Up until last year the best cheap food you could hope to grab on the street was sweetcorn, popcorn or a dogão (Brazilian hot dog). Suddenly food trucks popped up and became a trendy alternative. The shift brought home the need for regulation, a new law was passed and so this year will be the first year São Paulo has legally compliant fully authorised food trucks.
2014, then, is the year of the food truck. Many of them have literally just arrived in town and still don't have websites but here are the top 7 to look out for:
1. Rolando Doguinho
This has to get first mention as he was here on the streets of São Paulo doing food trucks before it was cool (or regulated). You may remember the Rolando Massinha truck in Sumaré. It’s the same guy but now he does hot dogs and is at Shopping Vila Olímpia. He’s actually capitalising on his first mover advantage and turning into the first chain food truck having also launched Rolando Churrinho which sells Brazilian doughnuts on Rua Sumaré 1089.
2. The Holy Pasta Food Truck
In short, Holy Pasta is what the cool kids eat. The truck is on Facebook , and Four Square so you can follow it around the city. It is going for the high quality at a low price angle which explains why they make it a pasta only truck. You'll find it in places like Vila Madalena.
3. Temakaria Na Van
If you thought food trucks were Western food only, think again. And if you thought driving your restaurant around on a gasoline powered vehicle was not environmentally friendly, think again, again. Temakaria Na Van, the brainchild of a former DJ Alan Liao, uses biodiesel and is powered by solar panels fitted onto the roof of the van. He even has selective recycling containers which he takes away with him afterwards. Catch him in Berrini on the southside.
4. Jameson Food Truck
Of course, if something is fashionable, nocturnal and has only started being regulated, you can expect some of the major alcohol brands to get in on the act. Meet the Jameson Food Truck. It does curry, burgers, hotdogs as well as 'surubim and mandioca' known to the common man as 'fish and chips'. To wash it down? Jameson Tea and Lime. Obviously.
5. King Doner Kebaberia
Those of you unfamiliar with São Paulo may find this one unimaginative but actually kebabs are not a very common fast food here unlike many countries in Europe such as Germany or the UK. Tracking down King Doner Kebaberia is another matter. This guy roams not only the city but inland and up the coast too.
6. Buzina Food Truck
This is probably the most “in” truck of 2014. Read anything about food trucks and it’ll mention Buzina. Why? Well, because they went overkill on bringing high quality food to the street and employed two reknowned chefs: Márcio Silva (ex-Oryza) e Jorge Gozalez (ex-DOM). With these two in the kitchen there’s no need for a fixed menu, they will just rustle up something amazing on the go.
Also run by a chef who didn’t want to be left out of the party. Alex Capeto does mostly Italian food and is parked semi-permanently at Rua Gabriel Monteiro da Silva, 1236 in Jardim Europa.