There is no doubt that the popularity of street food trucks has boomed in cities across the globe.
A particularly interesting trend within street food is people who cannot eat certain foods. While some of this is a preference, there are many people who are allergic to certain foods and simply cannot eat them without having adverse effects on their health. This means that food truck owners have had to adapt to various dietary needs while opening up new avenues for flavor and creativity.
Avoiding onion and garlic is often rooted in dietary restrictions due to health reasons, such as a low FODMAP diet, a bad allergy or intolerance to either of the two, or cultural and religious practices, including those followed in Jainism. This has led to a unique challenge for food truck chefs: maintaining traditional flavors without these key ingredients.
While most food truck owners are oblivious to these problems, there are however some food trucks that generally do not cook with onion or garlic:
- Thai Food Trucks: Renowned for their aromatic and flavorful dishes, Thai food trucks find inventive ways to replicate traditional tastes without onion and garlic, using lemongrass, galangal, and lime leaves.
- Pizza Food Trucks: Italian cuisine often relies heavily on garlic and onion, but surprisingly, Italian food trucks often do not use these ingredients too much making pizzas and pasta using a variety of herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme.
- Middle Eastern Trucks: These trucks showcase the rich flavors of the Middle East through the use of spices like cumin, coriander, and paprika, along with herbs like mint and parsley.
- American Diner-Style Trucks: Classic American dishes like burgers, hotdogs, and sandwiches do not have to use garlic or onion. They can be quite bland in ingredients but still pack a lot of flavor.
Some recommended dishes without using onion or garlic:
- Vegetarian Tacos: A delightful blend of seasoned beans, sweet corn, and creamy avocado, these tacos do not need onion or garlic for meat seasoning like regular tacos.
- Vegan Burgers: These burgers feature patties made from lentils and mushrooms, seasoned with a blend of spices that create a rich, satisfying flavor.
- Rice Bowls: Perfect for a hearty meal, these bowls combine tofu, an array of vegetables, and a savory soy-based sauce that tantalizes the taste buds.
- Sushi Rolls: Light and refreshing, these rolls are packed with fish and surrounded by seaweed. Wasabi is optional, garlic and onion are not required.
As these specialized street food trucks continue to grow in popularity, their menus will also grow and give a larger variety of choices, which is great for those who cannot eat garlic or onion. In turn, this fosters a more inclusive and diverse food culture. The future holds promise for further innovation and the continued growth of this niche as more people across the world need to eliminate certain foods.
In short, there will never really be a thing such as an onion and garlic-free street food truck. However, as street food is cooked fresh and individually right in front of you, it is often possible to ask for a dish without onion or garlic in the first place. If this option is not available, there are a good number of national food trucks listed above that do not really use either of these two vegetables.