17 South African food trucks to get stuck behind
Looking for food that’s fast, fresh and doesn’t cost a fortune? Well don’t bother trying to book a table because there are none. In fact, if you call nobody will answer as the dude serving is also responsible for cooking and his phone is in his apron and goes straight to voicemail (you can, however, use your phone to locate the mobile tracking app, pay for your order using SnapScan, or Instagram your meal). Want to see a menu? Try the blackboard out front, champ. The food truck movement is a street food triumph where carts, vans, trailers, caravans, trikes, stalls and, yes, trucks, have transformed the humble takeaway. Tuck in.
This American-style camper van was the first food truck on our radar, a vehicle responsible for dominating the Oudekraal lot and filling our Twitter stream with breathless tweets applauding the Italian fare (and let's not forget the hash tags like #omnomnom). The scene has gridlocked since then and although it would’ve eventually happened here with or without Limoncello, Luca Castiglione needs to top this list for making the first move and encouraging all those who have followed.
The clincher? The man behind Limoncello, Luca Castiglione, also heads the Food Truck Association, which oversees the food truck scene.
2. Cafeteria Guerilla Gastronomica
Is it possible to dine on seasonal, gourmet comfort foods like Thai curries and braised short ribs for as little as R35? It is if you know where to look. Psst, try First Thursdays on the first Thursday of every month, 73 Kloof Street during the week and the Neighbourgoods Market on Saturdays.
The clincher? The pan-fried mac and cheese. Visit the website.
3. El Burro
If we are to go by a certain corn chip’s much-loved TV ad then apparently in Mexico the Mexican Wave is not big. What we don’t need a packet of chips to tell us is that neither is the rubbish passing as Mexican food around these parts. El Burro solved that problem with their authentic tacos, ceviche and chilli rellenos, and then took their concept to the people via the #Tacovan.
The Clincher? The same guy behind our favourite burger (Royale), party venue (The Assembly), and drinking hole with a library attached to it (The Waiting Room), is responsible for this authentic Mexican fare.
4. Durban’s Finest Curry
If you were in Durban and wanted curry you’d go to either the Brittania Hotel in Umgeni Road or Goundens, obviously, but you’re not, and you know better than to microwave a Woolies Rogan Josh. So what’s a Capetonian with a serious curry jones to do? Well, you’ll be glad to know that there’s a place that does a decent mutton-curry bunny where you don’t have to put up with humidity or Sharks supporters to enjoy it.
The Clincher? Snack on samosas while you wait for your main. Follow them on Twitter here.
5. Detour Espresso Bar
Your local coffee shop is your local coffee shop for a reason: close to home or work, they know your order before you ask for it and there’s that cute barista who always makes that little heart in your flat white... Still, sometimes you need to break from habit, and the Detour Espresso Bar is a destination worth driving for. Even better, and while we’re not about to advocate wearing lycra and riding three abreast along Victoria Road, a leisurely cycle to Oudekraal for a coffee isn’t the worst idea in the world either.
The clincher? Despite how cute the barista at your local is, we'll bet it still doesn’t have views like this.
6. Die Wors-Rol
We’ve had gourmet burgers for a minute now, so it’s about time our favourite phallic-shaped food got an upgrade. Betsy isn’t as easy to lock down as some of the other food trucks on this list, but when you do find her you’ll be glad you did. The gourmet boerewors rolls come with special sauces, thrice-fried chips and a 50s vibe that combines the best bits of Grease and the side of a Yank fighter jet.
The Clincher? The man with the 22cm long foot long, Bertus Basson, is also the man behind South Africa’s top restaurant Overture.
7. Lotus Food Truck
Tasting their braised-beef short rib paired with a Vietnamese coffee is like visiting South East Asia without the side of Dengue Fever. If you’ve attended First Thursdays or visited the Salt River Circle then you’d probably know this already. Kyle Miller’s pork belly wraps, curries, noodles, range of iced teas and Vietnamese coffees have turned us into regulars.
