Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Streets of Philadelphia

By Dori Molozanov

It’s lunchtime in the city, and you want to run out for a quick bite between meetings. As your co-workers head to their favorite food trucks, you politely tell them you aren’t that hungry and you’ll just grab a salad - as your stomach rumbles unforgivingly. As awkward as this scenario can be, the growing number of Philly food trucks accommodating gluten-free customers are helping to broaden the lunchtime options.

Photo courtesy of Delicias
Don’t be deceived by the small menu at Delicias, which can be found on Market St. between 34th and 35th and on 40th between Locust and Spruce. The Venezuelan arepas - stuffed corn patties - are naturally gluten free and prepared on their own grill on the truck. The fillings vary, and many are gluten free and vegan, so there’s something for everyone here. According to new owner Lynette Guiets, many customers come to Delicias because it’s one of the few places in the area to get a quick gluten-free lunch on a budget.

Photo courtesy of Yumtown USA
If you’re hankering for Indian food on the go, look no further than Lovash. This Indian restaurant’s storefront at 236 South St. is almost entirely gluten free, as is the truck located at 37th and Spruce streets. Lanie Belmont of Yumtown USA, which often can be found in the Temple University area, not only uses locally sourced ingredients in her soups, stews and main dishes, but has food allergies and knows how to accommodate the frequent gluten-free requests at her truck.

Lil Dan's, which frequents Love Park and other Center City stops, usually has Maglio sausage or another gluten-free item on the menu. Local 215 and vegetarian-friendly Magic Carpet Foods – a food-truck veteran that’s been serving Middle Eastern food in University City for 30 years – are no strangers to serving customers with food sensitivities.

Kalua pork taco with pineapple habanero salsa
(Photo courtesy Poi Dog Snack Shop)
The new, Hawaiian-themed Poi Dog Snack Shop can usually be found on the campus of Temple University at 13th St. and Montgomery Ave. The smoky Kalua pork and tofu poke plates are gluten free, as are the Kalua pork tacos served on torn tortillas. On the sweet side, Poi Dog's coconut butter mochi is made with rice flour.

For just desserts, try Cookie Confidential on Temple’s campus at 12th and Norris. Owner Melissa Torre, who eats gluten free herself, occasionally serves gluten-free options. The mobile version of Little Baby’s Ice Cream is another reliable place if you have to satisfy a sweet tooth – most flavors are gluten free, and all flavors and toppings have their own designated utensils.

The trucks' websites, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages provide the latest location updates. The ChowSpotter and Food Truck Philly websites also track locations.
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