Words: Shamim de Brún
Images: George Voronov & Instagram
Pop-ups have been many newcomers’ first step toward opening a restaurant for years. A way to show off their talent and try out new ideas. But they have become something more entirely—a place of fusion and evolution.
The street food dining experience is here to slay, stay and play with your notion of gourmet. It’s a new way of experiencing the age-old relationship between a society and its food; it has its roots and is reinvented every day in new ways that are surprising, practical and delicious.
Founder and Chef of Bahay, Richie Castillo, said when asked about Food Trucks, “what I love the food trucks is, the experience. You’re going to know the owner. You’re getting a small man making a handful of things in their particular style. And that’s all they do. Magic”
There are constraints to making food in a truck. The most significant being size. That limits you to a few core dishes. When you are restricted, you have to curate, and the best food truckers are masters of this. They need to be able to tick the vegan veggie box, ideally have a GF option on the cards and sling their idea of tasty grub. It sounds like an exact science, but it’s as ephemeral as fine art.
Holly Dalton says with food trucks “you can tell a lot of effort has gone into it because they do these three or four things, and we do them extremely well. So I think the hit and miss ratio is like a lower from Food Trucks.” Which is idea when you’re branching out into new teritories as an eater.
So here is a perfectly braced list of Dublin’s foodiest trucks to sink your molars into”
Bish Bosh has managed to maintain their underground status as a vagabond on the veggie scene far better than most. Their dishes are nourishing flavour bombs by design and definition.
Currently housed in Chestnut Bazaar, these vagabonds bring vibrant plant-based falafel, burgers and tacos to the table. But what they have made their name on is their much-loved veggie breakfast. The queue for these lads was twenty minutes long to order at Beyond The Pale. They were that popular. But that scrambled egg wrap of goodness was a saviour to many and worth every minute of it.
Recently veggie-ised Gillian of Hen’s Teeth fame said the “Ultimate Food Truck has to be Bis Bosh because they cover so many items that are so tasty. Unbelievably so”
Order: The Sweet Potatoes
Location: Chestnut Baazar
Hours: Thursday – Sunday 10:00 to 21:00
Affectionately called “wings” by Mick O’Connell, this bad boy also made our list of top ten burgs in the city. WingMan does everything from grilled chicken to vegan to a Motz-style smash. WingMan has an excellent curated burg menu, and they lash them out to you at record speed.
Half of the best dynamic duo that is Gastro Gays Russell nurses a particular soft spot for WingMan because it saved his life during a nasty hangover. He maintains that it returned from Dublin to Drogheda in one piece and maintained its integrity. It is a burg that still comes to him in his dreams.
Order: LA Style Smash burger, quickly followed by their Tipsy Chick and Bacon Double Cheese!
Locations: Naomh Barróg GAA Club, Kilbarrack Rd, Northside, Dublin 5, D05 DY65. Malahide Rugby Club, Estuary Rd, Yellow Walls, Malahide, Co. Dublin, K36 R654. AstroPark, Oscar Traynor Road, Coolock, Dublin 17, D17 Y998.
Opening Hours: See their website for the latest changeable info
Janets shot from relative obscurity to a must munch when they scooped the top honour on RTÉs reality show Takeaway Titan’s. Jianan Liu is the creative culinary cracker behind Janet’s, and she has yet to take a wrong step.
Janets were Kevin from Nomo’s top tick for Ultimate Food Truck. They do dumplings as you imagine they should be, with just enough irreverence to be playful and just enough tradition to stand up to their elders. The fillings in their homemade wrappers range from chicken or spicy tofu to ‘cheeseburger’ and spinach with peanuts to prawns with chives. Shout out to the prawns for being a personal fave.
Kevin from Nomo calls Janets ‘modern Asian food. Noting that everything is handmade, he said, “It’s absolutely delicious. It’s a really different take on Asian food.”
Order: Cheeseburger Dumplings
Hours: From 12:00 Thursday to Sunday
Vietnom somewhat permanently lives in The Glimmerman in Stoneybatter. As the name blatantly suggests, they specialise in Vietnamese-style food, with the Banh Mi being their coveted must-try-with-a-pint-of-Guinness signature. These were front and centre in Richie’s list. He said they do what they love and do it well, which is all you want from a good food truck.
Order: The Banh Mi
Location: The Glimmerman, Stoneybatter
Hours: 18:00 – 22:00 Thursday to Saturday
Nial Sabongi’s food truck is infamous for many things, but the biggest one is the food. Credited as the truck that brought lobster rolls to the front and centre of must-haves. This well-known truck has travelled the length and breadth of Dublin and had residencies as far-flung as Wicklow and as homegrown as Roe & Co.