The Clincher? When that stoned guy Clyde works the truck and gives us too much change. Thanks Clyde! Visit their website here.
8. Balkan Burger Bus
The Ivanovic family serve their Serb-burgers out of a big ol’ red truck at the Neighborgoods Market in Braamfontein every Saturday, Fourways Farmers Market on Sundays and Market on Main in Maboneng on those other day ending in Y.
The Clincher? The Balkan Bus has a handlebar moustache bumper. Take our money!
9. Full of Beans
If you’re going to survive the 011 then you’ll need to keep up. Get your daily fix from a Vespa trike that does everything from flat whites to espressos.
The Clincher? The trike sells sandwiches, pastries, cold drinks and snacks, too, so you might as well grab lunch while you’re there. Follow them here.
10. The Tutto Food Co.
This mellow-yellow combi does things like flatbreads with brinjals, hummus and other Middle Eastern (dubbed Afro-Meditteranean) delights, plus paella served from pans that are almost as big as the food truck taking them from A to B(elly).
The Clincher? As nice as some other food trucks are, we’ll always have a special place in our hearts for the humble combi.
11. Didi’s Bitchin Burritos
Competition is a healthy thing, and Didi’s Bitchin Burritos gives El Burro’s #Tacovan a decent run for its money. Offering beef, chicken, breakfast, vegetable and even naked burritos – that’s when they’re served in a bowl without any of the stuff that makes Tim Noakes sad – added to the array of tacos, this is street food done right.
The Clincher? The hot homemade chili sauce.
12. Earthfire Pizza
It’s curious how many brick and mortars get it so wrong when it comes to our favourite snack food, yet this trailer manages to produce a product that is positively gourmet. Think light, crispy bases and fresh toppings.
The Clincher? There’s a range of pizza ovens and accessories available so that you can DIY at home.
13. The Grubbery
Expect New York-style street food like pulled pork sandwiches and cheese burgers, served from a trailerhome at locations as varied as Harrington Street, Oudekraal, the Foreshore, the Neighbourgoods Market, The Old Biscuit Mill, First Thursdays and the parking lot outside of Mercury.
The Clincher? Remember those days when you’d have to risk dysentery by chowing down on a boerewors roll from that guy’s Ford Sierra outside of Mercury? Not any more. @GrubberyTruck.
14. The Good Life
Fresh fusion food, prawn tempura with sumac aioli, designer beef burger with truffle infusion, venison burger with bourbon-poached pears and brie, Thai crab salad wrap, Moroccan chicken and vegetable cous cous pita… Ah yes, The Good Life.
15. Down to Earth Farm Feasts
Part food truck, part pop-up, Dany Krynauw and Danielle Strydom converted a Bedford bus into a vehicle specialising in bespoke feasts and aim to reconnect people with the origins of the food they eat. Focusing on quality local produce served in unconventional settings ranging from strawberry fields to forests, this is real food made real good. (Apologies to the fibbers setting their pants on fire by using this line for their reconstituted meat and MSG laden carbs.)
The Clincher? The theatre of the whole thing. Follow them on Facebook.
16. Treat Frozen Yoghurt
Their pink and white van looks as delicious as the sweet treats inside it. Frozen yoghurt is the specialty here, but if that’s not your poison you’ll be glad to know that there are a host of other things to satisfy your inner fat kid.
The Clincher? With everyone else focusing on savory it’s good to see a modern take on that time-tested favourite, ye olde ice-cream truck. Follow them on Facebook.
Remember that TV ad where entrepreneur Vuyo ends up on a big boat filled with a bevvy of beauties, all off of the back of some boerewors rolls? Miles Kubekha decided to change his life by imitating art, and his fleet of red and white trucks now serves up everything from chicken wings to potjiekos and, yes, boerewors rolls, too.
The Clincher? Fancy yourself the next Vuyo? The brand offers franchise opportunities.