Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sacramento Mobile Food Truck Movement

What does the Sacramento mobile food truck controversy mean for vegans?  Since the local vendors who are leading the charge to ease restrictions on mobile food truck operations don't appear to offer any vegan menu selections, is this a fight that concerns vegans at all?

Absolutely!  Allowing mobile food trucks to operate more freely in Sacramento will benefit vegans, as well as their non-vegan dining companions. 

A variety of mobile food trucks would almost certainly include a vendor or vendors providing vegan menu options.  Before the current ordinance restricting the operations of mobile food trucks was adopted in Sacramento, Roots-N-Kulchah used to set up for lunch daily at the corner of 24th and K, serving delicious vegan Caribbean cuisine.  Also, the wildly successful SactoMoFo mobile food truck festival held earlier this year at Fremont Park in midtown included many food trucks from San Francisco that offered vegan menu selections or indicated on the menu how certain dishes could be made vegan. 

Mobile food trucks are popular with consumers because they are convenient (the food comes to you), the service is quick, and the prices are affordable.  These things tend to worry some restaurant owners, who fear that they will be unable to compete with mobile food trucks parked in the vicinity of their restaurants.  One savvy restaurateur seems to have embraced the mobile food truck movement, however.  Last month, Star Ginger Asian Grill and Noodle Bar launched the new UC Davis Star Ginger Food Truck, bringing their excellent Southeast Asian cuisine, featuring both vegan and non-vegan menu options, to the UC Davis campus.

Recently, my family and I vacationed in Tahiti, where we experienced the culinary phenomenon of "Les Roulottes" in the capital city of Papeete.  Every evening, these Tahitian mobile food trucks roll into an area near the cruise ship docks and start setting up tables and chairs for their customers.  Before long, local residents and tourists begin to line up for whatever type of cuisine they've chosen for the night's dinner.  Most of the French Polynesia guidebooks mention Les Roulottes as a not-to-be-missed outing for visitors to Tahiti.

Why can't we have a similar experience in Sacramento?  Isn't there a space where mobile food trucks can congregate in the evening, providing a variety of culinary offerings to hungry diners?  If each truck were to set up a few tables and chairs in a communal setting, vegans could order food from the vendors of their choice and then join friends or family members in the communal dining area after everyone has made their own food purchases. 

Sounds like the easiest way ever for vegans and non-vegans to dine in peace and harmony!


micheyd said...

what a wonderful concept, akin to the farmer's market -- a social gathering for healthy food and community

Pam said...

Yes, the farmer's market is a great analogy. My problem with les roulottes in Tahiti was that each vendor put out his or her own tables and chairs, and so everyone in the family had to either eat from the same food truck, or go to different food trucks but order the food to go. I think creating a communal dining area for multiple food trucks would make for a great dining destination.

RunningForWitness said...

Here's a mobile food truck with the right idea - I keep thinking if I ever make it back to Arcata, I really want to try this place:

And it's such a simple great idea (Naan) I wish we had similar here in Sacto!

Pam said...

Thanks for the links. I want to try this place too! I also like the fact that their menu indicates which items are vegan.