapenade); vegetarians, go for the Nicky Guns (broccoli rabe, sautéed eggplant, fresh mozzarella, glazed balsamic).

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  • Restaurants
  • Hamburgers
  • Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

Formerly parked in tucked-away Mill Basin, Brooklyn, this serious burger truck quickly achieved 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 triple-stacked burgers from a quaint block in Kensington. Get 'em hot with free raw or grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles and jalapenos, or pony up an extra $1.75 for a helping of crisp bacon.

  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • Astoria
  • price 1 of 4

Boasting “only the finest and most authentic Greek street food, outside of Greece,” King Souvlaki trucks have been bringing fire-roasted Mediterranean flavors to NYC boroughs for over 40 years. If you’re lucky enough to live or work close by, grab one of the fork-dependent fully loaded platters, but if you’re on the move (with no time or place to sit), go for the souvlaki on a stick (pork or chicken).

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant

While Chilo’s isn’t exactly mobile, it stays put in the space behind a bar that sits on the corner of Clifton and Franklin in Bed Stuy, it is literally a food truck, so it definitely qualifies for this list. Grab a frozen margarita on your way out to the truck, then sit back, relax and sip as you wait for your choice of generously laden tacos, tortas and tostadas to be made to order. Real ones know to load up on the avocado crema for dressing and dipping.

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  • Restaurants
  • Street food
  • Astoria
  • price 1 of 4

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 roving truck since the early aughts. While the Manhattan cart and Queens truck continue to operate seprately, his brick-and-mortar 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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  • Restaurants
  • Midtown West
  • price 1 of 4

Often imitated but never replicated, Halal Guys have become a critical component of midtown, often causing a line to form down the block. Order the chicken platter over rice, with plenty of white and hot sauces, or grab a lamb gyro. The food really is that good, so you won't be sorry you waited.

Taïm Mobile
  • Restaurants
  • Trucks
  • Civic Center
  • price 1 of 4

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 Taïm location, like the traditional green falafel and the date-lime banana smoothie, plus tabouli flecked with plenty of peppery chopped parsley.

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  • Restaurants
  • Belgian
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

This uber popular Belgian truck slings warm and toasty waffles stacked with a slew of sweet toppings like speculoos cookie spread, fresh strawberries, Belgian-style chocolate sauce, and classic maple syrup. Wash them down with a cup of Belgian hot chocolate or custom Brooklyn Roasting Company coffee.

  • Restaurants
  • Trucks
  • Astoria
  • price 1 of 4

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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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Midtown West
  • price 1 of 4

Sure, the name isn’t that conducive for a spur-of-the-moment iPhone search, but Mysttik hits the spot if you're looking for a filling biryani (rice bowl) with veggies or chicken. Add some naan, and top it off with cilantro, hot sauce or yogurt garnish. Other dishes include chicken tikka or chickpea masala, gobi aloo (potato and cabbage in cumin) and chicken lazeeza (garlic, onion and tomato).

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