Seattle's a city that doesn't just like to live on the frontier; it likes to constantly re-discover it. Stocked full of start-ups and tech companies, ambition is key to working here.
But a taste for the finer things is key to actually thriving here - a high standard for workmanship gets matched by a high standard of living, with craft beer, single-origin coffee and legal, recreational weed all vying to fuel up (or ease down) an over-achieving set of young professionals in their off-time. Whenever off-time majestically appears, at least.
Naturally, when it comes to how Seattleites eat, the freshest, most forward-thinking ideas rule the roost, alongside the most efficient. In other words, Seattle's the kind of town ready to welcome a storm of food trucks with open arms.
Now that the deluge is here, there's almost too many options to choose from, ranging from Asian fusion to new-school sandwiches to hearty American favorites. What all the top trucks share in common is a commitment to artisanal flavor and forward-thinking technique, balancing classics that taste new again with new dishes that taste like classics already.
Awarded the Seattle Times Reader's Choice for Best Food Truck 2016 (amongst many honors), Nosh has made more than a splash around town with its jumbo fish and chips, faithfully translated in true British tradition, crispy and juicy all at once. The dish alone's been enough to draw crowds, but a full menu of inspired eats offers more than support to the signature offering.
From fried rabbit to roast bone marrow to premium-grade meatloaf sandwich, the menu is (as advertised) "all about the food". No gimmicks and no complications. Just hearty, inventive fare that pushes the bounds of your expectations, even as it makes a beeline for your comfort zone. Nosh has gotten so popular that it now operates two different trucks at a time, cutting down on overcrowding - and cutting down on your excuses for missing out.
Rain (in case you haven't heard) plays a dominant role in shaping Seattle's identity, with grey skies and cool winds following close behind to encourage frigid spirits city-wide. While it might seem an odd fit on the surface then, it should be no surprise trucks specializing in hot southern soul have exploded in popularity, warming up diners from the inside out, and lifting spirits higher with every bite.
Seattle Biscuit Company leads off the pack, run by a pair that hails from Mississippi and Georgia, brought together to give Washington an authentic taste of their respective homes. One-of-a-kind biscuits are only the groundwork for the truck's locally-sourced creations, with combos as light as bacon and house-made jelly (Hickey Dewberry) to as hearty as eggs, bacon, ham, cheese grits, pickles and sausage gravy (The Bishop Jim Earl Swilly). Meanwhile, Where Ya At Matt ships in sizzling creole flavor, dished out by a New Orleans ex-pat with skills to spare, and flavors no rain can drown. A wide-range of po'boys sits front and center, but delicacies like jambalaya, gumbo and sweet, flaky beignets fill out the menu handsomely.
Finally, if you've got the kinda doldrums only the strongest flames can burn down, make your way to Maximus/Minimus for red-hot bbq without peer. It'll be easy to spot - it's the truck shaped like a giant metal pig. Under its lid, the goods on-board are no less dynamic, in taste at least, with a pulled-pork sandwich that can naturally be enjoyed in "minimus" (tamarind, honey and molasses) or "maximus" (fiery peppers, onions, and fruit juice) varieties, depending on the mood. A killer mac & cheese, along with a "stoner special" mac-covered sandwich (this being the kinda town for that) are a few of the other detours you could make. But no matter what, all roads lead to mood-altering taste that could part any clouds. Metaphorically, of course. This is still Seattle.
As an ocean port, the city's always been flush with diverse travelers and foreign culture, melding seamlessly with the daily rhythm, and making its heart beat more vibrantly with every step. Or more importantly - making its mouth sing louder with every dish. Beyond words, food's always been the great communicator, and in the new food truck era, it's got more to say than ever. Thanks to proximity, Asia's been the dominant import for the city's foreign tastes, and the forms its cuisine takes are evolving daily.
Thai U Up hues traditional with is hearty Thai eats, giving you a wide menu of authentic recipes. From Pad Thai to yellow curry, all your favorites are on-board & dished out better than anyone else in town. And the truck's speciality - the volcano chicken - has become something of a local legend. Best of all, Thai U Up works with delivery services like Eat24 to drive the truck's full roster of eats all the way to your front door. Papa Bois takes a decidedly more global approach, fusing South Asian flavors to Cuban and Caribbean accents, then ships them right back to Washington, in comfortable shapes like tacos and pressed sandwiches. Chief amongst their offerings is the Orient Boat; featuring slow-cooked pork in a lemongrass-coconut marinade, served over pistachio rice, topped with caramelized onions, secret sauces and Caribbean slaw. Pair it with plantains & wash it all down with a lychee lemonade to complete your mouth's strange, glorious vacation.
Meanwhile, NaanSense aims to raise the entire bar for how Seattle does Indian. Run by a husband and wife culinary power duo, the truck offers a rotating menu of street-friendly options like lamb meatball curry and butter chicken that sacrifice nothing in authenticity to give you everything in mobility.
Other Notable Food Trucks
If you ask around town, Cheese Wizards tends to lay claim as the people's champ, with gourmet grilled cheeses like the Goblin King(swiss, jack & cream cheese topped with red pepper, grilled chicken and mild sriracha black pepper aioli) and the Voldemortadella(provolone/mozz/cream cheese rounded off with mortadella/salami/black forest ham on herbed olive muffuletta) that stretch the mind as much as the stomach. Napkin Friends innovates the game by serving pressed-latke sandwiches, alongside more traditional deli fare like matzoh ball soup. As an added bonus, their inventive, super-savory sandwiches happen to be gluten-free.
If you're more the *definitive* type of GF diner, I Love My GFF defines their food right in the title. Locally-sourced, meticulously crafted quinoa bowls lack dairy and gluten, but don't lack an ounce of big, balanced taste. As an added bonus, vegan and paleo diners have a lot to look forward to onboard as well. After all, Seattle's still nothing if not forward-thinking.
Finding Food Trucks Near You
As always, check out the live Seattle food truck map above or on the Roaming Hunger app to find the most accurate, up-to-the-minute location info for all the trucks listed, alongside countless more options.
In general, Seattle's not exactly built for lone wolves - thanks to they city's pace and, well, the rain, food trucks tend to congregate in clusters, popping up all at once in the same vacant lots and around the same parks for both lunchtime and late night revelry.
Naturally, Starbucks Headquarters is a chief mecca, with food trucks lined up all day to fit any need and any meal. Queen Anne Farmer's Market tends to attract the foodiest of dinner foodie favorites, while the University of Washington hosts the most dependable rotation of quick & easy lunchtime picks. Finally, late-night, downtown Seattle food trucks can always be found on Harvard between Pike and Pine street.
To grab the truck you want without scouring the town, simply go through Roaming Hunger. You can book any trucks listed above for any event you concoct, all with a simple phone call. It's the new & easy way to arrange catering that, for once, also happens to be the right way. Don't be afraid to explore new frontiers - in case you haven't heard, they're the things that keep Seattle running.
Hungry for more? Check out our 21 Company Lunch Ideas in Seattle and bring the food trucks to your office!