Out of the 50-odd food trucks cruising around Durham, North Carolina (check out our favorites here), you can always count on three or four parking alongside the Durham Farmers' Market, ready to serve an eclectic mix of portable breakfast and lunch offerings to the town's locavores and early risers. Here are a few to keep your eye out for:
CJ's Street Food
CJ's Street Food serves up a build-your-own mix of fusion-y tacos and buns. The pork belly bun ($5) has a crispy, meaty slice of belly with an ideal ratio of meat to fat. The serving is generous—slightly larger than your palm, and it fits perfectly into a steamed bun for easy portability. Accouterments vary from week to week, but on my last visit, the bun came dressed with a thick hoisin-style "Dragon Sauce," peanuts, and cilantro. While the sandwich could have benefited from some vegetal crunch (it's the South, y'all. We put slaw on everything), the cilantro did help cut some of the richness of the pork. The peanuts were also a welcome textural contrast to the soft steamed bun. I'll be back for their duck confit taco soon.
Porchetta's bright red wagon is the harbinger of some seriously tasty sandwiches. Porchetta makes an addictive version of its namesake Italian dish, tucked into chewy cibatta rolls. The sandwiches come with condiments meant to compliment, rather than compete with the meat, ranging from apple-horseradish slaw to whole grain mustard and melted Provolone. The Hot and Sweet ($7), with port-braised onions and pickled hot peppers, was a choice I would definitely make again. While the sandwich initially seemed a little small for the price tag, looks were deceiving. The crusty roll was a perfect vehicle to soak up all the rich porchetta drippings, and the combo of sweet and spicy onions and peppers kept things interesting.
Pie Pushers boasts a complete pizza oven inside of their wagon, which they put to good use baking pies featuring local and seasonal ingredients. In addition to solid standbys like cheese and pepperoni, Pie Pushers also offers a seasonal veggie slice, as well as a breakfast pie ($4) loaded with locally-sourced bacon, sausage, sliced potatoes and cheddar cheese with traditional red sauce. For an additional buck, they'll add a (local!) fried egg on top of any slice as well. Go ahead —break the yolk and give your slice a smear.
The trucks are open at the market every Saturday, rain or shine from approximately 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., although I'd recommend getting there early. No matter what truck, crowds and lines are to be expected, as hungry Duke students amble down for an easy lunch. Folks looking for a specific truck might also consider checking the Durham Food Truck Map with real time data. Water bottles, and a blanket to spread out in the grass would go great with any order.
About the author: Kimberly Gormley loves nothing more than local food. Especially if it's a slab of pork.