The concept of “street food” has never been singular to a place, or even to a type of food. Around the globe, street food has always been a quick and inexpensive way to grab a bite, and to get a feel for local favorites.
In the U.S., the concept has always manifested itself in major cities as a culinary way to experience the “melting pot” mentality of different types of cuisine. In New York City, it’s always been a combination of Mediterranean gyros and falafel, along with the all-American iconic hot dog stands and Mr. Softee ice cream trucks. Down in New Orleans it’s all about beignets and Cajun crawfish, and in California tacos are the iconic fare.
Although street food has geographically iconic origins across the country, true foodies know that unexpected foods and flavors bring in business. Food trucks have been a widely popular concept in major cities for years, and cities in Central New York have now begun to adopt the trend as well.
What differentiates CNY food trucks from other parts of the country is the type of customer demand. Some regions of the U.S. have interest in artisan pastries, or raw food menus. In cities like Syracuse, however, it’s all about crowd-pleasing comfort foods.
Food trucks such as PB&J’s Lunch Box and The Stir Mobile Eatery serve up crowd favorites like grilled cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, hot dogs and hamburgers, but with new-wave twists on the classic recipes. Stir Mobile, for instance, offers a BBQ pulled chicken grilled cheese with sharp cheddar, and PB&J’s peanut butter sandwich includes a surprising Nutella addition.
What Central New Yorkers have discovered is that one of the best ways to enjoy all of these hometown favorites is all at once. In cities like Rochester and Syracuse, Food Truck Rodeos have become a great way to taste a little bit of everything. These Rodeos are somewhere between a festival and a tailgate, with music, community, and plenty of food to go around.
While the Rodeos are typically only in action during the warmer months, the trucks themselves can be seen driving around or parked in permitted downtown zones. A St. Patrick’s Day Rodeo is planned in Syracuse for the day of the parade, so bundle up and enjoy some local foodie favorites! Even when a Rodeo isn’t in swing, the trucks are easy to track via social media if you have a specific hankering, but half the fun is in stumbling upon something new.
Classics like grilled cheese, BBQ and cole slaw have brought in a lot of business to the CNY Food Truck scene, but since then trucks peddling everything from crepes to tofu have cropped up as well. Whatever cuisine the next truck may offer, it’s bound to go well with the ever-evolving flavor of CNY culture.