Food Truck Fever: How mobile eateries are winning hearts (and stomachs) across the country

Rolling into cities across the country, food trucks have earned legions of loyal fans and curious customers. Though some people may associate the mobile eateries with such standard street-cart fare as hot dogs, the latest breed of food trucks have ventured into all kinds of culinary territory.

Matt Babel explores the food truck options of downtown Toronto. Searching for value, variety and “something that is way off the map,” Babel’s hunt takes him all across the city. And his quest for fun foods turns up a widely different array of gastronomical treats.

Though Babel’s hunt is limited to Toronto, the food truck phenomenon is taking off across the country. But it’s not just passersby who spot the indie operators and line up for a gourmet sandwich or burrito. Social media has boosted the profile of the food trucks in Canada, connecting savvy fans to their favourite rolling restaurants.

There are a number of apps provided by the likes of Yelp and Urbanspoon websites that can put all the food truck intel you need right on your smartphone. As Babel finds out, they take the guesswork out of hunting for a quick meal and help locate the trucks that are currently cooking in your city.

Babel dishes on what makes food trucks so appealing: they provide a great opportunity to sample a little bit of everything, try something unique and eat in the “organic environment” where it’s served. Meaning in the course of a day, Babel can go from crunching fried risotto balls to noshing on beer-battered fish tacos topped with coleslaw to devouring a decadent Red Velvet cupcake.

But perhaps Babel’s most useful discovery is how to properly eat a cupcake, as demonstrated by Alisan Malik, co-owner of  Pretty Sweet, a mobile cupcakery. Malik peels off the paper wrapper, breaks off the bottom and flips it over on top of the icing and voila – a sandwich-style confection that ensures frosting with every bite.

It’s a little unexpected, but that’s what sampling food trucks is all about.