The Food Truck Trend Comes to Colombia

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Gorila Fusion was the first food truck I tried because it reminded me of Takorean in Washington, DC.
Bogotá food truck park
The food truck park in Bogotá is a great place to go for lunch…or dinner.

They became the reason I signed up for Twitter. I wanted to find the best food trucks because a trend was taking hold in big cities across the United States, and these mobile businesses got the word out about their daily location on social media.

I started following Takorean and Red Hook Lobster, District Taco and Sabor’a Street.

Until then, I had found Twitter useless. In Bogotá, where the food truck trend has arrived and these mobile food stations are becoming as popular as they are in the states, Twitter is useless.

There are currently about 25 trucks here, and I decided to go to Bogotá’s primary food truck park, a lot at the southeast corner of Calle 81 and Carrera 14, next to Centro Comercial Atlantis Plaza. They are open for lunch and dinner everyday, except Sundays and holidays.

There were seven businesses, and now there are six, serving everything from Asian/Latin fusion to authentic roast beef sandwiches, although in my short time here I’ve seen a couple of trucks leave and new ones arrive, so I’ll continue to try them all.

It might be silly to make a Top 5 when there are only six, and the park has room for only one more, and there are many trucks in other parts of the city, and I know I’ve only done “Best Of” stories for everything in Medellín.

Well, there are two reasons:

1. I wanted to highlight a trend that I can update as I try more trucks.

2. Colombia’s second city, despite an emerging food truck trend (which Dave will tell you about soon), was not the first place to establish a presence of these restaurants on wheels the way the capital did.

So we’ll start with a Top 5 here, then eventually move on to making a post just like it for Medellín, when the time is right.

I decided to take my crepe from Francachella to a nearby park to eat it. It was so good, it wouldn't have mattered where I ate it.
I decided to take my crepe from Francachella to a nearby park to eat it. It was so good, it wouldn’t have mattered where I ate it.

1. Francachella

Technically Francachella is not on wheels so you could argue it should not qualify for a spot in the best food trucks in Bogotá. But this little stand is among the trucks in the park, and it’s not as if the trucks go anywhere either.

Perhaps more important, the food is the best in the park.

I ordered a crepe with pork, tomatoes, mashed potatoes and some kind of mustard sauce, I believe it was. It was huge. Really tasty too.

I paid 14,000 pesos (about $7), maybe a little pricey by Medellín prices, but quite a deal in the capital, where everything is more expensive.

To put it another way, you’d pay more at Crepes & Waffles for something inferior to Francachella.

Always nice to find a burger cooked the right way. Thanks, Bacon Street.
Always nice to find a burger cooked the right way. Thanks, Bacon Street.

2. Bacon Street

It’s hard to find a great burger in Colombia. The people here almost always overcook the meat, something I constantly complain about, mainly because it’s so simple to avoid doing it.

Bacon Street understands this.

My meat was pink in the middle and not overwhelmed with salt. My friend Loon shared his food with me, as I gave him half of my roast beef sandwich.

The burger and fries cost 14,000 pesos (about $7).

Even better than the burger, though, is that the menu has poutine, a dish of fries, bacon, cheese and gravy, really bad for you but oh so good.

I paid only 10,000 pesos (about $5) for it, and it was worth it.

I'm happy I found a real roast beef sandwich at Roller Toaster.
I’m happy I found a real roast beef sandwich at Roller Toaster.

3. Roller Toaster

Finally, real roast beef in Colombia.

I never found it in Medellín. I mean, I found roast beef sandwiches, but the meat was awful, something that seemed processed and full of preservatives, hence the reason it was not one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in Medallo.

At Roller Toaster, they make you a great sandwich with the kind of quality meat found in delis in the United States, only for half the price.

The sandwich is called The Rocket (14,000 pesos, or about $7), and lettuce and tomatoes are part of the sandwich along with a red wine sauce. Although the sauce is tasty, I wish they would use less of it.

When you have great roast beef, I like to let the flavor of the meat be the primary taste.

Bulgogi tacos are one of the original food truck creations and Gorila Fusion is following suit.
Bulgogi tacos are one of the original food truck creations and Gorila Fusion is following suit.

4. Gorila Fusion

Gorila Fusion reminds me of Takorean, just with more options.

I had the bulgogi tacos combo, which came with fries and a soda, for 17,000 pesos (about $9). I could not finish the fries and gave it to the guy I paid to shine my shoes at the nearby plaza outside the Carulla at Calle 85.

But I liked the fries, which had a great seasoning, garlic and paprika among the spices, I think. And of course I liked the tacos, which were filled with lots of beef, lettuce and onions.

The hoison burrito with pork is pretty good too. Now I just have to try the kung pao quesadilla.

The ceviche option at Patacón Peca'o is a good snack or appetizer. Next time, I'll try something more filling.
The ceviche option at Patacón Peca’o is a good snack or appetizer. Next time, I’ll try something more filling.

5. Patacón Peca’o

I’ve found that some people in Colombia are arepa people, some favor patacones. If I had to choose, I’d pick patacones.

At Petacón Peca’o, they prepare these fried, crispy bananas in the shape of a bowl, which they fill with everything from ceviche to pork to vegetables.

I picked the ceviche option, a small bowl for only 7,000 pesos (about $3.50). You can see in the pic that it is quite small.

It was all I needed on that day, just something to hold me until the big Christmas eve dinner I was preparing with my friends from Manizales.

The ceviche needed more spice, as it seemed to lack the pepper Peruvians include in one of their most famous dishes, but I understand that most Colombians are not fans of spicy food and it is tailored to them, naturally.

I’m just happy it wasn’t Colombian-style ceviche. Shrimp in a sauce of ketchup, lime juice and mayo isn’t the most appetizing thing in the world.

Were it made that way, there’s no way it would be on my list of the best food trucks in Bogotá.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Loved this article. Food and Bogota just seem to go hand in hand. When I first saw these food trucks I gasped for joy, it was like being back in San Feancisco and Oakland all over again. These food trucks have amazing food. Glad you enjoyed them.

  2. I was glad to read the article , but the prices really surprised me- way too high, in US price range. How can locals afford such prices with their incomes?

    • These newer, gourmet food trucks are aimed at mid- to upper-class Colombians. There are more than enough people that fit this demographic to support a growing food truck culture in the major cities.

      The food trucks tend to congregate in certain locations, in part, due to regulations about where they can sell in the city and I suspect, a strength in numbers mentality.

      I’m not familiar with this park in Bogotá, but in Medellín, they are a fixture in the park at Ciudad del Río every weekend, which is in Poblado, which means the people living in the nearby apartments are upper-middle class and can afford a $7 sandwich if they choose.