Yes, you can—and should-- eat the street food in DC, but first you must know what to eat and where. Like many cities, the nation’s capital blooms with food trucks. Unlike many cities, DC’s meals on wheels include some tasty eateries that rival sit-down fare and cost much less.
Here’s a list of some of our favorites as well as their likely locales. Food trucks, remember, are mobile. To find their real time, temporary parking places, follow the food trucks on Twitter.
DC Empanadas serves imaginative versions of this Latin American staple. The half-moon shaped, fried dough pastries come with a variety of fillings-- beef, chicken, pork or vegetarian—often mixed with sauces, cheese and beans.
Little kids who like mild meals might try the June Cleaver (explain to your children who she was), a basic mix of sirloin, potatoes, peas and carrots. Those who prefer more sizzle, might like the WMD (Weapon of Max Deliciousness), spicy chili with cheddar cheese; the Irie Mon, jerk chicken in Jamaican hot sauce; and the La Venganza de Tio Shawn, chipotle chicken, garlic, black beans, corn and Monterrey Jack cheese.
DC Empanadas moves around, frequenting Chinatown/Penn Quarter, Farragut Square, Union Station and L’Enfant Plaza among other places.
Known simply as the “lobster truck,” Red Hook Lobster Pound serves delicious lobster rolls. You can opt for Maine style cold sandwiches with mayonnaise or the Connecticut style warm variety with butter. The “meal,” for $3 more, comes with chips and soda.
At $15, the lobster roll stretches the limits of “cheap,” especially for a family of four. Think of it this way: lunch here is less expensive than lobster at a sit-down restaurant. To spend less, order the shrimp roll, $8. Locales include Eastern Market and George Washington University, 23rd and H streets NW.
Need a sweet bite? Curbside Cupcakes serves tasty treats from two pink trucks that target downtown and Capitol Hill. The trucks sell several of the bakery’s 18 varieties. Favorites include German chocolate, peanut butter and gingerbread with cream cheese.
New to mobile food delivery, but not to Washington’s food scene is DC chef Spike Mendelsohn, owner of Good Stuff Eatery and We The Pizza. When Mendelsohn’s Sixth and Rye food truck rolls out May 20, it will be the city’s first kosher deli on wheels. Think corned beef sandwiches with Mendelsohn’s homemade potato chips and Israeli cous cous.
To start, this truck will stay in place, serving lunch on Fridays outside D.C.’s historic synagogue, Sixth & I. Like the other trucks, Sixth and Rye plans to roam the city.