The Best Street Eats in Washington, D.C.

By capitalcooking on May 19th, 2016

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More than 200 food trucks roam The District, serving myriad options for al fresco dining. / Laurie Wallin and Lauren DeSantis

Washingtonians celebrate spring-like temperatures in the U.S. capital. As one of America's top cities for al fresco dining via food trucks, we asked our contributor in Washington, D.C., Lauren DeSantis, to give us the low down.

With more than 200 trucks serving Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas of Virginia and Maryland, offerings go well beyond the standard food cart hot dog offerings. D.C.’s myriad trucks offer choices ranging from pizza to BBQ to Vietnamese to Indian to pasta. One of the most popular websites for tracking DC’s food truck scene is Food Truck Fiesta. This site includes truck updates, events and a daily map that refreshes based on trucks’ twitter feeds to show diners where in the city they will be that day.

Trucks aren’t just a popular lunch option. Events such as Truckeroo in the spring and summer provide patrons with the opportunity to sample multiple trucks in one place. Farragut Fridays at D.C.’s Farragut Square is a popular gathering place for Friday lunches, and you’ll often see trucks catering events, both private and public. Food trucks are also a great way for aspiring chefs to introduce their food to customers. Many D.C.-area food trucks, including TaKorean, SUNdeVICH, District Taco and Hula Girl experienced such success that they opened brick and mortar locations.

Here are some of the best food trucks in the nation’s capital.

1. DC Slices

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Courtesy of Laurie Wallin and Lauren DeSantis

Always piping hot, fresh, and offering creative toppings (buffalo chicken and meatball with gouda aren’t ones you see on a regular basis, DC Slices serves up some of the best pizza in the city. Aside from pizza, they also offer tater tots (several varieties, including plain, old bay and Cajun), cheese tots, Mozzarella sticks, St. Louis-style fried ravioli, and a salad whose ingredients rotates with the seasons.

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Courtesy of Laurie Wallin and Lauren DeSantis

2. South Meets East

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Courtesy of Laurie Wallin and Lauren DeSantis

Named one of the area’s top food trucks by Washingtonian Magazine, South Meets East serves rice bowls, burritos and tacos – each of which can be customized with your choice of protein and toppings. Choices range from grilled with black bean corn salsa, lime crema and cilantro to Vietnamese-style roast pork with carrot and daikon slaw, aioli and cilantro. For those who aren’t carnivores, there is also a vegetarian option with avocado as a substitute for protein. They also offer chips and guacamole/salsa as sides.

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Courtesy of Laurie Wallin and Lauren DeSantis

3. BBQ Bus

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Courtesy of Laurie Wallin and Lauren DeSantis

BBQ Bus offers myriad options for BBQ lovers, including pulled pork, brisket, chicken, and ribs, along an expansive selection of sides that include BBQ bus beans, bacon mashed potatoes, fire-roasted corn and vinaigrette slaw. They also offer a three-bean chili and serve by the pound for really hungry folks! They also offer at least five different sauces, so there’s plenty of ways diners can customize their meal.

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Courtesy of Laurie Wallin and Lauren DeSantis

4. Red Hook Lobster Pound

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Courtesy of Laurie Wallin and Lauren DeSantis

The outfit that helped put D.C.’s food truck scene on the map is the original Red Hook Lobster Pound truck. Offering two types of lobster rolls (Maine style, cold with mayo, and Connecticut style, warm with butter), lobster macaroni and cheese, clam chowder, shrimp rolls and whoopee pies, this truck remains one of the best. Don’t miss the apple cider in the winter.

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Courtesy of Laurie Wallin and Lauren DeSantis

5. Crepes Parfait

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Courtesy of Laurie Wallin and Lauren DeSantis

Complete with uniforms and French music, this authentic food truck serves sweet and savory crepes. Served on organic buckwheat, fillings for the savory crepes include ham, chicken, veggie and at least one special, which has ranged from sausage to lamb. Diners also have the option of getting their crepe with extra toppings. Crepes Parfait also offers a daily soup option as well as an extensive menu of drinks that range from house-made lemonades to coffee drinks. Sweet crepes always include one daily special as well as Nutella and banana, orange and cinnamon and lemon and butter.

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Courtesy of Laurie Wallin and Lauren DeSantis

6. Captain Cookie and the Milkman

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Courtesy of Laurie Wallin and Lauren DeSantis

Looking for dessert? Look no further than Captain Cookie and the Milkman, which serves fresh-baked cookies alongside milk and ice cream. Flavors range from traditional chocolate chip to snickerdoodle to blueberry to M&M, with ice cream flavors including the traditional vanilla and chocolate but usually offer a seasonal option, too. Don’t miss the build-your-own cookie and ice cream sandwiches.

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Courtesy of Laurie Wallin and Lauren DeSantis

With so many trucks and so many options, there’s something out there for everyone. Be sure to be on the lookout for these trucks, as well as the hundreds of others that can be found roaming the city

Meet the author

Washington D.C.

Lauren DeSantis combines her passions for food and television in Capital Cooking with Lauren DeSantis, a television series highlighting the culinary and cultural riches of cities around the globe. By incorporating dishes from the many ethnic cuisines, Lauren's cooking style is continually evolving. In each episode, Lauren takes viewers gastronomic journey to cook with the best chefs from around the world.... More