LA’s best food trucks

By Eve Barlow

Eve Barlow is a journalist based in Los Angeles

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In a city where people spend more time in a vehicle than their houses and there’s no such thing as foot traffic, running a food truck can be challenging. You have to have good reason to go out of your way in this sprawling city for a quick, convenient bite – which is why Los Angeles has some of the most inventive, delicious and competitively priced food trucks in the USA. Local writer Eve Barlow tracks down eight of the city’s best moving feasts.

Kogi BBQ

Once upon a time, you didn’t have to travel far to sample this delicious twist on Korean barbecue and Mexican tacos after landing – there used to be a Kogi truck inside LAX. Nowadays, you can catch Kogi’s three trucks travelling from Sherman Oaks in the Valley to Eagle Rock on the East side. The cheap tacos ($2 a pop) feature a variety of toppings from Kogi’s signature short rib to spicy pork or tofu, topped off with zingy salsa verde or chili coleslaw.

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You’ll notice the city’s panache for the pun, and Yeastie Boys – a bagel food truck – might just be the best there is.

Free Range

If you like sustainable, ethically sourced chicken, look no further than LA’s Free Range truck, which caters to both the health conscious and those who know how to treat themselves to some serious waffle action. The breakfast menu includes avocado on toast with ‘over-easy’ (fried on both sides, with a runny yolk) eggs as well as fried chicken with scramble and a biscuit, while lunch options include fried chicken sandwiches, protein plates and chicken sausage, egg and cheese on an English muffin. The truck gets around, from hipster Silverlake to the shoppers’ paradise of Melrose, all the way to Santa Monica.

  • Tuck into a delicious breakfast platter at Free Range.

    Free as a bird

    Dotted around various areas of LA throughout the week, Free Bird’s menu is eclectic, from its famous avocado toast to its honey sriracha free range fried chicken biscuit.

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Yeastie Boys

You’ll notice the city’s panache for the pun, and Yeastie Boys might just be the best there is. Choose your bagel – options include poppy, plain, sesame, cheddar and ‘everything’ – and top with anything from traditional ‘lox’ (smoked salmon with a dill spread) to cucumber and caper pesto. Arrive before midday to avoid the queues – it’s not unusual for favourites to sell out, particularly ‘The Game Over’, which packs in scrambled egg, bacon, tomato, cheese and jalapeno spread. There’s a permanent location in West Hollywood, but nothing beats the thrill of chasing that truck to Silverlake and Downtown.

Taco Zone

If you find yourself in East LA after hours and in need of a clean, reliable taco before bed, seek out Taco Zone. Tucked away in the coolest part of LA (inside a supermarket parking lot, no less), you never know who you might spot queuing up. But it’s the food that’s kept this spot on the tips of East-sider tongues for years. Their veggie tacos are great, but if you’re feeling daring, try the lengua (tongue), buche (pork stomach) and tripas (small intestines). Decorated with band stickers and logos, the truck doesn’t have the airs and graces of more recent additions to LA’s food truck culture, but its familiarity has earned it an army of loyal fans.

  • Check out Mariscos Jalico’s simple, no-frills Mexican cuisine.

    Keep on trucking

    Be sure to try Mariscos Jalico’s shrimp tacos, drenched in lime juice and covered in creamy avocado and delicious salsa.

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  • Yeastie Boys bagels include The Game Over, with bacon, egg, cheese and jalapeno.

    Bite for your right to party

    Think bagels are a New York thing? Think again. Yeastie Boys has some of the most innovative bagels imaginable in locations including West Hollywood and Downtown.

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  • Ditch the diet and try one of many quirky flavours at Cool Haus.

    Did you know…?

    Co-founders Natasha Case and Freya Estrellar come from a design and property background, and for that reason their earliest ice cream flavours were named with an architectural theme.

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When every day is as beautiful as it is in LA, it’s rare that you won’t be in the mood to cool down with an ice cream sandwich. Coolhaus has been making cookies and cream since 2008, when co-founders Natasha Case and Freya Estreller – who both worked in real estate – decided to start naming ice creams after architects. With four trucks throughout LA, you can work your way around flavours from avocado sea salt and brown-butter gingerbread man to dirty mint chip. Bonus: you can eat the wrapper.

Mariscos Jaliscos

An old school Mexican truck specialising in seafood, Mariscos Jalisco has a historic and loyal following in the East-side haven of Boyle Heights. The Dorado de Camaron is their fan favourite – a corn tortilla filled with shrimp and topped with fresh avocado and salsa – but their tostadas with ceviche and octopus are also great. Those who know their LA taco trucks will tell you Mariscos is the best Mexican seafood in town – if not the USA – and its prices are very low.

The Lobos Truck

The Lobos’ waffle fry nachos or ‘wachos’ – criss-cut fries topped with onions, guacamole, blue cheese, bacon, cheese sauce, tomatoes, ranch and house sauce – are a revelation. Of course, there are plenty of burgers to satisfy late-night cravings, including Big Lobo (two quarter pound patties with cheddar, a fried egg and guacamole), while their salted caramel bacon brownie is the stuff of legend. The trucks move from Hollywood to Redondo Beach, so check in online regularly to see where they are.

The Grilled Cheese Truck

These trucks have since taken on the nation, but it all started in LA when the owners entered their cheesy mac and rib melt into the annual Grilled Cheese Invitational and realised just how many people would line up for a childhood classic. There’s no greater comfort food than some rich melted cheese between two slices of toast and this truck offers some less traditional combinations such as smoked barbecue pork, caramelized onions on French bread, and even classic tomato soup with a side of tater tots (deep-fried, grated potatoes). Make room for the smores, too. If you want something melted, this fleet services many locations, from the San Fernando Valley to Marina Del Rey.