Ode to the Taco Truck (Oliver Wang, The Atlantic on-line)

16 Aug

Image from samdiephius.com

Oliver Wang is an LA-based music writer and DJ. This piece was posted during a guest blog stint he did on The Atlantic’s website. In the wake of the ur-truck, Kogi, other high-end food trucks have thronged to LA, especially downtown, and around USC, in the last year or so. Wang says “respect the architects,” the less glamorous but vital (and tasty) Mexican taco trucks that have lined the streets for much longer.

…truly, the taco has become an integral part of American cuisine and as I’ve stressed, in Los Angeles, the taco truck is as local an institution as Jewish delis, Cantonese dim sum, and post-Spago-style pizzerias.

So, to me, I don’t care if your truck is mashing up Vietnamese banh mi with Philly cheesesteak or serving Filipino chicken adobo wrapped in lavash bread; if you’re a catering truck serving cheap food off the street, you’re still following the lead of the old fashioned taco trucks that have been a part of this city’s food fare for 30+ years.

Respect the architects.

The comments section is interesting. One writer says that S LA actually saw Kogi-type fusion way earlier than more gentrified parts of the city. What do you think? What do the new high-end food trucks owe to the humbler working people’s vehicle?

For the whole take, see here.


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