Three weeks have gone by since we published the first shout for Ultimate Philly Food Truck bracket nominations. It’s been a frenzied ride ever since, full of hunger pangs for fried thingamabobs and cravings for sprinkled frosting. As the initial list of 32 mobile vendors whittled down, our appetites grew bigger.
Now, it’s your turn to judge the trucks that have made it to the Elite Eight. Or, should we say… the Elite Ate. (Sorry.)
Your votes in the Sweet 16 led to a few landslide victories. In barbecueland, Oink & Moo BBQ’s fans pulled off a 70-to-30 percent win over Sum Pig. When it came to salty potato snacks, Tot Cart handily defeated Philly Fry by around the same margin. And in a surprise coup, Dump-N-Roll beat out the Cow and the Curd (69 to 31 percent).
In order to proceed to the conclusive distinction of Ultimate Philly Food Truck, four more greats will have to be retired.
Words aren’t necessarily mightier than the stomach — stay tuned for details about our event on Saturday, June 23, where you’ll be able to taste the Final Four — but for now, here’s a crash course on the lineup. Read on, then cast your vote below.
It’s hard to believe what you’re looking at is vegetarian (or vegan) imitation meat in these hoagies, but it’s even harder to believe that when you’re wolfing them down. Such is the beauty of Kung Fu Hoagies, a cart selling hoagies and noodles with a Vietnamese base and a spirited twist. The cart can be found at regular stops in West Philly and South Philly.
Notable on the menu: Bánh mì xíu mai (a play on the classic Italian meatball sub) and vegan jerky.
Though they be little, these sliders are fierce with flavor. Roaming everywhere and anywhere in the city (and we really do mean that— check out Instagram for weekly updates on the truck’s whereabouts), Stuff’d Buns has a small menu that makes a lasting mark. You can even eat one of these memorable bitty-bites at a time when you can’t remember much of anything at all: Stuff’d Buns operates until 3 a.m.
Notable on the menu: Buffalo Shrimp sliders (drizzled with a ranch and blue cheese crumble).
Over the past few years serving a-moooooo-zing barbeque in New Jersey and Eastern Pa., Oink & Moo BBQ has gotten so popular, its even graduated from trucking to brick-and-mortar life — and, in their Hampton location, they’ve even begun to dabble in brewing. The proprietors are still giving TLC to their carts, making sure that their tacos, quesadillas, chili and sliders are always top notch, no matter where they’re being served (they serve at house parties, FYI).
Notable on the menu: According to Facebook, the most popular dish is… their Ghost Pepper Relish.
Bringing authentic plates from Ishikawa to Graduate Hospital, people are in a flurry to get this curry. Bangin’ Curry Franklin, often positioned on 17th Street and Washington Avenue, is housed in a dope, graffiti-smeared truck with an iconic portrait of the Patron Saint of Advertising.
Notable on the menu? Hard to say, given that there’s only two options: katsu curry and furikake fries. We’ll go out on a limb and say they’re both probably worth an order.
The elementary school cafeteria side dish you’re most nostalgic for, elevated. The Tot Cart whips up deluxe tots with creative garnishes and cheeky names, or you can choose to keep it plain and simple. The mobile vendor is known best for wedding catering packages, so if you know a Bridezilla that’ll need some comfort food to keep her stress levels down on the big day, slip her this suggestion.
Notable on the menu: In The Buff (tossed in buffalo sauce), Spaghetti-O’s and of course totchos.
Stop, drop, and dump-n-roll to this truck’s hand-crafted fluffy dumplings and crispy spring rolls. While you’re at it, caffeinate with Vietnamese coffee or mellow out with Thai tea, which pairs nicely with the fusion snacks Dump-N-Roll offers. Bonus: most of these items are vegetarian or gluten-free.
Notable on the menu: 10x Grannie’s Pierogi Dumpling, Macheezy Egg Roll and Banana Foster Egg Roll.
Undrgrnd Donuts sparks up the traditional round deliciousness with unique, kooky kicks. Notable on the menu? Just about everything — there’s a donut for everyone here.
For lovers of The Simpsons, there’s The Homer (vanilla chunk, raw sugar, chocolate bacon chunks). For outdoorsy folks in touch with nature and unafraid of a couple hundred calories from processed sugar, the Trail Mix (banana dunk, granola raisin coating). And for those who consider themselves on the wild side: The Cinnamon Challenge.
We’ll trade in carnival clowns for carnival cupcakes any day. At Cupcake Carnivale, every baked treat looks like a celebration (and tastes like one too). Some even contain alcohol. A whopping 51 rotate through the menu, so even if you think cupcakes are kinda passé and so 2013, you won’t get bored here. In the off chance that you do get tired of those combos, there’s always a seasonal cupcake to hold out for.
Notable on the menu: Well, there’s more than 50 different options!
Now it’s time to vote. You have until 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 19, to weigh in below (or click here if the form below doesn’t work for you).