Alex, the smiling face in front of and co-founder of Bahay, picked Salty Buoy as one of her top most trucks citing the “lobster rolls out of them. Just so so, ohmigod. Just so good. So, so good.” A great big slab of warm brioche with a pocket cut down the middle that’s been fitted with lobster meat mixed with citrus mayo, lemon and garlic butter. It could be the dictionary definition of divine.
Order: Lobster Roll
Hours: Check website for full details
Can you go wrong with a cheese toastie? No, and these lads have next levelled it. The Hambo, in particular, is a bad boy. But, with its glazed gammon, secret sambo sauce, and pitch-perfect pickles is a next level out of the parker.
Griolladh have had a helluva’ year bouncing all over Dublin while maintaining residence at Grand Canal before opening a new permanent venue in Arnotts. Gillian and Tara Deery picked these lads as one of their top picks. Gillian for the veggie deliciousness and Tara for their classics.
Order: The Hambo
Location: Arnottes, Grand Canal, Malahide
Hours: See website for the comprehensive breakdown but they are open every day.
These lads are wild in all kinds of ways, but their chicken is jungle-level wild. The original Jamaican speciality is a delicious mix of spices and seasoning, which would legitimately make you slap your leg and say god damn, that’s good. Tara Deery recommends the Jerk chicken with Halloumi and Rice. Calling it a perfect meal that “really, really gets you going.”
That said, they have a surprising abundance of vegan options for a chicken joint. For example, the crispy aloo pie is stuffed with curried mashed potato and deep-fried. Need we say more?
Food truck aficionado Richie endorses these lads like they’re old friends. He said their food is top-notch and worth going out of your way for.
Order: The Jerk Chicken
Location: Chestnut Baazar
Hours: From 16:00 to 22:00 Thursday and Friday, from 13:00 on Saturday and from 12:00 on Sunday
Cochina tastes like California. Every dish is prepared using recipes handed down through generations set against a picturesque farm in the Naul. You couldn’t make this up. People wouldn’t believe you if you wrote it. They also make hearty chicken bowls for furry friends. A trip out here is the perfect weekend activity if you are a taco hunter. They also go on the run around Ireland for festival season.
Cochina was The Gastro Gays and Richie’s top pick for Food Truck and was name-checked by Alex and Holly. In classic Holly fashion, she was the most effusive, saying she hopped on the M1 out to Cochina Cuevos and just got every taco and slide they had and just took them in the back of the car. It was a gallant and gone in 10 minutes.”
Order: Litereally everything
Location: The Naul, Rath Great, Co. Dublin, K32 K797
Opening Times: Thursday, 17:00, 20:00; Friday, 16:00 to 20:00; Saturday – 13:00 – 16:00; reopen, 17:00 to 20:00. Sunday, 11:00 to 15:00/Sellout. Can pre-order on 0838994472 two hours before when we open or rock up to the trailer to order.
The fragrant ferment tang that hits you when you approach Dosa Dosa is the stuff of legend. Dosa is, in many ways, the ultimate comfort food. It’s equally satisfying and moreish, making it difficult to believe that it constantly tops the healthiest food charts. Dosa gives texture in spades generating the same feeling you get when you bite into a toasted sandwich and hit a layer of melted cheese. Joy.
Mick O’Connell called Dosa Dosa the definition of “deliciousness and uniqueness” when he cited them as his top pick. Alex also picked Dosa Dosa as her personal favourite saying they were “deadly” for “really giving all of their kind of heart and soul into that small menu”. They were on Holly’s list, too, with a classic “I love Dosa Dosa”.
How could ya go wrong?
Order: The OG Dosa
Location: Grand Canal
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 12:00 to 21:30
With the vagabond tag team behind Bahay comprising twenty per cent of our experts, it’s easy to think this was biased self-voting. Except neither Alex nor Richie voted for themselves. They were voted in by a jury of their peers pulling top spots from Tara Deery, Gillian, and Rob Hughes of Big Fan. As well as top honours from Holly Dalton. With tops like these out of a possible eight, how could they not be objective winners?
Bahay is a dream to work with and slings out tasty as-all-fudge grub. Whether they’re popping up with high-end banana ketchup at Mae or slinging mushroom Banh Mi to festival-level exhausted experts like Gillian, they rarely, if ever, put a foot wrong.
Rob said the food was “banging”.
Holly said, “Incredible. My God… the quality is incredible and Filipino food. I don’t know a lot about it. Tell me more. Tell me more.”
Tara said, “probably the best and best food I’ve gotten from a food truck.”
Order: Anything that comes with the banana ketchup
Hours: Varies, keep an eye on their gram for deets.
Elsewhere on CHAR: Dublin’s Ultimate Burger