DC has never lacked a variety of restaurants, but grab-and-go lunch can be limited in many parts of the city. Luckily, DC’s food scene has had an explosion of food trucks to serve those in the downtown areas with a variety of cuisines and offerings making food trucks the latest and greatest food trend. These top five restaurants on wheels are among the most popular and unique trucks in the area.
Comfort food on the go, CapMac is the place to go for your mac and cheese fix. With a variety of pasta dishes, CapMac makes a mean classic with cheddar and pimento cheese that is then topped with a Cheez-It cracker crumble for a gooey delight. It is served by itself, sloppy—meaning topped with sloppy Joe—or balls out, meaning you can get a side of meatballs like the chicken parmesan or herbed Italian on the side. Try the MarcoBolo for a change from the traditional with cavatappi pasta that is topped with a braised beef brisket in red wine sauce. CapMac also gets creative with seasonal dishes that are posted daily to its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
An Asian flair on the traditional tacos, Far East specializes in a build-your-own taco with Korean ingredients. Starting with your choice of a protein, there’s flavorful steak, chicken, pig or even tofu. Then those are topped with a mild, sweet or spicy sauce that can be as benign as the spicy mayo or as wild as the spicy pineapple. Then the tacos are topped with a slaw. There’s the traditional Korean kimchi with lime, a crispy romaine or mixtures of peppers and then the final topping is either a flavor blast of a red onion relish or a cool-down cream sauce with lime. All tacos are served on flour tortillas in a quick and easy foil wrapper. Tacos are available as a single for $3 or triple pack for $8.
DC is blessed with some of the best Ethiopian restaurants in the nation. It’s no wonder that this hearty cuisine would make its way into a food truck. Benethiopia serves up traditional meat and vegetable dishes on the spongy injera, or Ethiopian sourdough bread made from Teff flour. Those unfamiliar with Ethiopian cuisine can try a sample of the best from spicy to mild. The meat, which is usually beef, is stewed in a buttery sauce with the spice berbere that features chilies that pack some heat. This same spice is used in a lentil dish for vegetarians. For those that prefer the mild but flavorful dishes, try the beets and beans or collard greens. Portion sizes range from the dingo bite for $2, which is a small bowl to the popular pick two for $7 or pick three for $9 if you’re really hungry. Ethiopian is usually eaten with the hands, so the truck provides a sink to wash up before diving in. And don’t forget dessert. Fojol Bros. offers scented lossipops to cool down the spice.
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A taste of New England comes to DC and it is moving around. The Red Hook Lobster Pound trucks are where busy Washingtonians go to get their lobster rolls for lunch. The menu is simple and straightforward. Red Hook serves two types of lobster rolls and a shrimp roll. Lobster rolls are either Maine style, which is tossed in the truck’s own lemony mayonnaise, or Connecticut style that poaches the lobster in butter. The shrimp roll is tossed in a mayonnaise scented with garlic and tarragon. All seafood is from Maine and the rolls are soft and supple to hold the delicate, delicious seafood treats. Sides include Cape Cod chips and the truck usually has delicious clam chowder. Then there’s whoopie pies by Virginia’s own Whoopsiepies for dessert. Wash it all down with freshly made ginger-mint limeade, lemonade or iced tea, or an organic Maine root soda.
Vietnamese on wheels, Phonation offers a simple menu exploding with flavor. There are two types of food that it serves, banh mis and pho. The banh mi, or Vietnamese sandwich, is a tangy spiced meat on a crusty roll with aioli sauce that is then topped with shredded cabbage and carrots with fresh cilantro. Phonation offers BBQ pork or chicken banh mi and the fusion-style burrito banh mi. Then there’s the pho, which is a flavorful broth that has fresh rice noodles topped with either beef or chicken and fresh herbs and veggies like basil, lime and bean sprouts. It’s a meal that will definitely fill you up without weighing you down.
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