I was watching Jon Favreau’s movie, Chef, (an underrated gem for all foodies, by the way) the other day when I realised that if I turned to my wife 10 years ago and said, “Let’s go to the food truck down the road for dinner tonight,” she would probably question who she had married.

Then, food trucks simply weren’t considered sophisticated or worthy of a night out. They had a school sports day reputation that they couldn’t quite shake off – boiled viennas, Fizzers and hot chips swimming in vinegar. As emotionally attached as we are to these foods, they are irresponsible meals. And so, the lovably greasy food truck was forced to evolve.

Perhaps it was rising rental prices or those pesky millennials and their on-demand economy that led to the move. Or maybe it was both. Whatever the reason, food trucks have changed, and for the better. They’re bringing good food to music festivals, weekend markets and office parks. Here are some of my favourites from around the country.

The Filthy Moustache (Johannesburg)

(source: twitter.com)

The secret to running a successful food truck business is sticking to a few dishes and executing them perfectly. The Filthy Moustache does this well. It serves traditional food truck fare, but with an artisanal twist. Imagine burgers and hot dogs with freshly baked rolls and buns, caramelised onions, homemade beef patties and Danish feta cheese. The burgers and hot dogs are always dripping in a variety of condiments because you haven’t really eaten at The Filthy Moustache if you don’t need a fresh T-shirt afterwards.

Try: The New Guy Gourmet Dog. You’ll wonder why hot dogs haven’t been gourmet all along.

TacoKombi (Pretoria)

(source: foodtruckinsa.co.za)

The Mexican food trend hasn’t really taken off in Pretoria. So Valjean Joubert and his wife, Christine, took it upon themselves to change this after they spent a three-month working holiday in California. They retrofitted an old Volkswagen Kombi and started livening up the conservative taste buds of the capital city. You can find TacoKombi at the Hazel Food Market every Saturday serving Mexican classics like tacos, burritos and nachos. And Valjean and Christine make their own soft-shell flour tortillas. And that gets points for authenticity.

Try: The Baha-style fish tacos. Three words: beer-battered hake.

Naked Bones (Durban)

(source: nakedbones.co.za)

Fans of Naked Bones often describe it as Nandos on wheels, which I think is a gross oversimplification of an establishment that deserves fame on its own merits. Portuguese chicken for PJ Davis (the man behind Naked Bones) is a childhood love whose flame was lit by his father, who religiously cooked peri-peri chicken for his family. PJ gave up the rat race and decided to finally share his father’s tear-jerking (perhaps literally) recipe with the rest of KZN. Now you can even buy Naked Bones marinated chicken products at selected outlets and prepare them for yourself at home. Eat that, Nandos.

Try: The Full Monty. It’s a full chicken, chips, coleslaw and rotis. What more could you want?

Lotus Food Truck (Cape Town)

(source: capetownwedding.co.za)

The Lotus Food Truck proves that street food can be guilt-free. It serves contemporary Asian dishes at a variety of Cape Town food truck events, music festivals and, believe it or not, weddings. This food truck has catered for up to 180 guests serving a seven-course tasting menu. The dishes are simple, fresh and healthy – all food trends that patrons currently adore. You can find it at Salt River Arcade during the week or the Ultra and Rocking the Daisies music festivals.

Try: The yellowfin tuna tataki. If you’re moved to tears (and you will be), tell everyone you always cry at weddings.

Bar Di Bar (Cape Winelands)

(source: insideguide.co.za)

This one’s technically not a food truck but stay with me and I promise I’ll get back to food somehow. Bar Di Bar is probably South Africa’s only craft beer truck. Craft beer has skyrocketed in popularity in South Africa and what better way to take advantage of this than to bring it directly to the people? Bar Di Bar drives around to corporate events, milestone birthdays and festivals with a constantly rotating selection of local and international craft beers on tap. There is also a restaurant of the same name on the Laborie Wine Estate in Paarl that serves honest-to-goodness breakfast food and lip-smacking burgers. See? I told you I’d get back to food eventually.

Try: The Devils Peak Golden Light Ale if it’s in stock. It almost commands you to put up your feet while you enjoy it. 

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Author : Rudi Badenhorst

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