American Meltdown

A classic grilled cheese sandwich, Kraft singles and all, has the Proustian capacity to evoke memories of childhood. But sometimes adulthood needs its own grilled cheesesand that’s where American Meltdown excels. The menu combines fancy cheeses (like chevre, Gouda, Havarti, or Manchego) with surprising fruits, herbs, meat, and sauces and grill it all between slices of locally baked bread from Guglhupf. The truck’s true secret lies not on the sandwich menu but on the list of sides: the fried Brussels sprouts absolutely steal the show. Iza Wojciechowska

Bo’s Kitchen

There’s no fusion at Bo’s. The focused menu features homespun Korean recipes, incorporating sharp kimchi and velvety gochujang where it counts. The truck bills itself as authentic, and it’s hard to argue that its no-fuss approach is anything but that. The mandu are a treat­loose dumplings wrapped around your choice of meat (pork is a must-try). ­Victoria Bouloubasis

Boricua Soul

The family behind Boricua Soul is unabashedly pushing for nuance in its self-proclaimed Puerto Rican-inspired soul food. Which is why this soul has heart. The chefs have a flair for combining historic ingredients of their African and Carribean roots with nouveau Southern-Latino methods of cooking. To start, try a few of their creative empanadas, like the BBQ stuffed with a slow-roasted Eastern Carolina-style pork or the Green Beans and Queso with collards, queso fresco, black-eyed peas, and black beans. Your brain may not know what to do with this mismatch, but your palate will be delighted. ­Victoria Bouloubasis


Chirba Chirba Dumplings

The school bus-yellow truck with the chubby cartoon dumpling is parked most weekends at Fullsteam Brewery. If you haven’t yet been, you’ve probably heard about it. Chirba Chirba has won best food truck in our annual “Best of the Triangle” awardsfour years in a row. The name translates as “Eat! Eat!” in Mandarin, but in a way a grandma would say, a firm, but loving, mandate. Their dumplings are similarly cozy. Grass-fed beef with red curry. Garlicky collards with tofu. Pork with cabbage and chives. Pick one or all, then pair with their signature dipping sauces. You have your choice of four, from traditional black vinegar to sweet and sour pineapple curry. Emma Laperruque

Mama’s Hot Chicken

I did not want to like this truck. There is no mama to be seen, and the chicken is not, in fact, real hot chicken, the kind birthed in Nashville. But when you’re a chicken tender fiend, it’s incredibly difficult not to try one. And so I did. The plump tenders come in a thin paper box patterned in red stripes. They lie upon a pile of fries, with containers of crunchy cole slaw, honey mustard, and ketchup to the side. The trio of giant tenders is hot, as in temperature, and mild, as in spice level. If you like real hot chicken, go for the spiciest level. The appeal to this chicken is how juicy it is, fried on the spot to satisfy that tender hankering. ­Victoria Bouloubasis

Pho Nomenal Dumplings

As the name indicates, Pho Nomenal Dumplings likes to have fun with their food. You say sloppy joe, they think Korean bulgogi. And hey, why not throw some Cheerwine into the marinade? Slap it on a buttery Hawaiian bun, add some kimchi and spicy mayo. This playful innovation appears all over the menu, like the Taiwanese spaghetti and corn dog banh mi. Then there are the classics, like the namesake beef pho and pork dumplings. After owners Sunny Lin and Sophia Woo won season six of the Food Network’s The Great American Food Truck Race, they put the $50,000 prize toward their first restaurant, MOFU Shoppe, which is slated to open early this summer. The truck will only be at special events the rest of the year, picking up full service in 2018. Emma Laperruque


Pie Pushers

Sure, you can get Pie Pushers whenever you want at their location on West Main Street in Durham. But there’s something about that truckwell, technically, trailer. Mike Hacker and Becky Cascio serve what they term “Durham-style” pizza by the slice or whole pie. This means hand-tossed, thin crust, and seasonal ingredients, with combinations that never take themselves too seriously. Find them outside Ponysaurus, say, and they get real punny, like the “spinasaurus” (spinach, feta, garlic) or “marghedactyl” (pesto, tomatoes, goat cheese). Add in chicken wings, garlic knots, and Caesar salad for good measure. Plus, at the Saturday Durham farmers market they sling amazing biscuits from the pizza oven. ­Emma Laperruque

Soomsoom Pita Pockets

I am nothing if not a sucker for various breakfast sandwiches, so the promise of a shakshuka pita pocket, stuffed with cooked eggs, tomatoes, and tahini, lured me to Soomsoom one morning after the Durham farmers market. But a rotating cast of pitas filled with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean ingredients like lamb, grilled eggplant, tzatziki, and hummus has made Soomsoom one of my favorites on the food truck scene. After living in places where shawarma in pita is a street food staple (Turkey, then New York City), I appreciated finding the same thing in a new iteration when I moved here. Soomsoom takes pride in keeping its flavors authentic and uses local, fresh ingredients. An added bonus: its pita bread is made by Chapel Hill’s beloved Mediterranean Deli. Iza Wojciechowska

Taquito Del Oro

Intersection of Miami Boulevard and Holloway Street, Durham

One-dollar tacos on handmade tortillas are a good enough reason to try Taquito del Oro. And, as the name suggests, they are golden. And the value doesn’t skimp on flavor. The al pastor is some of the best in townan uncomplicated rendition (and not greasy) made right by equally simple salsas. Standing outside a gas station offers interesting conversations, too. Not only did my tacos console me on election night last year, but so did the Vietnam veteran who promised we could fight this together. Victoria Bouloubasis

Thai Box Zing

Flavors from Thailand and Laos merge on the menu at Thai Box Zing food truck, a two-year-old Raleigh business run by husband-and-wife team Andy and Sophia Luangkhot. You’ve never had Thai food like this before. The dishes highlight fresh herbs, pungent sauces, deeply flavorful spices, and an elevated understanding of how to marry the two countries’ vast cuisines. Drawing from a life of making and perfecting food (Andy helped his mom as a kid with her pop-up dinners), the Luangkhots have carved out a spot as one of the best Southeast Asian food vendors in the whole Triangle. Try their unforgettable red curry for yourself; soon you’ll be preaching, too. Sayaka Matsuoka