The Denver Food Truck Dishes You Should Make Your Staples
It can be easy to fall into eating habits. You always order the same pizza from the same place. Always get extra pickles on your burger from the bar down the street. Always hit up the same food truck for the same tacos on Wednesdays. But by sticking to your same-old routine, you’re actually missing out on a lot. Today’s the day it stops, because we’ve done the hard work of finding your next great meal for you. From the soul food-style vegan (yes, vegan) burrito you never knew you needed to fries loaded with something other than the typical chili and cheese, these are the food truck dishes you never thought to order, but should. ASAP.
Lomito Gourmet: Ceviche Mixto
Denver’s one and only Peruvian food truck is worth seeking out for a taste of its vibrant cuisine no matter what you order. But while many food truck dishes go the heavy, fried, cheese-laden route, this ceviche is light and fresh and won’t leave you needing a post-meal nap. In the Mile High, ceviche is most often found on the menu at Mexican restaurants, but the dish of raw fish “cooked” via the acidity of citrus juice actually originated in Peru. Lomito’s take features a veritable ocean’s worth of seafood delights including fish, shrimp, calamari, and octopus marinated simply with lime, onion, spicy Peruvian peppers, and cilantro. It’s served with Peruvian corn and sweet potatoes, so while it’s light and refreshing, you won’t be in need of an afternoon snack after lunching on this less-than-typical food truck fare.
Areyto Puerto Rican Food: Mofongo Relleno
Denver’s food scene keeps on growing, but one cuisine that’s tough to find in the metro area is Puerto Rican eats. Enter Areyto, which serves up a slew of traditional dishes from its mobile kitchen. But for a taste of what Areyto bills as “Puerto Rico’s main dish,” mofongo, you’ll have to visit the truck during dinner service or on the weekend -- this relleno’s not available for weekday lunch. The dish but is more than worth seeking out, however: Garlicky, spiced mashed green plantain is stuffed with your choice of meat for a savory, filling meal that’s especially perfect when you’re pregaming for a night out or a weekend beer-drinking adventure. And when we say “choice of meat,” we really mean go with the crispy pork.
Yuan Wonton: Chinese Szechuan Eggplant Dumpling
This truck may be brand new to the mobile eats scene in the Mile High, but its owner, Penelope Wong, is a culinary vet with nearly 20 years of executive chef experience. Now, she’s cranking out dumplings so perfect in appearance, it’s tough to believe that each is freshly handmade. But they are. And while meatier choices like the pork and shrimp are proving to be crowd favorites, there’s another that deserves your full admiration: eggplant. Sure, that orb of often spongy flesh is not something most people crave on the regular. But in Wong’s hands, the eggplant filling for this flawlessly creased, pillowy dumpling becomes a creamy, savory treat the likes of which you will not want to share. In fact, just go ahead and get two orders to be on the safe side.
When it comes to “Mexican street snacks,” tacos are the obvious choice. And there are indeed a lot of food trucks slinging some amazing tacos in town. But Cocotaso offers a different spin on south-of-the-border mobile kitchen cuisine with a lineup that includes nachos, aguas frescas, and paletas. While those are all tasty, it’s the Po’bre sandwich that has it all: Imagine a po’boy-style baguette with pickled veggies and jalapenos à la a banh mi paired with ham and avocado (aka the traditional torta ingredients). The spice, crunch from the veggies, protein-packed ham, and spicy aioli for good measure make for a serious lunch sandwich upgrade.
Barbed Wire Reef: Piggy Fries Meal
This truck, which frequents breweries around town, now has a brick & mortar location on 38th, but the mobile version of this wild game-centric eatery is still making the rounds. Brats are a main draw, with options ranging from the familiar (to Colorado residents, anyway), like elk and buffalo to the less common, like rattlesnake. But for a really memorable meal, look past the tube meat on a bun and get a dish that highlights this spot’s tastiest specialty: wild boar. You could get it sandwich-style, but the piggy fries combines both pulled wild boar meat and boar bacon loaded on top of Parmesan truffle fries with extra cheese for good measure. It’s an amped up version of loaded fries that’s not to be missed.
When you want a frozen treat, it’s easy to gravitate toward the typical ice cream truck because, well, ice cream is delicious. So when you see a truck slinging a dessert that’s vegan, gluten-free, Whole30-friendly, etc, etc, it might be tempting to pass it over. Well, don’t. Yes, everything at this banana-based, 100% fruit, frozen treat truck has no added sugar, which means, yes, it is a pretty healthy option for your sweet cravings. But it’s also just straight up tasty, even if bananas are not your favorite fruit. And while you can order any of the rotating flavors in a cup, what you should really do is opt for what might be the most refreshing beverage ever -- one of their rotating float flavors made with mandarin lime soda. And if you happen to catch the melon pineapple option on the menu, don’t plan on sharing.
Wong Way Veg: BBQ Jackfruit Burrito
Is it weird that one of the most indulgent food truck dishes in town comes from a spot specializing in vegan eats? Maybe. But who cares when it tastes this good. Like a vegan cross between a southern soul food feast and a burrito, this concoction is loaded with barbecue jackfruit, carrot-cashew queso mac & cheese, and collard green coleslaw. It’s meaty without the meat, creamy without the cheese, and hearty -- partially thanks to the scratch-made ingredients and partially thanks to the passion that best friends and owners Lisa Wong and Natalie Gilbert put into every dish they serve.