12 must-try Valley-based food trucks
Over the years, food trucks have become increasingly more popular. It’s a less expensive business endeavor than having an actual storefront. There are now over 200 food trucks to choose from in Phoenix serving everything from savory meals to sweet desserts. So, we have narrowed down the selection to the ones we find to be outside of the norm.
I mustache you a question: have you ever eaten a pretzel shaped like a mustache? Now you can! You can go for a traditional pretzel with a side of queso, or if you have a sweet tooth, you can try out a pretzel with cinnamon sugar and a side of Nutella. The idea for the food truck originated from a POW camp. When the owner, Greg Golden, was shot down in his plane over Imperial waters, he woke up in the camp after 47 days at sea. In a haze, he dreamed of returning home to sell mustache-shaped pretzels. Now, he has two food trucks, a kiosk at the Phoenix Convention Center and a storefront at Sky Harbor International Airport.
There are food trucks that are good, and then there are food trucks that are Pho King good. Pho King is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Mike Baum, who graduated from Thunderbird School of Management in 2009, when the economy was in the tank and options were limited. "The food scene here at the time was garbage, so I saw an opportunity," Daum says. "I am into healthy eating and fitness, so I created a fusion menu that would appeal to people like me." Since 2012, Pho King has been serving up the best potstickers and stir fry in the Valley. Pho King has proved to be so popular that there is now a brick-and-mortar location in South Scottsdale.
The Scookie Bar
The Scookie Bar embraces the classic romance of cookie and ice cream. Their logo puts it perfectly: “Where the Scoop Met the Cookie.” It’s a “build your own” deep-dish skillet cookie. You choose your cookie, choose your scoop (of ice cream), and choose your drizzle and toppings. This creates 900 different options for your Scookie needs. They’ve been serving the dessert treat in Arizona since July 2016.
La Petite Provence
Eve Visconti grew up baking bread and authentic sweets in Italy and France. She went to French cooking schools then became head chef in three different restaurants then opened her own restaurant in Aix en Provence. She eventually moved to Phoenix to be a full-time mom. Now, she runs La Petite Provence, which brings everything she has learned about cooking into one little truck. The menu consists of many Provencal France flavors, from crêpes to strawberry tarts.
What is Satay? It is fresh meat that is marinated, skewered and grilled over an open flame. Hendrick F. Micola von Fürstenrecht II, or Rik Micola for short, realized there was no Dutch-Indonesian food in Arizona, so he decided to open the Satay Hut because he had some family recipes and he considered himself to be a fantastic chef. Now, he roams around the Phoenix streets and introduces them to this flavorful food. Their menu varies week to week — check out their Facebook to see what they’re serving that week.
Edible Cookie Dough Stand
Instead of eating raw cookie dough straight from the bowl, the Cookie Dough Stand is here to sell safe-to-eat cookie dough flavors. Nobody should have to worry about getting salmonella for eating what they love. Of course, there is the OG chocolate chip cookie, or you can be adventurous and try unicorn dough: a combo of butter cookie dough, rainbow marshmallows and sprinkles, or campfire dough, which is topped with graham cracker marshmallows and chocolate chips.
The Mein Man is the mein place to go for all your lo mein cravings. There are four simple steps: choose a base (salad or noodles), choose a sauce, choose your veggies and choose your meat. The owner and chef, Bobby Kwan, is a first-generation Chinese American. The inspiration for his restaurant on wheels was cooking instant ramen with his siblings when he was younger. In 2015, he invested in an old Frito-Lays truck and completely revamped it himself. Now, his truck is decked out in chopsticks while it chugs along the Phoenix streets.
Down By The Bayou Bistro
This food truck is bringing the French Quarter of New Orleans to the heart of Arizona. When you order at Bayou Bistro, you’re not ordering just any old sandwich, you’re ordering a Po-Boy. The authentic Creole and Cajun cuisine is comfort food that will get you outside of your comfort zone. Their seafood including crawfish and shrimp, BBQ featuring favorites like brisket and pulled pork, along with tacos, street fries or nachos and tasty sides will make you feel like you’re in the French Quarter.
The Flying Pigeon
This food truck’s motto is “Your Passport to Flavor.” The truck stays away from food they deem “monochromatic” and instead strive to “keep it funky.” Their dishes have curious names such as Gandhi in the Flower Garden and Naan Stop Veg. Basically, the food is a fusion of all types of world flavors classified as “gourmet casual food.” Their food truck makes an appearance at the Uptown Farmers Market every Saturday.
ZPotes Food Truck
This Salvadorian food truck is the latest in a long line of food services throughout the Ramirez family. In El Salvador, their grandmother would prepare food and sell it at the “fincas” or commercial farms. They took these family recipes to southern California, where they sold Pupusas, which is a corn tortilla stuffed with savory filling, at local soccer games. Eventually, they brought their Pupusas to Phoenix, Arizona. They say their goal is to serve “comida cachimbona,” which means badass, excellent food, from El Salvador and Central America. They have four storefronts and their food truck where you can try this traditional dish.
Frosted Frenzy Cupcakes
The delectable sweet treats look too picture-perfect to pass up. There is a cupcake for every personality. There’s What’s Up Buttercup for those who can’t resist a peanut butter and chocolate combo. Enjoy the Nestle Drumstick ice cream cones? There’s a cupcake for that. You can find the pink and white cupcake truck at public events all across Phoenix.
If you’re always craving Mexican food, Dilla Libre has your fix. Serving up gourmet quesadillas or referred to as “dillas” on their menu that include carne asada, chicken or their “All Thai’d Up” dilla with chicken, serranos, onions, sweet thai chili sauce and cheese. They travel across the Valley, so you can find them serving their dillas, sides featuring classics like chips and salsa and their flavored margaritas or “ritas,” and try some of their savory and spicy quesadillas yourself.
Upcoming Food Truck Events
Can’t get enough of these unique traveling foods? Try out one of these food truck festivals in the greater Phoenix area.
On Feb. 16 and 17 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Phoenix New Times will host a food truck festival at the Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. If you pay $12 online, or $15 the day of the event, you can get access to over 55 food trucks that sell all kinds of food. Every menu includes a $2 sample. There will also be live bands, lawn games, eating contests, cooking classes and more.
On April 27, Food Truck Friday West will host over 50 food trucks for their 3rd annual FOODstock. The event will take place at the Peoria Sports Complex. Tickets are $5 for adults and free for kids. The samples are $3 from each truck. There will also be a full bar, bounce houses, face painting and more.
Another weekend, another feastival. Every weekend in Queen Creek, Mesa and Gilbert, there are food truck festivals. They usually consist of 15 to 25 food trucks, live music and boutique markets. For more information about times and locations, check out the website.