When lunch rolls up and you’re looking for a quick eat, which food truck on campus delivers the goods? Brian Pham, a sophomore studying marketing and minoring in psychology, set out on a journey to discover all the delectables that abound at these culinary oases across the U.
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Melty Way has figured out how to transform a modest American comfort food—the humble grilled cheese—into a gourmet sandwich that’ll make you question everything you know about grilled cheeses. Turkey bacon grilled cheese? Why not? Short rib and provolone? You got it.
With nine different sandwiches, it becomes so hard to choose just one. You may find yourself tempted to get two.
Combining global flavors, Kafé Mamai offers a large menu of original African-Caribbean fusion dishes. Chef Abudu, who hails from Lamu, Kenya, cites reggae as a huge cultural influence. “Bob Marley created a young passion in me,” Abudu said, which took him to Jamaica, where he discovered Jamaican cuisine. Kafé Mamai’s food truck showcases this fusion at its best. From curry goat stew to fried plantains, all of Chef Abudu’s plates combine international flavors in a colorful, inventive and Halal-friendly way.
When asked what is his most popular dish, Abudu replied joyfully, “Everything is the most popular dish!” If you’re looking to try something sure to be both exciting and delicious, Kafé Mamai is a must-try.
Looking for an incredible curry? Tandooria has got your back. Their most popular dish is the classic chicken tikka masala, an Indian curry that is composed of boneless chunks of chicken marinated in spices and yogurt, served in a creamy curry sauce. Tandooria also offers some exciting fusion foods, such as the “Naanzza,” which is basically an Indian take on a pizza.
If you’re looking for something spicy, Tandooria can help you out. “Our curries got a lot of heat,” said chef Andy Chen. Don’t worry, there’s a mild option too.
Offering Japanese comfort food through a variety of dishes such as bento, which are packed lunch meals offering rice, steamed vegetables, pork gyoza, potato salad and an option of meat, the Bento food truck brings Japan to campus. Rotating specials such as their chicken katsu curry offer exciting flavors to regulars and newcomers alike.
Summer, a regular at Bento, usually gets the teriyaki chicken. “The rice is fluffy and I love it when it soaks up the sauce.” If you’re looking for some delicious comfort food, be sure to add Bento to your list.
8th Street Taco
Owned and run by a University of Utah alum, 8th Street Taco brings incredible Mexican food to campus. 8th Street Taco serves traditional street tacos with corn tortillas and six different options of meat, ranging from chorizo sausage to chicharrones pork belly. They even offer a vegetarian tofu option.
8th Street Taco emphasizes freshness, prioritizing locally sourced ingredients and opting to prepare all their ingredients and tacos on the spot, made to order. “A good taco has to be hot when you touch it” said truck owner Mike Witt.
Proudly showcasing Vietnamese cuisine, Hot Banh has a rich legacy of firsts. Nearly 30 years ago, the owners of Hot Banh opened the first Vietnamese restaurant in Salt Lake City, Café Trang. Eight years ago, it became the first food truck to make its way onto the U’s campus, cheerfully ladling meticulously cooked bowls of pho, with each pot of broth taking a whopping 24 hours to cook. At Hot Banh, getting a banh mi—a Vietnamese staple that features a baguette filled with grilled meat and vegetables—is an absolute must.
“You make a lot of friends,” said Chris, the owner of the truck. “They become family.” The community that surrounds the truck becomes just as important as the food. If you’re looking for delicious Vietnamese food with friendly faces, Hot Banh is the place to be.