Street Food In DC
Reviews of some of the great and not so great food trucks in DC.
Street food is the most popular choice for lunch when you work in the only area of Washington, DC with no palatable restaurant options, or you’re simply too lazy to walk two blocks, like me. For this food truck review, I employed a random selection of willing co-workers whom I’ve deemed my “Tastebuddies”. (And now that I’m seeing this in print, I feel like we need to take this act on the road and maybe do some sort of singing-for-free-food performances.) We’ve done a pretty good job at covering the spread of food trucks that line the intersection of Virginia Ave. and 20th Street NW and we’ve created a ranking system below.
0 Tastebuds – there is a distinct possibility that I will die from poisoning
1 Tastebud – gross, but survivable
2 Tastebuds – meh
3 Tastebuds – amazing
I tried two lunch options – you know, getting that bikini body ready for swimsuit season – the chickpeas with rice, potatoes, salad, and chapatti from Punjab Curry House for $8.50, and A Taste of Eastern Europe where I designed my own lunch of bean salad in some orange sauce, a bread roll, and a side of tomato, feta, cucumber salad for $6. I specifically requested extra spicy sauce from Punjab Curry House, but the food was more salty than spicy and kind of bland, with the exception of the delicious and freshly baked chapatti. A Taste of Eastern Europe taught me that I can never successfully live on Eastern European food (unless it’s pirogues). The sauce on the bean salad was terrible and tasted like a mix of ketchup and Miracle Whip – this, from someone who considers mustard on toast a fine dining selection. (It’s called mustard toast and it’s delicious.)
Punjab Curry House = 2 Tastebuds
A Taste of Eastern Europe = 1 Tastebud
Tastebuddy Rob reviewed Zesty Kabob, where for just $10 he scored a reasonable amount of lamb over yellow rice, with a side of chickpeas and spinach. According to our expert, Zesty Kabob and Tasty Kabob are the best Halal food options in NW. I typically choose their lamb option over chicken (…) because the lamb is always moist. I recommend opting for either chickpeas and/or spinach over their salad since they use iceberg lettuce. Good portion size and a great option if you want to try something other than the typical sandwich.
Zesty Kabob = 3 Tastebuds
Tastebuddy David tried out Amorini Panini and he was the only one who successfully found a link to it online. For $8 he bought a buffalo chicken panini with hot peppers on multi grain bread and kept his review simple with, I like their food – it’s a little spicy, but nothing to worry about and it’s not as expensive as many of the other trucks – very good for the price.
Amorini Panini = 3 Tastebuds
Tastebuddy Ricky hit up Korengy for Spicy Beef Japchae (Korean sweet potato noodle) for $10.
Ricky says, The main player of this dish is the spicy beef smothered in gojuchang, lovingly accompanied by fresh brococoli, carrots, bean sprouts, white rice, and of course, the japchae noodles. All of it tastes fresh, including the beef, but admittedly, is chopped a little too finely. I would have preferred bigger pieces of meat to give it a little more chew.
Nothing is made while you wait; it’s all cooked/steamed beforehand, then heaped into a clear plastic bowl when you order. There is only one size, and that size is HUGE! Seriously, it’s enough for two meals, or to put you in a serious food coma if you can consume it in one.
I just appreciate that the beef was “lovingly” accompanied by these various accoutrements – give peace a chance, meats, vegetables, and starches! Your ability to intermingle outside of your own food group has earned you:
Korengy= 2.5 Tastebuds
Tastebuddy Leslie went to the Frozen Custard* truck for a $7 sundae, which I know was delicious, because she totally shares, unlike someone I know (me). According to Leslie, the custard is delicious on its own because it has a very smooth, rich consistency. Added toppings make this a very heavy dessert that can double as a meal despite the small portion size. The fact that you can get a free sample is an added bonus.
Frozen Custard = 2.3 Tastebuds
*We didn’t get the exact name of this truck, but it is the only one in the area selling frozen custard.
Leslie also supported the cause by buying a meal from A Taste of Eastern Europe, for $10 she got what appeared to be an undercooked pork sandwich, and the gross bean salad with heavy sauce. About this experience Leslie says, it’s like a party in your mouth and everyone is throwing up. But I’m not dead. Yet.
A Taste of Eastern Europe = 1.5 Tastebuds
So as for this adventure of the Tastebuddies, the clear winner of the DC Food Truck Review is Zesty Kabob tied with Amorini Panini, followed closely by Korengy. While I can’t personally back up these votes, I can attest to the fact that I’ve never witnessed Rob, David, Leslie, or Ricky enjoying a meal of mustard toast, so I’m willing to bet their palates are slightly more distinguished than mine.