Do tacos taste better on wheels? Are burgers superior when they’re served from a window? Does barbecue hit different when it’s smoked in a 10-by-14-foot kitchen on the side of the road?
Given the amount of food truck festivals that have been popping up around the state lately, they just might.
The rise of the food truck
Food trucks have been a public-pleasing phenomenon since Oscar Meyer launched the first one in 1936. In the 21st century, however, grub-mobiles are the name of the game. Attend a Little League game, take a dip at a public pool or drive more than 40 minutes in the same direction and you’re sure to find someone selling scoops, dogs or mozzarella sticks from a van.
And in the summertime? They all get together and pow-wow it out in local fields.
Finding North Jersey’s best food trucks
Now, we don’t have a problem with food trucks. In fact, we love them — especially when they give local home chefs, like Sal Graci of Uncle Sal’s Egg Rolls, the chance to pursue their passion projects (check out that out here).
Our problem lies in which food trucks to hit when 17 of them get together in a parking lot and duke it out for our monetary votes.
Last week, therefore, we turned to our followers at @northjerseyeats to figure out which North Jersey food trucks they think reign supreme.
Here are five recommendations that caught our eye.
The Mozzarella God
Sent to us by Instagram user Danitza Reyes, The Mozzarella God is a highly-decorated food truck known for serving mozzarella — in a bunch of different ways. A few years ago, the truck won the gold medal in the Hoboken “Mutzfest” and has since been popping up all over the state. Some of the team’s signature dishes include “Chicken Vodka Parm with Fried Mozzarella,” the “Don Vito” grilled cheese with prosciutto and the “Paisano” caprese salad.
After seeing a few pictures of the God’s cheesy dishes on social media, we determined we had to try them. We are meeting the truck, therefore, in Morris County in a few weeks — so stay tuned on our NorthJerseyEats IG for updates.
RainBao Food Truck
Recommended to us by Instagram user Julie Contino, RainBao Food Truck is a Hawthorne-based food truck committed to serving “bao buns with a southern twist.” In varieties from “Pork Belly” to “Brisket” (and even a “Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese”), the mobile operation’s buns are both colorful in aesthetic and creative in flavor.
As for taste? We haven’t tried them yet, but the truck was a recent fan-favorite at the popular Dream Food Fest, and, according to owner Danielle Brooks, her “Fried Chicken Bao” boasts the “best fried chicken you’ll ever have.”
Uncle Sal’s Gourmet Egg Rolls
As aforementioned, we’re big fans of Uncle Sal’s Egg Rolls, so we couldn’t agree more with our Instagram friend Ryan Barreto, who recommended the truck as one of his favorites in Jersey. With flavors from “Mexican Street Corn” to “Spinach and Artichoke” (with “Reuben,” “Philly Cheesesteak” and “Big Mac” in between), every roll home-chef Sal Graci fries up is delicious.
Recently, Sal’s did a collaboration roll, the “Meatball Parm,” with esteemed Montclair pizza spot Brick + Dough. The garlic butter-dipped treat was not only tasty, but also a testament to the chef’s culinary skill and industry connections. Enjoying a roll from Sal’s, in our opinion, feels more like indulging in an appetizer at a nice restaurant than downing fast food from a window.
E & S Original Steak N Take
Parked, for as long as we can tell, on Elizabeth Ave., E & S Original Steak N Take is a Newark staple. Though we had already had the truck on our radar for its giant cheesesteak sandwiches, Instagram user Jacqueline Mosquera sent it to the top of our hit-next list by recommending its fried catfish and whiting. According to Mosquera the fried fish is “masterful.”
Other items on the E & S’ menu include “Fried Shrimp,” “Lava Wings” and “Italian Hot Dogs,” and, rumor has it, they used to sell “Bean Pie” for dessert. If the latter is still on the menu, we’re definitely going to pick one up on our upcoming visit.
Chase the truck: Parked at 224 Elizabeth Avenue in Newark, facebook.com/ESOSteakNTake
El Chilango Taqueria
Whereas the Wienermobile once ruled the mobile grub game, we’d venture to say that tacos have overthrown the hot dog as the most popular food truck item (though burgers or barbecue may come close). It’s only fitting, then, that we close the list with El Chilango, a Jersey City-based taqueira on wheels.
Sent to us by Instagram user Rosalia Del Guercio, El Chilango specializes in authentic Mexican dishes such as sopes, quesadillas, chilaquiles and more. Their signature tacos are available with meats from shrimp to pork, and in heat levels from mild to spicy (picante). According to its social media fans, like Facebook user Erika Dace, the truck serves “the BEST Mexican food in New Jersey.”