With the advent of reality shows like the Food Network’s the Great Food Truck Race, I’ve watched food trucks multiply at Boston’s busiest street corners and squares. While it once was just an ice cream truck on Boylston St., now food of all kinds are served up streetside. Whether you’re craving a caramel macchiato cupcake or slow-roasted Australian lamb, you can find it on four wheels. With all the mobile kitchens zipping downtown, it can be difficult to discern which ones are cooking meals that are good for both body and wallet.
Best for your buck: You might have noticed vegetarian fare from the Clover Food Lab truck on the Common during lunchtime. All of its sandwiches, including the hallmark chickpea fritter, are $6, and feature local ingredients. Clover features seasonal items, like the fennel sandwich with feta and hazelnut. The ingredients are quality, the preparation spot-on, and all at an average food truck price point.
While the egg and fried eggplant sandwich is on the heavier side, the smoky barbeque seitan — a whole wheat protein — makes a delicious sandwich and tallies in at less than 350 calories.
Clover trucks can be found across the city, but their hangout at Park Street is perfect for Emerson students. Updates, including soup of the day, are tweeted @cloverfoodtruck.
Best for your body: Bon Me Trucks were voted by Shape magazine as one of the top 10 food trucks for a healthy, portable meal. Find the blue or yellow trucks at various locations, including City Hall, Dewey Square, and Copley, turning out fresh Vietnamese dishes. For $6, you can top a noodle salad, sandwich, or rice bowl with spice-rubbed chicken, barbequed pork, or a combination of organic tofu and shiitake mushrooms. Buckwheat soba noodles are a healthy, gluten-free, and protein-rich alternative.
The healthiest option is brown rice with pickled carrots, daikon — an earthy root vegetable popular in Asian cuisine — greens, bean sprouts, and scallions, served with a soy drizzle. Add the duo of tofu and mushrooms to get yourself over an afternoon slump.
You can find Bon Me at all their locations by watching for updates @bonme.
Best for breakfast: If you don’t feel like microwaving your breakfast, track down the Green Bean Mobile Café, which features all organic, fair trade ingredients, for half of what you’d pay at a brick and mortar storefront. Green Bean brews French vanilla, hazelnut, and chocolate peppermint coffee blends for a satisfying caffeine fix. Patrons can also create a custom yogurt parfait or grab a breakfast sandwich, each option only $3.75. The Edith sandwich is a menu standout, balancing creamy egg and goat cheese with sweet roasted red peppers. Avoid the waffle sandwiches loaded with sugars and fat: they might be a sweet bite, but they’ll leave you with a sugar crash before classes are over.
Catch the Green Bean at Copley Place for your morning meal, and follow them at @ilovegreenbean.
Runners-up include Momogoose — a Southeast Asian concession that also offers healthy meal bowls, including salads. Opt for tofu, and you can dine for $5.
Crave Mexican at the Taco Truck. Here,you’ll get sustainable products, an extensive menu, and a great value. Mushroom tacos with seasonal vegetables and salsa are a healthy choice for $4.50.
Finally, eat at Emerson alum James DiSabatino’s truck, Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese. The Green Muenster Melt, topped with homemade guacamole and applewood bacon, isn’t your mother’s sandwich.
Download Boston’s exclusive food truck app on your mobile phone, Street Food Boston, or visit cityofboston.gov for a complete list of Boston’s food trucks and where and when to find them.