Food Truck Thursdays provides healthy fast food

IMG_0113 Colby Patterson

The wafting scent of food and flavors overcomes the Gallivan Center every Thursday. Citizens of Salt Lake City rush onto the plaza amid the roaring sounds of the food truck generators to sample the delicious cuisines of these mobile establishments.

The rise of the food truck in Utah is related to their versatility.

“The major benefit of a food truck is that it can cater to outdoor events by going to the customers,” said Tanner Young, a resident of Salt Lake City and customer at Food Truck Thursdays.

This freedom has grown the idea of a food truck from being associated as caterers, to something that is beginning to be associated with eclectic and extreme cuisine. Matching the idea of “haute to go,” food trucks have risen in popularity because of their willingness to combine radical flavors and their ability to keep things portable.

Long-time vendors of this latest food craze, such as the famous Chow Truck, were no strangers to this weekly event. Despite having some of the longest lines of the area, customers were delighted with its Asian-inspired dishes. The truck provides a fusion between Asian haute cuisine and Mexican street tacos. The flavor combination is unlike anything ever created before, especially the ginger pork. It’s no wonder this particular truck is the reigning king of Utah’s food truck scene.

Perhaps the most sought-after yet surprisingly underwhelming of the dishes provided at the Chow Truck were their Asian root vegetable chips. It was advertised to be an even combination of deep-fried and seasoned sweet potatoes, beets, yams and lotus root. Instead, the pile of chips were mainly deep-fried and salty sweet potatoes, with a few of the other root vegetables scattered in between. The few lotus roots that were provided were delicious and added another complex flavor. It would’ve been nice to include more of them in order to keep the dish from tasting overly monotonous.

There is something for everyone at Food Truck Thursdays. Those who preferred barbecue were treated to succulent full-sized pulled pork sandwiches at the Q-4-U truck. The sandwiches were huge, and the meat was delicious, but beware if you can’t handle the heat. Even the regular sauce that was slathered all over the meat provided a spicy kick for the taste buds.

One of the most popular trucks was doling out Korean barbecue. At Cupbop, the three men running the show definitely made up for the long painful wait between ordering and receiving. They were very personable and were not above bartering. Offer them food, fame, fortune or some combo of the three, and you might find that your already-large cup suddenly became overflowing with delicious Korean barbecue.

Many locals flock to the food trucks because it helps to support the growth of small businesses. Frequent customers to the weekly event feel they are supporting Utah’s economy by purchasing their lunches at these locally owned small establishments.

“Anything that helps a local business helps Utah’s economy,” Young said. “It keeps the money flowing locally.”

j.julian@chronicle.utah.edu