Food Truck Nation

23 Sep

I’ve been meaning to read this article by Jonathan Gold for a while now and finally got a chance to. Even though I’d consider myself a moderately serious foodie I had no idea that food trucks were duking it out with their restaurant competitors.

When I think about it though, it makes sense. Just look at the area surrounding USC where food trucks are abound and so are the crowds following them. Students will make 15 minute treks to their favorite food truck without even considering the dining commons 5 minutes away. Restaurants are falling short in the competition. And instead of improving their appeal, they’ve turned to food fratricide by trying to kill the business of their mobile brothers.

But even if legislation that restricts where food trucks can operate passes, will it really help return business back to restaurants feeling the pains of this national obsession? I don’t think so. Even if I have to walk, bike, or even drive farther to satisfy my food truck cravings, I’ll do it. It’s not because the food trucks will guarantee an amazing meal or that the prices are necessarily better, it’s because of the experience they provide. Jonathan Gold eloquently sums this up:

The draw could be the communal experience, or it could be the feeling that you belong to a fraternity of the plugged-in. It could be that moment that defines street food of all types — your food is cooked, served and consumed in what seems like a single fluid motion; desire and fulfillment becoming one. Or it could be the impulse of citizenship: This sidewalk looks a lot like Los Angeles.

For me, eating is about connecting with friends over (hopefully) good food in the city I have grown to love for its fast-paced, unpredictable nature. You can’t achieve this while dining in a restaurant that boxes you into a set dining environment.

For those of you who experience life through food, we can’t let legislation win. I’ll see you all at the food trucks today and for many days to come.

-E.Kim

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