Soul Food Trucks To Celebrate National Soul Food Month
Steeped in tradition and heritage, soul food traces its roots back generations. Soul food’s vibrant character and rich culinary history is a microcosm of the Black experience in America. In times of immeasurable pain and suffering, it nourished the bodies and souls of millions. As a result, soul food is as ubiquitous to American cuisine as apple pie. In 2007, the Culinary Historians of Chicago created National Soul Food Month in June. Today, soul food trucks are serving a slice of an indelible part of American culture from coast to coast. So, whether it’s BBQ smoked low and slow or a slice of sweet potato pie, let’s hit the road and take a tour of America’s best soul food trucks.
Brown Shuga (Boise, Idaho)
Soul food— in Idaho? You read that right. Brown Shuga Soul Food is a Boise-based food truck cooking homestyle, authentic southern cuisine made from scratch. Owned by Yvonne Anderson-Thomas, Brown Shuga Soul Food is a family affair, with her parents and son operating her two food trucks. This food truck captures the essence of Sunday family gatherings around a table laden with home cooked, delicious meals. Speaking of Sundays, Brown Shuga is famous for its “Soul Food Sunday Supper” catering. Featuring a menu that includes fried chicken, smoked turkey legs, Lowcountry boil, and more, Yvonne’s cooking serves a taste of the South to the delight of hungry Idahoans.
Boricua Soul (Durham, N.C.)
Boricua Soul is equal parts southern and Latin American with Euro-African roots. Located in the heart of North Carolina, this food truck combines contrasting cuisines that are kindred spirits, transporting customers to America’s past. Owned by husband and wife team Toriano and Serena Fredericks, Boricua Soul is a culinary experiment with ingredients and techniques born in their grandmothers’ kitchens. Their food truck— called The Soul Patrol— features an eclectic menu that’s a tribute to their heritage. Here, you can find cultural classics like chicharron de pollo (fried chicken), arroz con gandules, collard greens, maduros (fried sweet plantains), and more. But make sure you pair these delicious sides with Boricua Soul’s pernil, a Puerto Rican-style seasoned pork shoulder that’s slow-roasted. Crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside; pernil is to the Caribbean as pulled pork is to the Carolinas.
West Indies (St. Paul, Minn.)
Next, we’re heading northwest to the Land of 10,000 Lakes and making a stop at West Indies Soul Food. This St. Paul, Minn. food truck is your culinary passport to the steels drums, Calypso soundtrack, and Caribbean spices of Trinidad. For over 30 years, Sharon Richards-Noel has centered the essence of West Indies around the three most essential elements in her life: food, faith, and family. Sharon’s menu is “authentic food for the soul,” from West Indies-style BBQ ribs and jerk chicken to turnip greens and potato salad. Make sure to take home a slice of sweet potato pie and peach cobbler for dessert! Sharon’s also known for giving back, cooking meals for St. Paul high school students, and donating 15% of sales from her line of sauces to local non-profit organizations.
Sassy’s Vegetarian (Austin, Texas)
Sassy’s Vegetarian Soul Food serves traditional soul food but with a twist: the entire menu is plant-based. Convincing soul food lovers that “going green” could be just as tasty as the classics they love was no easy feat. But owner Andrea Dawson did just that, creating a soul food truck menu that perfectly balances familiarity with creativity. Today, it’s known as the food truck where you can get the “Best Comfort Food” in Austin. Locals rave about Sassy’s signature “Chicon N Waffles.” Andrea pairs crispy fried chicken seitan with an eggless waffle and tops it with a generous drizzle of pumpkin spice, coconut syrup. Another crowd-pleaser is the “Three Green Medley,” a blend of fresh kale, collard, and mustard greens that are tender, savory, and spiced to perfection. So, why is Sassy’s so good? As Andrea tells it, her food simply “tastes like home.”
Rainy’s Authentic Soul Food (Ontario, Calif.)
Rainette Dominick has had a life-long passion for cooking. Her love of sharing delicious food with friends and family inspired her to open Rainy’s Authentic Soul Food. Located in San Bernardino County, this food truck caters meals for parties, family gatherings, and those who are too busy to cook but want to savor good home cooking. For SoCal residents looking for authentic soul food, Rainy’s delivers the goods. Try the “Southern Oxtails,” served over a bed of steamed rice and gravy. Or the “Taste of Soul,” featuring fried chicken with a side of mac and cheese or candied yams. For dessert, you have to take a bite out of Rainy’s homemade banana pudding— a southern staple.
Take a Culinary Tour of America With Soul Food Trucks
National Soul Food Month is more than about eating great food. June celebrates the Black small-business owners sharing their culinary culture and heritage. So, take a gastronomical tour of American history and taste its spices and flavors with soul food trucks. When you learn the history of soul food, where it’s traveled, and how it’s changed over centuries, it sparks an appreciation that does more than satisfy your appetite; it feeds your soul.
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