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Non-gourmet Food Trucks

Let me preface to say that I love all the gourmet food trucks that are now available around Boston. While it's not quite at the level of say Portland, OR or NYC, NY, in the last year and a half it has definitely exploded and we are getting some fine quality food at decent prices in Boston.

However, and maybe I'm alone on this, but I would really love to see some non-gourmet food trucks pop up. Sometimes when I go to SOWA or am walking around Boston, I really just want a $3 chicken kabob or $5 gyro. Maybe I'm wrong in thinking these type of food trucks don't exist in Boston, but I definitely have not seen them. Would it be that bad for a Halal truck from NYC to come to Boston every once in a while and treat us with cheap chicken and rice? Or maybe those Puerto Rican and Mexican trucks that are parked in New Haven across from the IKEA can do some weekday sales in the Commons. I mean, it may not be gourmet food, but those trucks have some of the best food truck food I've ever tasted. AND CHEAP!

Anyway, if you know of a good taco stand or gyro guy around the city, please let me know and I'll keep up my search and will post any non-gourmet food trucks I find.

(PS, I am aware that there are plenty of hot dogs/sausage and hot roasted peanut stands around, and while good from time to time, not quite what I'm talking about.)

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  1. $4.50 bun ga nuong at the Momogoose truck (fka Goosebeary's). Carleton Street Cambridge next to the Kendall/MIT inbound entrance. Great for the price. All you can pump free sambal oelek. Everything else there generally sucks.

    In terms of legitimate food trucks that aren't a shitty cash grab riding the food truck trend... there aren't many and they aren't very good. A halal cart/truck would be great

    1. Walking around Boston yesterday I noticed by Peter's Park on Washington St in the South End a food cart selling hot dogs. I was thirsty from pushing around my son and his stroller all afternoon, so I wanted to grab a water. The wonderful lady working there told me she had empenadas ($1) but was sold out of BBQ Skewers ($3). I asked if those were "pinchon" and she said yes. She'll be at Peters Park most weekends and daily starting in April. I will have to walk by earlier on a weekend to check it out. I did try an empenadas and while small, pretty tasty and beefy.

      1. Years ago when I worked in Harvard Yard, there used to be a great cheap felafel truck that hung on Oxford St. But it's been gone for a long time now. Now we have lobster rolls and overpriced cupcakes instead. So I feel your pain. But I'm probably one of the few here who actually kind of miss Elsie's sandwich shop

        2 Replies
        1. re: Moopheus

          I'm still digesting pastrami from Elsie's. Loved that place.

          1. re: Chef Bwana

            OY! You had to mention Elsie's. Thanks. I loved that place. It was all good. I haven't found a sandwich place that good since.
            I Always Enjoyed,
            CocoDan

        2. I don't get by Longwood Medical Area much, but noticed a truck with a sign that said "Savoury Foods" or something like that, directly across Ave Louis Pasteur from the Sami's mobile home / cart.

          My generally-unreliable first instincts suggest that this would be on par with one of the very bad American-Chinese trucks that lurk near the M.I.T. campus. I remember a Yang's Chinese Kitchen truck once parked in this same spot -- it or one like it also used to park on Oxford Street near Harvard Square -- but I'm not sure if this is the same thing or another vendor. Has anyone tried it?

          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

          4 Replies
          1. re: MC Slim JB

            I've tried it several times with high hopes and thought it was horrible. And I love good bad American Chinese food from a food truck. But this stuff was bad bad. Everything is lukewarm, gloppy, greasy, either too salty or too bland, and just bad. I threw away most dishes after eating half.

            It normally hangs around Avenue Louis Pasteur behind the Brigham but recently has started popping up behind MGH as well.

            1. re: Mike5966

              Stick to the daily specials, and it's OK. If you go with the standard bad Chinese, it's...you're right...pretty awful. They have a spicy ground pork dish on rice or noodles as a special often that's quite god. I also like their chicken teryaki.

              1. re: kimfair1

                Got that pork dish yesterday. Taiwan minced pork with vegetables. I had mine over fried noodles. My favorite dish there.

            2. re: MC Slim JB

              I still see a Chinese truck on Oxford Street, and considered posting about it but wasn't sure if it was a food truck or just for catering. Sounds like we mean the same one.

