These food trucks stand out with fusion cuisine and global influence
Tacos, pizza, burgers and sandwiches are the to-go for food truck cuisine because they are affordable, easy to make and even easier to eat while standing at an event or walking down the street.
Restaurants are even cutting in on the mobile dining business. I've seen food trucks for Chicken Shack, El Charro and a MotorCity Casino Hotel one, whichserves smoked chicken wings, loaded fries and kebabs.
It seems a little unfair to hone in on independent food buskers when they’ve already got customers at brick and mortar businesses, but it’s a testament to how attractive the mobile food business can be.
As the food truck model continues to grow, we're seeing the food get more and more unique. Think fusion fare, cuisine from across the globe and creative spins on classic dishes.
Here are a few picks for some of Metro Detroit’s more distinctive food trucks that can be found around town this spring and summer.
Simply Spanish: Have you ever wanted to order paella in a restaurant or cook it at home, but hesitated because it it’s so time-intensive? Let chef Xavi Vitali take the reins. He makes the flavorful rice dish in the style of his native Valencia, Spain. Simply Spanish started as a food truck in the Ann Arbor area in 2013, but recently started branching out to the Detroit and Lansing areas. Vitali tells me there’s no interested in turning Simply Spanish into a brick and mortar business, saying they would feel tied down and they prefer being mobile. The paella train stops at the Northville Winery and Brewing Company tonight 6-10 and June 19 at Urbanrest Brewing in Ferndale. facebook.com/simplyspanisha2.
TruckShuka: Chef Benji Benoliel specializes in Israeli street food and the star of the show here is a lunch you can feel good about, healthy shakshuka. It's a poached egg dish made with tomato sauce and Middle Eastern spices. Benoliel serves it with a char-grilled pita bread to soak up all the flavors. TruckShuka also serves chicken shawarma, hummus and sabich, Israeli pita stuffed with roasted eggplant, hard-boiled egg, vegetables and sauces. Find TruckShuka downtown at lunchtime at Beacon Park Thursday and Cadillac Square Friday. Visit truckshuka.com for a full menu and schedule.
Nu Deli: This gorgeous paisley truck makes lunch food with Indian-centric spices. A panini-pressed vegetarian sandwich called Nu Veggie Tikka with tandoori spices is a super spin. Dare to eat differently with the Nu Tuna, an albacore tuna spread tossed with cilantro-mint chutney and mayo with spiced potato chips on toasted rye. Nu Deli, which also has a spin on grilled cheese, hot dogs, a reuben and even egg salad, is the brainchild of Matt Daniels and Meghana Shrivastava, who came up with the idea while working at a restaurant in Bombay. Daniels – who said they “thought of the pun and went from there” – is a Southfield native who returned to Detroit after 20 years in 2016. Find Nu Deli in Troy today for lunch at Plex Systems, 900 Tower Drive, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Next week Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at lunchtime they’ll be at Spirit Plaza, Beacon Park and Campus Martius, respectively. Visit thenudeli.com for more dates as they are posted.
Drunken Rooster: Another cool fusion is chef Hassan Musselmani’s Middle Eastern and Mexican concept. He puts Middle Eastern spices like za’atar on French fries with Mexican chilis, makes tacos stuffed with pork shawarma and vegetarian mujadara and uses labneh yogurt instead of sour cream. Having grown up with Middle Eastern cooking and trained in kitchens with Mexican chefs, Musselmani is comfortable in both worlds. Look for his colorful truck, which is decked out with work by local artists Phyber and Seks, at the World’s Largest Food Truck Rally during Detroit River Days at West Riverfront Park June 21-23. Musselmani says he also frequents the Northville Winery, which hosts food trucks every Thursday along with a Grateful Dead tribute band. Visit the-drunken-rooster.com.
The Lobster Food Truck: Not a unique idea in some parts of the country, but in Metro Detroit a food truck specializing in lobster is a rare find. This family-operated shack uses its Maine-sourced lobsters for macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches and, of course, lobster rolls. They also have fried lobster bites and non-seafood sides like waffle fries. They seem to be somewhere around town every day but Sundays and Mondays. View the full schedule at thelobsterfoodtruck.com.
Motor City Pasty Co.: Jason Edberg has been doling out this Upper Peninsula favorite all over Metro Detroit since 2016. A native Yooper, Edberg offers the classic pasty stuffed with ground beef, potatoes, carrots and onions, but he also gets crafty with an Italian version and an empanada-like Mexican pocket. The Motor City Pasty Co. is one of the busiest food trucks we’ve seen. In the next week find it in Frankenmuth, Farmington Hills, Wixom, Warren and Ferndale, including the Warren Farmers Market on Sunday. Visit facebook.com/motorcitypasty for a schedule.
Toaster Truck Detroit: These mobile units aren’t just for lunching. This new-ish truck specializes in breakfast, too with freshly brewed Great Lakes Coffee and an array of crunchy gourmet toasts. There’s avocado, duh, which is served with sririacha and eggs as well as an avo and turkey variety. Along with savory options, the Toaster Truck Detroit has sweet toasts topped with peanut butter and banana or s’mores. Keep an eye on toastertruckdetroit.com for upcoming appearances.