Location can be a make-or-break factor in the restaurant game, but for these restaurants on wheels, their only address is the open road. Mobile restaurateurs still face big challenges from a licensing perspective, but nevertheless food truck numbers in South Africa have ballooned in the last year, giving diners the opportunity to indulge in Nutella bombs overlooking the ocean, gourmet coffee in the heart of inner-city Jozi and oolong tea at rock festivals.
Cape Town residents are particularly blessed in the food truck department, and news that the Cape Town City Council is working with food trucks to create a dedicated trading area suggests the number will grow even more in coming months. As summer takes off, here’s our guide to the ultimate alfresco dining: a list of food trucks currently operating in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.
Cafeteria Guerilla Gastronomica
On the menu: warm cooked oats, pan-toasted banana bread with yoghurt cream, fresh berries and cinnamon sugar, Thai curried roast butternut soup, slow-roast leg of lamb, chickpea and young spinach stew.
Popular haunts: Neighbourgoods Market on Saturdays and 73 Kloof Street Mondays to Fridays.
Follow: @cafeteriamobile on Twitter and Facebook or visit the website
Cape Town Food Trucks runs a fleet of three food trucks (and is busy working on a fourth):
Follow: @CTFoodTrucks on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or visit their website for details on the movements of these three:
On the menu: cheesy calzones, risotto and moreish Nutella bombs.
Popular haunts: Oudekraal on Wednesdays and Sundays (weather permitting), and Salt River Circle most lunchtimes during the week.
On the menu: a selection of fresh juices.
Haunts: Oudekraal on Wednesdays and Sundays (weather permitting), and Salt River Circle most lunchtimes during the week.
On the menu: gourmet diner-style treats like pulled pork sandwiches, chilli popppers, corndogs, cheeseburgers, and Oreo and Nutella milkshakes.
Popular haunts: Harrington Street, Oudekraal, and the Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill.
Follow: @CTFoodTrucks or The Grubbery’s own Twitter account, @GrubberyTruck.
Detour Espresso Bar
On the menu: coffee, a small range of Dilmah teas, hot chocolate and snacks from Bags of Bites.
Popular haunts: Oudekraal on Victoria Road mornings during the week and on sunny, wind-free Sundays.
Follow: email@example.com or 073 361 3453
Die Wors Rol
On the menu: Betsy (as the truck is called) is run by the chef of current Top 10 restaurant Overture, Bertus Basson, and serves hotdogs with 22cm sausages made with Sweetwell Farm meat, specials sauces and thrice-fried chips.
Popular haunts: Caters to festivals, private parties, and occasionally at markets.
Follow: @DieWorsRol, call 078 822 2885, or visit the website.
Durban’s finest curry
On the menu: spicy burgers and chips, bunny chow, butter chicken, samosas, crayfish and prawn curry.
Popular haunts: Oudekraal and events.
Follow: @durbsfinestcurry on Twitter, and Facebook
El Burro (run by the owners of the Greenpoint restaurant of the same name.)
On the menu: Mexican street food such as ceviche, chilli rellenos, various tacos and churros.
Popular haunts: The Neighbourgoods Market and private events.
Follow: @_El_Burro on Twitter.
The Good Life
On the menu: prawn tempura with sumac aioli, designer beef burger with truffle infusion, venison burger with bourbon-poached pears and brie, Thai crab salad wrap, Moroccan chicken and vegetable cous cous pita.
Popular haunts: Oudekraal or in front of Charly’s Bakery on Harrington Street. Also look out for them at the following festivals and events: Earthdance in Piketberg, Braai Day at Hillcrest Quarry, Rocking The Daisies, Prime Circle at Hillcrest Quarry, Kamers Vol Geskenke at Wedersburg, Stellenbosh.
Follow: @thegoodlife_ct on Twitter and Facebook.
Lady Bonin’s Tea Parlour
On the menu: a range of hot and iced loose-leaf teas. Try the red-spiced choc chilli chai (owner Jessica Bonin’s own blend), petal ceylon, jasmine green, red berry, yerba mate and the orange flavoured oolong.
Popular haunts: markets, festivals, events and private functions in and around Cape Town. There’s also a stand-alone store at The Woodstock Foundry.
Lotus Food Truck
On the menu: contemporary Asian street food inspired by co-manager Kyle Miller’s trip through South East Asia. Expect Asian braised beef short rib, spicy green mango salads with prawns, Vietnamese bahn mi rolls with pork belly and pickled cabbage, and chicken satays with peanut dipping sauce. They also serve a range of homemade iced teas and Vietnamese coffees.
Popular hangouts: public, private events, weddings and festivals.
Follow: @LOTUSfoodtruck on Twitter and Facebook
The Soft Machine
On the menu: soft-serve ice cream in bespoke flavours such as moerkoffie with spice snaps, sweetcorn with tomato jam, and real strawberry with meringues.
Popular haunts: in summer you can find them at the Neighbourgoods Market at Woodstock’s Old Biscuit Mill, but until the weather heats up they’re focusing on private weddings and events.
Follow: @softmachine1 , or on Facebook.
On the menu: burgers, boerie rolls, salads and chicken wraps.
Popular haunts: Sea Point Promenade – they also do events and functions.
Follow: @Tebbs-Kitchen and they are also on Facebook.
On the menu:German sausages and curry wurst.
Popular haunts: events, year-end functions and Garden Route area.
Balkan Burger Bus
On the menu: Serbian-influenced burgers.
Popular haunts: Neighbourgoods Market JHB on Saturdays, The Fourways Farmers Market on Sundays, and Market on Main on Sundays.
Down to Earth Farm Feasts
On the menu: part food truck, part pop-up, the dynamic team at Down to Earth prepare bespoke feasts in their converted Bedford truck.
Popular haunts: Individual events at farms around Gauteng.
Follow: on Facebook or visit their website
On the menu: gourmet tramezzinis and other simple food.
Popular haunts: Melville and surrounds, East Rand and Pretoria, as well as private functions and sports events.
Follow: They are currently on a break while owner Shenny Manning recuperates from an injury, and plan to reopen in two to three months’ time. For updates, check Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the menu: lamb on the spit, boerie rolls, hot dogs, pregos and hamburgers.
Popular haunts: sports events and festivals
Follow: https://www.facebook.com/longtom.foods and http://www.longtomfoods.co.za/
The Tutto Food Co.
On the menu: flatbreads and paellas.
Popular haunts: Sandton (corner Gwen and Maude streets), Market on Main (Currently on a break while owner Shenny Manning recouperates from an injury. They plan to reopen in 2-3 months time), Desmond Street Kramerville, and the Midrand Gautrain Office car park.
Follow: @tuttofoodco on Twitter and Facebook.
Afro’s Braai’d Chick’n
On the menu: braaied chicken, served as burgers or strips with hand-cut potato chips and ‘hot’ or ‘koel’ sauces.
Popular haunts: markets, events, scenic road verges or near the beach.
Follow: @afroschicken. http://www.afroschicken.co.za/
By Katharine Jacobs