Mark Baratelli of TheDailyCity.com, producer of The Food Truck Bazaar and promoter of all things Orlando
It’s been almost a year since the first Food Truck Bazaar was held at Discovery Church in Orlando and what a year it has been. Ever since then, food trucks have arrived in a big way on the Orlando Food scene and the foodie landscape will never be the same. Featured spotlights on the Cooking Channel, Fox 35, and even a new Best Food Truck category in the Orlando Sentinel’s Annual Foodie Awards, and more have all brought attention and acclaim to the ever-growing food truck world.
There has been a lot of criticism about the hours and locations of these food trucks, some who appear and disappear and reappear at the slightest excuse or cold breeze or only showing up at food truck events rather than operating in a dependable location and time. This happened to me personally a few times when I tried to show up at a food truck spot and there were no food trucks there. To be safe, just check their twitter feeds ( I try to gather them all in an easy list here https://twitter.com/#!/TastyChomps/orlando-food-trucks ). Usually if they haven’t tweeted in a day it means they’re probably not out operating. The food truck landscape is still shaping and evolving to the needs of the city as well as the business needs so please do be patient.
This past weekend, almost as a sign of the maturing food truck industry, the largest food truck bazaar in the history of the city went down in the back parking lots of the Orlando Fashion Square Mall with 35 food trucks on site. The truck’s offerings ran the gamut from barbecue, soul, Caribbean, new American, Vietnamese, Middle-eastern, Sushi, cupcakes, desserts, crepes, pretty much all you could want from every cuisine all conveniently located in a two block radius. It was one of the coldest Sundays of the season but many families and participants still came out to enjoy the good food.
I saw one of the new trucks in town “Saigon Sizzle”, a Vietnamese food truck based out of Orange City. The owners of Saigon Sizzle are a friendly and sincere Asian American husband and wife team who are proud to show off their menu of banh mi sandwiches, Vietnamese rice noodle bowls with grilled pork and chicken, and rice platters, all topped with your choice of sriracha, soy sauce, or thai sweet and spicy chili sauce at the table.
I knew I probably won’t be travelling to Orange City any time soon so I had to take the opportunity and order the chicken and pork tacos ($6 for two) from the Saigon Sizzle food truck. The tacos were full of fresh grilled soy sauce and fish sauce marinated chicken and pork, pickled carrots, cucumbers, and fresh herbs all wrapped in a soft tortilla. It was enjoyable, especially with the great abundance of fresh veggies in the taco and the added topping of the spicy chili sauce. I wish them much luck out in Orange City and hope they get to come down to Orlando more often, though it will be tough to compete with the great Vietnamese restaurants in the Mills 50 district at the heart of the city.
Saigon Sizzle food truck of Orange City
Grilled beef and rice noodle platter
Vietnamese Chicken and Pork tacos from Saigon Sizzle
A few stops down, the large white truck of Island Paradise sat with its large grill hooked up to the back and scenes of the Caribbean island life and Christian scriptures graffiti-ed on the sides. The proprietor is a kindly woman with a big smile and roots from the islands. The menu consists of ribs, jerk chicken, goat, oxtail, and other Caribbean/Jamaican staples. I ordered the jerk chicken with fresh cabbage and mac and cheese ($11) platter, a huge meal probably about two hearty meals worth in a styrofoam to go container. The jerk chicken was the best I have had in Orlando, the chicken was tender and flavorful, full of all sorts of delicious spices and peppers, and it had that awesome grilled/smoked flavor that you can’t get anywhere else, like you are back in St. Martin or Jamaica enjoying some nice barbecue on the beach side. Wonderful. The cabbage was also very flavorful and delicious, steamed and cooked to perfection. I loved their steamed cabbage. The mac and cheese was also pleasant and a treat for my inner child, though it’s no friend to my health. They are usually located near Rio Grande and Church Street but I would call them to be sure 407-928-6336
Jerk Chicken from Island Paradise with Steamed Cabbage and Mac and Cheese
Also spotted at the Food Truck Bazaar, the cute new truck for The Crepe Company, found most days at the Winter Park Food Truck Stop on US 17/92. They make both savory crepes with ham and turkey and cheese, etc. as well as sweet crepes with nutella, banana, and more.
The Crepe Lady
Nutella and Banana Crepe from The Crepe Company
Sisters May and June enjoying the warm crepe in the cold winter afternoon at the Food Truck Bazaar in Orlando
Big Wheel Food Truck !
Big Wheel’s Fresh Plant City Strawberry soda made with a iSi Twist and Sparkle soda maker
Big Wheel Food Truck’s Moroccan style seared Florida Octopus with braised chickpea ragut, creme fraiche, and chive $8
5 Gastronomy, one of the new boys in town!
The Pimanti sandwich from Wicked Wiches of Tampa!
The Original Korean Taco Box I , a classic!
FOOD TRUCK BAZAAR SCHEDULE
1st Fridays Kissimmee: Kissimmee Civic Center, 201 E. Dakin Ave
1st Saturdays Sanford: Hood Ave at Seminole Blvd
1st Sundays Orange City: Lowes, 901 Saxon Blvd
2nd Fridays: Casselberry: City Hall on 17-92
2nd Sundays Orlando: Fashion Squaure Mall
3rd Sundays Oviedo: Lowes on Red Bug Lake Rd
4th Sundays Lake Nona: CrossPointe Church, 11002 Lake Hart Dr
The Food Truck Bazaar is (1) friends & family eating together (2) outdoors (3) from local food trucks (3) in an unexpected and often under-utilized urban space: a parking lot. As the original mobile gourmet food truck party in Central Florida started in March 2011 by Mark Baratelli, The Food Truck Bazaar (http://
WHO PRODUCES THIS?
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
1. Expect long lines
2. Some trucks will run out of food
3. Expect to experience 1 – 2 trucks
4. Prices are $6-$10 per meal
5. Picky kids should bring their own meals
6. Bring your own chairs, tables, tents. Think tailgating.
7. Some trucks take credit cards and all take cash.