Food truck culture has positively exploded, and few metropolitan areas have embraced this trend as much as San Diego. Over 50 trucks now call this city by the bay home, providing much-needed snacks and entire meals to UCSD students, Padres fans, farmers market patrons, and Comic-Con cosplayers.
Maximize your time exploring San Diego instead of sitting down in crowded restaurants and dealing with excessively busy kitchens—not to mention overworked waitstaff. From quick bites to hearty meals to lip-smacking desserts, here’s a list of our personal favorites (a veritable flight of fantastic San Diego food trucks) that you’re sure to enjoy!
Note: most of the food trucks listed below offer updated websites with calendars, menus, and upcoming stops where you can easily track them down.
Featured in the second season of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race, and voted the Best Food Truck of 2016 on the San Diego A-List, Devilicious offers a “food so good it’s bad” menu featuring unique dishes like butter-poached lobster grilled cheese sandwiches, pork belly melts, and smoked turkey clubs all served up with a devilish grin.
Be sure to wrap up your meal with a melt-in-your-mouth “s’mores 'wich” made with Nutella, Biscoff, marshmallows, and chocolate syrup on butter-toasted artisan sourdough. Is your mouth watering yet?
Born in Capri, Italy, Cucina Caprese owner Giuseppe Monaco now brings over 30 years of experience as a chef to the streets and special events of San Diego with his unique cart equipped with a portable, wood-fired oven!
Whether you’re starting your day with a breakfast pizza topped with egg, caramelized onions, pancetta, fresh thyme, panna, and mozzarella or enjoying a traditional pie for lunch or dinner, Cucina Caprese promises fresh, farm-to-table ingredients and some of the finest Italian food you’ve ever had. Try their lasagna, too!
Cucina Caprese can often be found at the Sunday La Jolla Farmers Market and they’re also open to bringing their unique cart and menu directly to customers for special events.
Recently voted the number one food truck in San Diego by San Diego Magazine, the Super Q Food Truck delivers the best hickory-smoked BBQ this side of the Mississippi. Look for the big yellow “Q” to sample their outrageous melts, “knock-out” sandwiches, and delicious sliders. Your tastebuds will thank you for trying their famous BBQ asada fries—trust us!
If you’re on the lookout for American comfort food, then be sure to queue up for Two for the Road and their somewhat unconventional twists on several old favorites.
From their kicked-up corn dogs to Cap'n Crunch crab cakes to Seattle salmon burgers, Two for the Road isn’t afraid of trying something new—and because of this, they’ve earned quite a reputation around San Diego. You’ll also find a selection of retro sodas, unique chips, and almost legendary whoopie pies sourced from a small town in Maine.
Searching for an Asian-infused menu? Be sure to track down Temaki Express, San Diego’s first Temakeria, offering giant (9-inch) Japanese hand rolls, poke bowls, tempura, sushi tacos, sushi burgers, and sriracha fries.
With an extensive Japanese fusion menu, Temaki is the truck to go to for incredible seafood as well as one-of-a-kind desserts like fried banana rolls and Nutella Temaki!
Of course, no list of southern California street food would be complete without highlighting a truck with a traditional south-of-the-border menu! Mariscos Mi Gusto Es stands out from all the other San Diego taco trucks by offering an extensive, reasonably priced, and traditional selection of Mexican favorites including tacos, tostadas, and burritos along with a variety of homemade salsas, Mexican sodas, and sweet treats.
Food trucks offer creative chefs a way and means of bringing uncommon foods to the masses—and a fine example of that is Pierogi Truck, specializing in authentic, homemade Polish and Eastern European dishes.
If you’ve never had pierogis (dumplings stuffed with savory or sweet ingredients), golabkis (cabbage rolls), or bigos stew, follow @pierogitruck1 on Twitter to find out where they’ll be next in order to broaden your palate with these tasty treats.
Bringing traditional New York deli sensibilities to the streets of San Diego, New York on Rye is sure to satisfy that sweet spot if you’re on the prowl for knishes or classic deli sandwiches (which all come complete with a pickle spear on the side, of course). Choose from their menu of signature sandwiches ranging from Cubans to Reubens or traditional deli fare like pastrami on rye or tuna salad.
Whether it’s their smaller push cart or their full-service truck, Nana’s Heavenly Hot Dogs, founded in 2010, offers delicious dogs with unique toppings served up with a smile.
Brothers Dan and Jeff Hart work hard to ensure their customers get reasonably priced, quality ingredients that will inspire you to come back again and again. While you can certainly find a decent dog in Petco Park during your next Padres game, the boys with Nana’s really know how to kick it up a notch or two.
Not all food trucks are created equal and some are meant to satisfy nothing more than a sweet tooth. Enter SnoCal Shaved Ice, offering over 20 flavors of shaved ice using only pure cane sugar and filtered water, plus a variety of delicious toppings ranging from caramel to Li Hing Mui powder. Find SnoCal Shaved Ice in parks, at schools, and on beaches throughout the San Diego area—an absolute must during the dog days of summer!
While the San Diego area is renowned for its five-star restaurants, be sure to augment your next vacation by sampling some of the many phenomenal food trucks for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and delicious desserts.
Pro tip: One convenient way to sample some of this incredible San Diego street food is to swing by Smitty’s Family Run Automotive Service on Adams Avenue for Food Truck Tuesdays every week, or just keep your eyes on the various truck company websites and bookmark the San Diego page over at Roaming Hunger.
You stay classy (and tasty), San Diego!
Featured photo courtesy of Kevin Baird