Food Trucks – the New Way to Eat in Europe

food truck

In a move away from conventional restaurants, food trucks are offering some of the most creative food in southern Europe.

Food trucks centre on providing customers with quick, appetising and filling fare at a reasonable price. This trend began in the US around the 1950s but really took off during the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Since then, the craze has crossed the Atlantic and is now thriving in the streets of European cities.

Today, a lack of capital for buying and running restaurants – plus the upsurge in repurposing for environmental reasons and the advent of cost-effective marketing through social media – has inspired a raft of young and creative chefs to upcycle trucks, buses and vans into kerb-side culinary destinations.

Why are food trucks so popular?

There are many reasons why this trend is taking southern Europe by storm.

- Food trucks are literal movable feasts. You can find them on street corners, at festivals, in marketplaces... wherever the crowds go, food trucks can go too.

- Dishes are quickly cooked or assembled on the spot, so food trucks are convenient outlets if you’re short on time.

- Thanks to lower start-up and operating costs, food trucks can serve up gourmet fare without the gourmet prices.

- Food trucks bring people together and allow them to try new dishes and fresh flavours.

- Up-and-coming chefs see food trucks as a way to realise their dreams, so buying from them is a fantastic way to support their aspirations.

- As some food trucks focus on one form of cuisine, they can safely, quickly and easily cater to people with vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or allergy-aware diets.

What do food trucks serve?

The food-truck boom really took off when two entrepreneurial chefs in Los Angeles cooked up a combination of Korean BBQ and Mexican tacos that was mouth-watering, cheap and quick to make. To this day, chefs all over Europe are using their creativity and talent to produce fusion foods for hungry customers. The potential for new hybrid cuisines and gourmet twists is endless.

Along with street-food staples like pizza, burgers and burritos, West African cuisine – using the superfoods millet and fonio (similar to couscous) – is enjoying increasing popularity. Banh mi sandwiches, lobster rolls, sushi and crêpes with sweet or savoury toppings are other sought-after options. People with a sweet tooth can get their fix too, as cupcakes, brownies and artisan ice creams are all to be found on food-truck menus.

Where can I find a food truck?

While food trucks may have started life catering to workers on busy city streets, they have long been part of festivals and other outdoor events. These days, you’re just as likely to find them at shopping malls, airports, private parties and waiting patiently outside clubs around closing time. Established restaurants are also taking advantage of the trend, using food trucks to test out new dishes and reaching more diners.

(*) Average meal price calculated on the basis of starter and main course or main course and dessert, excluding drinks, menu and promotional offers. The average price is an estimate only, calculated according to the prices provided by the restaurant. Depending on the country, the average price may or may not include all taxes.