Mark Shimada

Food Trucks in the US: Restaurants on Wheels

Imagine this: you’re on a street and can smell the food cooking in the air. People are happy and talking. You can see colorful ‘food trucks’ on the streets. 

In fact, where I worked in the US, food trucks came to us. With restaurants a 15 minute drive away and infrequent bus availability, food trucks were a fun way to have lunch with coworkers. 

Food Truck Talk 

When you go to a food truck, you might hear some special English words like ‘foodie’ and more. Learning and using these words will give you that extra advantage to really enjoy this unique cultural experience. 

  • foodie: Someone who really loves food and enjoys trying different kinds of dishes from various places. Example: She’s a foodie and knows where all the best food trucks are.

  • food truck rally: A big event where many food trucks come together in one place to offer their special foods to everyone. Example: Wanna go to a food truck rally this weekend?

  • mobile kitchen: Another way to say ‘food truck,’ highlighting that it can cook and serve food while moving around. Example: Do you think it’s easier to shop for groceries with a mobile kitchen?

  • food truck court: A space where multiple food trucks are parked close to each other, often with seats for people to eat. Example: I meet you at the food truck court.

  • chefpreneur: A mix of ‘chef’ and ‘entrepreneur,’ describing chefs who run their own food truck businesses. Example: Instead of working at a restaurant, she’s a chefpreneur.

  • specialty: The most special and favorite dish that a particular food truck is known for. Example: The food truck’s specialty is European dips for french fries.

  • menu board: A board that shows all the foods available to order and how much they cost. Example: The menu board is on the side of the truck.

  • order up!: A shout from the cook to let everyone know that the food is ready to eat. Example: I just heard ‘order up,’ so you can pick up your food now.

  • locally sourced: Ingredients that come from nearby places, supporting local producers. Example: I prefer this food truck because their food is locally sourced.

  • on-the-go dining: Getting food from a food truck without sitting down like in a regular restaurant. Example: Let’s get on-the-go dining and eat in a park.

  • street food: Food that's common on the streets, often found from food trucks parked on the street or vendor booths on the street. Example: Let’s get some street food before the movie.

What’s Interesting about Food Trucks 

Food trucks first appeared in the 1800s in the US, serving quick meals to people who were working. Now, they have become a cool way for chefs to share their tasty food with people everywhere.

There were 121 food trucks in a parade In Tampa, Florida in 2014. Before the parade, there was a food truck rally at the fairgrounds there in Tampa.  

Food trucks offer a lot of different types of food. You can find trucks that serve food from all over the world. Chefpreneurs like to try new things and make food that is not only delicious but also different.

Many cities offer food truck events offering restricted areas for drinking and even live music. Whatever city you arrive in, google to see where and when they operate so you can experience something outside of the more popular tourist attractions.

Ice cream trucks were the first food truck in the 1950s in the US. These colorful and musical trucks driving down neighborhood streets called children to come and buy an ice cream.

Tasting the Joy of Food Trucks 

If you ever see a food truck on the street somewhere, make sure you don’t miss it. It's not only about eating; it's about enjoying the flavors, the atmosphere, and the experience. 

Food trucks are a special part of American culture, and they are ready to serve you some amazing food and memories. Learn to use the words and phrases unique to food trucks, and people will savor your story and wish they were there with you.

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