Orange County may be miles away from Hollywood, but it remains a SoCal destination in its own right, thanks to world-class beaches, canyons, and maybe a theme park or two. In fact, over the years, the OC's developed into its own self-sustaining entertainment mecca, with the appropriate restaurant culture to match. These days, it's a culture that can go toe to toe with LA's best, and that goes for the food trucks too.
The OC's food trucks run a wide gamut of influences - classic California comfort sits next to some of the nation's best taco trucks, along with exotic detours found nowhere else in the country. Venture down to Orange County and find a world far from LA stars that shines vibrantly all on its own. And in this light, the food looks downright irresistible.
The Hungry Royal is a truck unlike any other - cooking up first-rate, authentically British pub grub rounded out by a vivid South Asian influence. Altogether, the menu feels comfortably international.
The truck's signature Scotch Egg is finished off with chili jam, its BBQ pulled pork's got Gochujang and a miso mayonnaise, and all manner of dishes rotate daily, making it a truck worth trekking to for diversity alone. But the flavor's what keeps bringing in regular crowds, along with hospitality that, naturally, makes you feel like new monarchy.
SoCal and taco trucks are synonymous with each other, and the OC maintains this tradition, with a fleet of trucks that redefine Latin curbside cuisine. Orange County's most popular taco trucks fuse Mexico with California, and add a dash of overseas influence to craft something traditional yet altogether fresh. These aren't your grandma's taco trucks, but they're great enough to stick around, and maybe one day be your grandkids'.
Dos Chinos combines Mexican street food with Vietnamese roots. Growing up in Santa Ana, founders Hop and Viet found themselves referred to as "chinos" by their Spanish-speaking neighbors. Despite the geographic inaccuracy, the two embraced the term when it came time to launch their truck, curing confusion with deliciousness. Good plan - the truck's menu encompasses flavors ranging from Vietnamese chimichurri, to coconut panang curry and Pacific five spice, and all dishes can be made as tacos, burritos, bowls, salads or loaded over fries. It's a food truck made to deliver brand new flavors straight to your mouth, even if you mis-label exactly where they come from.
The Lime Truck's a catering-only affair helmed by an award-winning team of chefs, and its selection of Mexican is as premium as it gets: nachos are kicked up by Sriracha and brown sugar/soy-rubbed pork belly, carnitas are prepped for 12 hrs and finished with chipotle-honey cabbage, and the quesadilla is stuffed with short rib. The Classic Taco, on the other hand, offers no bold fusion. Only killer Cali twists (like decadent corn fries) to its Mexican delights. With a brick and mortar famously located inside an Ontario liquor store, this is food you can always catch, but as with most things, it's always better when it comes straight to you. Even if it's just a mile from the liquor store.
Orange County's rife with contradictions - yoga here's as popular as jello shots, natural wonders collide with out-of-place Mediterranean architecture, and sun-kissed beaches provide a great place......to eat some of SoCal's most decadent desserts. Despite the hard bodies on display here, what goes into them is often shockingly rich, exceedingly sweet, and downright irresistible. And if you doubt it, here's three food trucks that prove as much.
Waff N Roll has one foot in the sweet world and one in the savory, making it a truck you can visit for any meal, no excuses needed. The food truck's formidable menu is anchored by a collection of waffle sandwiches perfectly prepared for endurance as much as taste. The WNR waffle is crispy but pliable, with grooves modeled to catch and hold whatever's smushed inside. Flavors range from Tandoori Spiced Chicken to BBQ Pork, marking a savory choice for every tastebud. And then there's the whole other side of your tongue. Dulce de Leche, Nutella/banana and lemon curd/berries provide all the sweet your mouth needs, either as a dessert or as a snack between meals.
Meanwhile, Chunk N Chip is delivering dual dessert pleasure - spreading premium ice cream sandwiches all across Orange County. Fresh-churned ice cream pressed between oven-warm cookies make for a hot and cold treat that can crush any sized appetite. Finally, Bakerytruck traffics in the OC's finest cupcakes, right alongside cookies, cream puffs and "cheesecake dessert shots", all in wide flavor varieties that'll please every kind of guest.
Smoked over pecan wood, Tri-Tip Man offers the OC Texas-fresh BBQ with a distinct flavor unlike any other in SoCal. A coffee-spiked blend of spices also gives Tri-Tip Man a unique rub that makes its steak irresistible. For an equally unique twist on more classic comfort, The Burnt Truck delivers the boldest sliders SoCal has ever seen. Both traditional and irreverent options rotate daily, encompassing beef, chicken, pork belly and more.
Finally, Dogzilla is a twist on classic hotdogs that pushes the boundaries of flavor, and pushes the boundaries of toppings, from pastrami to peppers to grilled onions, furikake, bacon bits, avocado and more. Their collection of comforts hues eclectic and international, taking your tongue on a journey far beyond where your feet can follow.
As always, check out the live OC food truck map above or on the Roaming Hunger app to find the most accurate, up-to-the-minute location info for all trucks listed, alongside countless more options.
Costa Mesa's recently erected a permanent space to showcase food trucks in front of The Met, a 12-story complex in the heart of town. The "food truck runway" out front plays host to rotating trucks every day for lunch. Local collective Bistro Planet also hosts regular food truck meet-ups every Wed at both the Alize and Alicante apartment complexes in Aliso Viejo.
Weekly food truck festivals pop up every Saturday in Irvine, while Newport Beach is always thriving with independent options. To order any of the trucks listed above (along with any that aren't) for your own event, click HERE and get started. You'll be grabbing some of SoCal's most delicious charms, in a county that gets less attention than its neighbor, but seems to like it that way just fine. All the more food to go around.