            3. The Chinese truck in front of Tech Square on Main in Cambridge has some decent stuff. You just have to stick to the thoroughly Chinese things and far from anything with an indication of American influence. I usually get the Chongqing dry-hot chicken. No sichuan peppercorns, but otherwise it's fine. At least it doesn't try to be something it's not, and it steers clear of the salty cornstarch water that most Chinese food trucks consider a "sauce."

              1. Well, looks like this was in the works already:

                http://bostonrestaurants.blogspot.com...

                I hope it's as good as the Halal Guys in NYC.

                1. There's a guy who sells Chicken Kabobs right by the State Street T station (I think they have another location outside of Macys). Good food, reasonable price, outrageously good garlic dressing - almost criminal how good it is.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mikeinboston

                    I think that's Karo's, very good.

                    There was a recent thread about a number of new food carts opening in April. I'll see if I can find it.

                    eta...http://www.cityofboston.gov/business/...

                    1. re: mikeinboston

                      Funny you should mention Karo's BBQ cart. I love it and pointed it out to my husband on the way by today. We didn't come back that way and decided to have lunch at Trade to give it a try or we would have bought a couple of meals to take home.

                      Penny
                      http://www.bostonzest.com/

                    2. I wish they'd have street carts selling $1 beef/lamb/chicken bbq skewers like in Flushing chinatown. It wish they have those $1 taco al pastor or baja style fish tacos like in San Diego or Atlanta. Yes I can only wish.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: joebloe

                        They've got those skewers at One of The Kind at the HK food court... though I think they're $2 and you don't get that smoke in your face.

                        1. re: joebloe

                          So what you are saying is that the Hong Kong needs a food cart?

                        2. $6 got me a pulled pork sandwich from BBQ Smith. It was excellent...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: pang

                            I couldn't disagree more on the BBQ Smith pulled pork sandwich. It looks great, but it's the least flavorful pulled pork I've ever had.

                            1. re: mkfisher

                              Get Clover all over. 5 bucks and change will get you a tasty and hefty sandwich. 3 bucks more for some rosemary fries-- tell them easy on the salt. Perfect, I'd say.

                          2. Just wanted to update and say that I've been to The Chicken and Rice Guys food truck a couple of times and have been very, very happy and satisfied. While they aren't quite on the level of NYC 53rd and 6th, they do make a damn good chicken and rice (also lamb) platter for only $6. The white sauce is pretty darn good (kinda ranch-y) and their hot sauce is definitely for persons who like it ultra spicy. Add to that the fact that the people running this truck are really nice and friendly will make me a customer as along as they are around. (Truck issues and changing schedule and some what light lines make me dubious on how long they will last, but I'm gonna try to help them out as much as I can.)

                            On the opposite side, I had a very bad experience at The Chubby Chickpea. Long, long line during lunch time. We waited nearly 45 minutes to order and get our food. I was on my day off so I didn't care, but my wife's lunch hour was basically wiped out just waiting for this not-so-great/not-really-fresh food. I got the shawarma and it was the typical lamb/beef patty you see around Boston. Possibly frozen and just thrown on the hot plate. Can't confirm that, but it tasted like it was. The pita roll up was just too much and it was swimming in sauce. My wife got the falafal platter and it wasn't a bad price at all, just wasn't that tasty and a bit dry. Maybe it was an off day and that's why the long wait and slow service, but really, it's lunch time in Back Bay, you really should know how to do quick service to get people back to their offices.

                            Finally, I think Bon Me gets praised on a bit too much. The people are always friendly but the food varies from meh to better than average for me. I know it's not suppose to be authentic Vietnamese food and maybe that's my fault for expecting/wanting it to be every time I order it. I definitely think the Boston food scene is better for having Bon Me around, I just wish (to my eyes and tastes) that the food was like what you would get from a Vietnamese food stand. And I wish the price was $1-$2 less. (Obviously I can always go to New Saigon Sandwich and get what I want for half the cost, but sometimes I can't go to Chinatown or am too lazy to walk from SOWA to Chinatown.)

                            Pretty excited to try The Taco Truck this weekend at SOWA.