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Are Food Trucks America's Tastiest Export?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 6, 2012 01:11 PM

Food trucks have been fanning out across America, as the graphic above from the National Restaurant Association shows. But they're also starting to span the globe, bringing gustatory delight to Paris and London as artisanal food trucks, such as the Cantine California food truck in Paris, dispense tacos stuffed with organic meat (and brand USA) overseas.

Jordan Feilders started Cantine California in March, and serves from a chocolate brown truck decorated with colloquial American slogans like “Fresh Cut Fries” and “Real Cheese.” “Younger Parisians are really into the New York food scene and the California lifestyle,” he told the New York Times. “There’s a good trans-Atlantic food vibe going on Twitter and Facebook.”

“Among young Parisians," he added, "there is currently no greater praise for cuisine than 'très Brooklyn,' a term that signifies a particularly cool combination of informality, creativity and quality.”

Another example: Le Camion Qui Fume (The Smoking Truck), owned by Kristin Frederick, a California native, serves up a burger with fries for about 10 euros, ($13.) She routinely sells out and has received food blog-attention from Hip Paris, David Lebovitz, Paris by Mouth and Lost in Cheeseland.

Food trucks are also proliferating in London. The Guardian dubbed it ‘mobile food,’ meaning “affordable eats made of fresh, local ingredients. Think the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall philosophy meets taco truck, and you'll start to understand how the scene is shaping up.”

Food-on-wheels purveyors appeared in bulk at Real Street Food Festival held last year over Royal Wedding Weekend, and billed as “a welcome alternative to partaking in Wills and Kate mania.”

According to pursuitist.com, some of the top trucks in London include:

The growth of "meals on wheels" in the U.S. came after the Civil War as cattleman drove huge herds westward giving rise to the chuckwagon. Fast forward to more recent times, and the phenomenon has been spurred by social media, making it easy to find locations, calendars, reviews, menus and sales videos, as well as television with shows like Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race and the Cooking Channel’s Eat St.

Street food isn’t new to Paris or London, but the quality of ingredients, imagination of menus, and improved technology (including savvy use of Twitter and mobile to alert fans to their daily whereabouts) for ‘mobile kitchens’ have raised it to a new level. Food trucks may become the single biggest American-inspired export since entertainment.

“We see it on all the police shows on television,” Parisian Sophie Juteau told the Times while standing in line for Le Camion Qui Fume. “Eating from the ice cream trucks, the hot-dog carts: that is, like, our dream.”

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