Sure there are plenty of brick and mortar restaurants to visit in Charleston, but who doesn't enjoy the thrill of the chase as you hunt down a new food truck? The mobile kitchens of the Lowcountry tend to move around from week to week, so check the schedules twice before trekking out for lunch. Here are the essential trucks to look for while on the road.
Presented in alphabetical order.
AutoBanh keeps the crowds happy with Vietnamese sandwiches varying from "Low n' Slow" pork, crispy chicken, and curry fried tofu. Look for the big purple truck if you're craving a baguette stuffed with filling, yet not heavy, sustenance.
It's bacon, bacon, and more bacon at Bac'n Me Crazy. Those not worried about their cholesterol intake should try the Triple Bacon Burger, a bacon-filled burger with bacon strips, lettuce, tomato, and bacon aioli. There's chocolate bacon for dessert.
"Food for the Soul" Cast Iron food truck serves a mean barbecue sandwich but also caters to vegetarians with a smoked portabello version.
With a name like Charleston Caribbean Creole, of course the truck offers traditional Caribbean and Creole flavors like crab rice, conch fritters, ropa vieja, and smoked gator. This mobile kitchen's gumbo is said to be the best in Charleston.
Newcomer Dashi has all the foods you want after a few beers: tacos, banh mi, ramen, and Thai wings. The slogan for Dashi is "Put some Sriracha in your sombrero." Chef Stephen Thompson won acclaim for his food at Prohibition, and now he's trying a new menu on the road.
Find Fauzia's Kitchen if you want a taste of modern Afghan cuisine. Look for healthy portions of hummus, kabobs, and tabouli.
Blazing red mobile kitchen The Immortal Lobster serves chilled lobster rolls with mayo (Maine-style) and warm lobster rolls with butter (Connecticut-style), along with vegetarian options. The truck is brand new, so find them to support the Lowcountry's latest food truck addition.
It's a little bit of everything at Lunchbox. The bus is described as "Southern Gourmet Soul-food & BBQ with a Tex-Mex Flare." If you're willing to hunt down the big yellow mobile kitchen, Taco Tuesdays are the most popular day to visit.
Find the Outta My Huevos team at the downtown Farmers' Market every Saturday. Their menu of fried chicken biscuits, warm vegetable salads, and huevos rancheros will keep you going well past lunch. And if you need more than a Saturday fix, track the brightly-colored truck on the streets of the Holy City.
Vietnamese-influenced Pink Bellies is usually found on the corner of Calhoun and St. Philip Streets. Nearby students and employees know that chef Thai Phi serves one of the best deals on the peninsula — for $5 you can score a fresh banh mi with pâté, ham, roasted pork, pork belly, and all the traditional accoutrements. Also try the noodle bowl specials and Vietnamese iced coffee.
Mobile Mediterranean truck Platia doles out Greek snacks, pitas, salads, and housemade yogurt. The blue and white truck serves traditional fare, but also has a sense of humor and offers the "Hillbilly" pita full of feta pimento cheese and chicken for the uninitiated.
The Roadside Seafood truck was so popular, they set up a brick and mortar space on Folly Road. The truck still runs the streets, however, serving up expertly fried fish, fresh shrimp, and other bites straight from the ocean.
Home of the famous "Thurman Murman," Roti Rolls has served up overstuffed Asian flatbreads since 2010. Seek them out if you're a fan of kimchi, short ribs, macaroni and cheese, or curried vegetables. If you can't find the truck, Roti Rolls posts up at the downtown Farmers' Market every Saturday.
"Untraditional Japanese" truck Short Grain is fairly new to the Charleston scene, but chef Shuai Wang and partner Corrie Wachob are already winning fans with their delicious takes on traditional Japanese rice bowls and okonomi waffles made with local produce.
Beacon-in-the-night Zombie Bob's Pizza is best after a long evening of drinking. If you can find this mobile kitchen after a few pints, order a giant slice of cheesy pizza, and you'll feel like you've found the Holy Grail of hangover preventers.