Roll up, roll up for taste treats

ROLL UP ROLL UP: Krystal Douglas and Jess Lynch tend the Mamacita's food truck.
ROLL UP ROLL UP: Krystal Douglas and Jess Lynch tend the Mamacita's food truck.

Truck food is cool.

Post-quake, converted shipping containers were trendy. They were big enough for a small cafe or kitchen, had industrial cool-factor and customers were reassured by their sturdiness.

Almost three years on, mobility is the new must-have.

With the face of the city changing every week, start-up food and coffee vendors have realised foot traffic relies on moving with the rebuild. Access is everything.

The Pallet Pavilion has created a focal point for central city truck cuisine. The pavilion itself attracts a lot of tourist traffic and the surrounding empty space is perfect for pop-up restaurants.

A smorgasboard of cuisines is available every day of the week.

While there are a few long-term tenants like Osaka Japanese and Lettuce Eat Lebanese, many of the trucks haven't been parked long.

Mamacita's Mexican moved in a few weeks ago to replace Mexica.

Mamacita's serves up tacos, burritos and salads made with pulled pork, black beans and other Mexican staples.

Owner Jess Lynch grew up in Southern California where food trucks are the norm. Vendors compete for the best street corners and authentic Mexican is part of the local food culture.

When she moved to New Zealand four years ago, she started an underground dinner club and always ended up serving Mexican. A few months ago she decided to make her passion a business.

"It's been really busy," she said.

"Food trucks should be an experience, not just food. You should be getting bits of chilli flicked in your face because you're right there."

For Lynch, a food truck was the perfect post-quake solution. It was cheap, portable and had more character than the "fancy glass buildings" going up around the central city.

Gap Filler creative director Coralie Winn said the pavilion was always keen to welcome new food trucks to the site.

Dukes of Sandwich will launch at the South Island Wine and Food Festival tomorrow and planned on being a regular at the pavilion.

Owner Laura Sisson said the truck had been "in the works since winter".

It will offer "epicurean sandwiches" for the discerning sarnie buff, including a jerk chicken with sweet potato spread and kiwifruit and coriander salsa.

Agnew Ferencz has opened a truck selling traditional Transylvanian chimney cakes and has loyal customers trailing her all over the city.

The Press