If you work a hectic job in a big city like I do, you know that changing up your lunch schedule from day to day is a daunting task on it own. Your lunch has to be three things: 1) cheap, 2) prepped fast, and 3) nearby. It doesn’t even have to taste that great if you’re in enough of a hurry, right? Wrong. Even though my New York City lunch money budget is a (scandalous!) $5 a day, I’m constantly on the hunt for yummy, interesting meals on the go. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that food trucks and lunch carts are Everyone’s. Best. Friends. And some are worth going over my budget for. Because I’ve found that so many of my co-workers, classmates, and fellow interns have never checked out a food truck, I’ll be spotlighting different ones I try. Up first we have Hibachi Heaven, along with my guide to your best food truck experience.
I realized that food trucks have gotten some major (ahem) street cred after the popularity of Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Everyone wants a piece of these pop-up lunch hubs! And even I, the least adventurous foodie out there, am getting in on the action. Hibachi Heaven is a fire-y Japanese food truck that frequently parks itself a block away from my office. With that location, it’s safe to say I’ve stopped by more than a couple times. Sometimes the line is ridiculously long, but the service is fast and you’ll get your food relatively quickly even at the lunch hour rush. Check out what I got:
Food trucks tend to keep their menus relatively simple as to speed up their service. Here, you pick your choice of meat (I got tofu, but the options also include beef, chicken, and shrimp), whether you want it in a wrap or a bowl, and your sauce (I got the Heavenly Ginger, but the others are mayo based Yum Yum Sauce or Wasabi Infused Mayo). My combo ran $7 for this huge plate of food, so it’s definitely workable.
The guys at Hibachi Heaven had great energy and service. They let everyone on the line know that tofu was grilled to order and it would take a couple more minutes than the other products to cook, giving us enough time to order early. It didn’t take that long at all, but the heads-up was definitely appreciated! And the dish itself was delicious! My coworkers literally smelled my food as I came back to my desk with it, and a few ran out to check out the truck themselves.
Some food trucks stick in one area and others travel around the city– or even the country! Lots of trucks frequent big events, hang around in parks, or ride around ice cream truck style in towns across the US. If you’re looking for a specific one, make sure to follow them on Twitter or check out the schedule on their website. (For Hibachi Heaven: @HibachiHeaven and they have a weekly schedule on their site.) But half the fun is stumbling across a truck you’ve never seen before. My advice? Check out their menu and give it a try! You may be introduced to a brand new dish to love. Even if it’s not exactly what you were hoping for, a drop-in visit from a new truck certainly livens up a boring lunchtime rut when you go to the same places for takeout week in and week out.