Whether you’re traveling on a budget or you have the cash to burn, you’ll pass by a food truck on the street and will want to try it out. The first reason is curiosity. The second is plain old practicality. Aren’t food trucks the easiest places to get your food from? You’ll pass it by the street when you’re on your way to your next tourist destination. You’re hungry but want to eat quickly. So, you’ll line up behind those yuppies in suits and get your fill of a turkey sandwich or if you’re lucky, your eyes will widen in wonder as you realize you’ve taken a bite of the best chicken biryani you’ve tasted.
Are you one of those who make a list of food carts and trucks they want to try when traveling? If you’ve been to New York and didn’t try at least one of those Halal carts and massive pretzels, then know that you’ve missed out on something. That is part of the culture of New York; the same way that weird grilled delicacies are part of the culture of China. You cannot say you’ve visited Beijing if you didn’t eat a grilled insect on a stick.
Locals Invest in Carts, Trucks, and Diners
When visiting a town or city, make it a point to contribute to the local economy. Small-sized businesses such as food trucks, food carts, and diners are the bedrock of the local economy. Entrepreneurs are heavily invested in these food retail businesses because they bring an influx of tourists whenever they can. Locals are also into investing in a fast and casual franchise opportunity. Over time, these franchise businesses become ubiquitous to a town or city.
When you eat in food carts and diners, you’re also helping locals. You’re helping them keep their jobs. In such a horrid time in the market and society, these small businesses need every customer who can walk into their doors.
Cheap and Easy Eats
If you only have three days to roam around Los Angeles, will you waste time waiting in line in restaurants? If you already have some fine dine-in restaurants on your list, call ahead and reserve a table. However, make sure to leave those five-star meals for dinner when all tourist sites are closed for the day. During the day and well into the afternoon, check out the amazing sites of the city. Don’t get hindered by having to find a “good” restaurant. Check out Google and find the nearest diner that can serve you chicken steak and gravy.
The best part about food trucks and diners is the price. Their prices don’t burn a hole in your pocket. You can get a filling meal for less than $10. How cool is that? You can use the extra money you save for a nice dinner in a five-star restaurant. And in some ways, these little diners and food trucks serve better food than nicer restaurants.
Living Like the Locals
Aren’t you curious about how locals eat and live and drink? There’s nothing other than eating in delis and diners to give you a sense of what it feels like to actually live there. In these places, you will meet a lot of locals; people who make it a point to stop there at least once a day to get a cup of coffee and a stack of pancakes.
If you’re lucky and it’s not too busy, the waiter may even accommodate some of your questions about the town. Where’s the best place to go? How to get there? The information from locals are gems you won’t find in that tourist handbook or any other blog on the internet.
The truth is that these diners and food trucks serve way better food than your average restaurant chain. Many of them serve meals that have been passed on to them by their grandparents. Some of them studied in top culinary schools but decided to open their own food carts because they don’t want to work for anyone else. You can even find some food trucks that sell artisan food; the kind that you won’t see anywhere else. It’s a whole new experience.
Why would you visit Tokyo and not eat in one of its hole-in-the-wall sushi places? Why won’t you try the fried worms being served along the streets of Bangkok? Or the sauerkraut that’s become so popular with Manhattan hotdogs? These places have so much more to offer in terms of food than the average restaurants one is inclined to visit.