14 U.S. Cities Nailing the Street Eats Scene

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Person grabbing a slice of pizza
©Steve Czerniak
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Filipino-American street food
Courtesy The Sarap Shop Food Truck
San Francisco

San Francisco has an entire park and festival dedicated to street food. SoMa StrEAT Food Park has food, beer and wine sold from trucks, carts and pop-ups. Sarap Shop and Firetrail Pizza are the places to try here. The San Francisco Street Food Festival takes place each year in October. More than 30 chefs gather to serve the community the best of street food the city has to offer.

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Asian street food dish on a picnic basket
Courtesy Bon Me

Take your pick at the food trucks in Boston. The best ones include Tenoch Mexican and Bon Me—which offers fresh, fun Asian cuisine. If you find yourself at Havard in Cambridge, food trucks are located across from the Science Center seven days a week.

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Pink popsicle in front of wall of flowers
©Pete Cooney/Pete's Pops

Chase down the best of Milwaukee street food at The Gouda Girls or Falafel Guys. Need to cool down? Pete's Pops rolls through town serving fun flavors like Plum Mint and Roasted Peach 'N Jalapeno. More food trucks are located on Wisconsin Avenue.

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Acai Dream Bowl
Los Angeles

Kogi BBQ Taco Truck set the scene for LA food trucks in 2008 and 10 years later foodies still can't get enough. When visiting the city, Taco Zone, Grilled Cheese Truck, Coolhaus and Acai Dream Bowl are the trucks to track down. You can find them all with Roaming Hunger.

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Street food from Eat the Streets
©Steve Czerniak

Look no further, all of Honolulu's best street food vendors come together on the last Friday of each month from 4 pm to 9 pm during "Eat the Streets." Here, foodies can sample Sunset Smoke House (Texas barbecue), Kan Zaman (Moroccan and Lebanese), Banh Mi Express (Vietnamese) and 40 more vendors.

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Cochon de Lait Po-Boy
©Doug Anderson/Flickr, Creative Commons
New Orleans

The New Orleans Food Trucks Coalition keeps tabs on where the hottest trucks are located, but many trucks—including Queen on Wheels, Bonafried and Diva Dawg—can be found at Food Truck Friday in Champions Square.

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To-go containers with food
Richmond, Virginia

In 2016, National Geographic named Richmond, Virginia a top place to travel for food, and that includes the city's street food. Start with Goatocado, which has five carts that offer fresh, healthy meal options. Next, find Korean street cuisine at J Kogi food trucks. Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen sells tasty donuts from a truck at a local farmer's market.

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Mac and chesse at Mac Mart

Have you ever eaten mac and cheese from a food truck? If not, you can try it in Philadelphia along with Cow and the Curd, Foolish Waffles, Octopus Falafel and other 100 other food trucks located throughout the city.

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Mexican food served on the streets in DC
©Elvert Barnes/Flickr, Creative Commons
Washington D.C.

D.C. knows how to have fun when creating catchy names and unique dishes. Head to the streets for popular food carts like PhoWheels, Maui Wowi and Captian Cookie and the Milk Man. Check out Union Market for poke bowls at District Fishwife and South Indian crepes at DC Dosa.

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Mexican breakfast tacos
Austin, Texas

Austin's food trucks got started in the 1990s and quickly grew into a phenomenon. The city is home to more than 1,000 food trucks, many of which can be found in clusters referred to as "food trailer parks." In the Picnic Trailer Park, visitors can try Hey Cupcake, Acai Hut and Gebby's BBQ. Revolution Vegan Kitchen, Beirut Lebanese Food and Taconmaye are all located in the Midway Food Park. You'll need to use a map to locate all of Austin's food vendors.

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Dim and Dim Sum Truck - Sausage Sammich
©Edsel Little/Flickr, Creative Commons

If you are in need of a quick, delicious lunch, Cleveland has you covered with more than 50 food trucks. To get a taste of Cleveland's local flavor, grab lunch at The Nosh Box. It serves Cleveland-styled street food including lobster rolls and spinach artichoke sandwiches. Other popular trucks include Fired Up Taco Truck and Wok n Roll, which appeared on the Food Network series "Guy's Grocery Games."

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The Halal Guys Making Chicken and Rice
©City Foodsters/Flickr, Creative Commons
New York City

NYC is a leader in street food that offers great bites from various cultures around the world. For an unforgettable experience, the must-try spots include Cinnamon Snail's vegan food trucks; Mysttik Masaala's Indian food carts; The Halal Guys' Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors; and Mahmoud’s Corner Halal Cart's authentic halal. If you can't get enough, you can always take a food truck tour.

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Pig Mac sandwich from Papi Queso food truck
©Rachel Kramer Bussel/Flickr, Creative Commons
Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte food trucks are also known for innovation and diverse food options. The most popular include the Papi Queso food truck (try the Pig Mac sandwich) and The Dumpling Lady (which serves authentic Sichuan street food). 

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Food plated
Portland, Oregon

Don't let the number of food carts in Portland overwhelm you (there are more than 600), Eat Adventure Food Tours and Forktown Food Tours can lead you to the best carts in town. While you're there, be sure to try Fried Egg I'm In LovePyro Pizza and Southwest-inspired dishes at MF Tasty.

By Jasmyn Snipes Louis

If you're looking for cheap eats, greasy goodness or a quick bite, street food is the way to go.

These are the oh-so-filling plates that you can grab at food trucks and in markets while you're between stops on your busy itinerary. 

Sitting down at a cafe or restaurant is always an option, but somehow food crafted in the back of a four-wheeled vehicle manages to taste so good you wouldn't want to miss out. Plus, the presentation of these afternoon delights often makes for a great Instagram-worthy photo that'll make your friends jealous.

Jasmyn Snipes Louis
About the author