For a while there everyone seemed to be talking about food trucks, with it culminating in the food-truck-film Chef about a chef losing his restaurant job and going on the road throughout select cities in the US. The only time I remember eating something truckishly was a childhood holiday to the Virgin Islands, where we stopped to grab the best frozen yoghurt ever from a turquoise caravan. All I can remember is hundreds of hundreds-and-thousands, which at that time equalled happiness.
However, this gaping hole in my foodie history was filled last week as we first went to Le Food Market, located between the Metro stations Menilmontant and Couronnes. Various sellers offer dishes from all over the world and in between the food stands there are benches to sit at and enjoy your meal. The aim is to make the market a monthly event and to promote good quality food at reasonable prices. All of the dishes were priced between 6-12€, which is about equal to what you would pay for a 'petit plat' at lunchtime in a restaurant.
We queued at the Cafe Chilango to get tacos filled with beef and chicken, and one of the girls had a burger from Burgers de l'Amour. We also grabbed some pasteis de nata for breakfast the next morning before heading to the absolute highlight: the ice-cream rolls. I had seen videos online about people on an Asian vacation (Thailand perhaps? I can't remember exactly) getting ice-cream rolls. Luckily, the trend has travelled to Paris so BOOM ice-cream rolls at Le Food Market. You choose your flavour (chocolate-pear, thank you kindly), which gets squirted in different layers onto a freezing plate. By quickly scraping together and then spreading apart the mixture, the liquid becomes solidified quite quickly. The last step is then to said scraper to create four or five individual ice-cream rolls, which are then topped with either chocolate or caramel sauce and a choice of nuts or pralines.
I had expected the ice-cream to be more of a novelty and not necessarily to be particularly tasty. The assumption was that the rapid freezing would perhaps cause more ice crystals to form and thus the ice-cream to be crunchier than expected. It was not. It was delicious. Easy as that. Delicious.
Saturday evening was spent at an actual food truck event, where the Carreau du Temple had local trucks outside and French-Korean food inside (in light of it being the French-Korean year). It was difficult to decide what to get, but I ended up with great grilled cheeses and L had a Mexican wrap. No ice cream this time though.
Most interesting is the astounding lack of vegetarian options at both events. Even the grilled cheeses only came in poulet or boeuf (chicken or beef), which I find a bit difficult. Certainly, one could probably ask for a vegetarian version (it's grilled cheese, so...), it was just rather evident that the majority of trucks and stands simply did not offer it on their menus. After bringing this up with the other interns, all of them agree that being vegetarian or vegan in France is much harder as products are difficult to come by and/or excessively expensive. Whereas in Germany one can easily find soy and other substitutes at more or less affordable prices, the supermarkets here rarely have soy mince or rice milk or whatever it is you'd need. Even the two vegans in the group are ordering steaks and burgers here, stating the lack of options both in the supermarkets and when going out. So for now I have entered into an uneasy compromise with myself: eating out means eating everything, eating in means meat-free dishes. I think the best solution to this would just be living off of ice-cream rolls.