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Food Trucks: Gastronomy on Wheels in Madrid

This movement is here to stay. Despite being a very American tradition, food trucks have become a recurrent trend across Spain. They may have been rare in earlier days, but today it’s common to find any number of small vans with friendly vendors in our neighborhoods, serving food right on the street, and delighting us with their smiles. And not only that, but trade fairs about food truck gastronomy are a rising phenomenon that ignites passions. Who said junk food? Food trucks hide little gourmet bites that you just can’t miss out on. More delicatessen and fewer hot dogs!

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How many gastronomic kilometers do you think can be covered on a food truck? It’s a rhetorical question.


Madreat is an association of vendors specializing in organizing Street Food markets. Retailers from all over Spain and abroad periodically bring their best chefs out on the streets. Dozens of food trucks, stands and trolleys flood public squares and green areas alike. Their menu is wide and varied: you can try food from Spain, Mexico, Libya, Italy, Japan, Greece, American burgers… and then top it off with some delicious sweet crepes in truest Parisian style. Little by little, our stomach deceives us, but I guarantee that one always ends up eating way more than the body will ever burn at this type of events.

This is a very recommendable fair, not only for those foodies in the know, but also for everyone who simply enjoys eating. Take note of the coordinates because they only meet up twice a month at Pabellón Ondarreta in Madrid’s Casa de Campo. Upcoming dates: May 28th and 29th, June 18th and 19th, and July 16th and 17th.  . 


Expo Foodtrucks

This fair is set up from time to time in the Nuevos Ministerios area (in Madrid), and when that happens, nobody wants to miss it. It’s a full-blown social event that draws in crowds, from gourmands to people who are just curious and wanting to try something new. Variety is the leitmotif of this street food extravaganza. There’s a bit of everything: dishes from the Canary Islands, Basque Country, Asturias, and Andalusia; authentic Jabugo ham from Huelva; Madrilenian tapas, authentic Czech beer, and pasta brought in directly from Italy; to end up with the best confectionary specialties from Jerez de la Frontera and Ben&Jerry’s popular ice cream.

There are those who see street food as necessarily synonymous with low quality fast food.  And they couldn’t be more wrong. These restaurants on wheels carry true delicatessen on board to please even the most gourmet of palates. It’s a new way to eat: a simple way to share the different flavors of the world with friends, while enjoying a very pleasant lunch outdoors. If you try it, you’ll want to repeat it. Upcoming dates: May 3rd to 18th in Nuevos Ministerios.


A Brief History

The food truck phenomenon goes back to Texan cattle ranchers at the end of the 19th century. Railway lines didn’t reach every corner of the US back then, and ranchers would spend long periods isolated and stranded in areas of difficult access. In the year 1866, Charles Goodnight (a Texan cattle rancher) bought an old train wagon and filled it up with preserved foods, so these cowboys would have something warm to eat. That’s the origin of today’s food trucks.