If you're the type of traveller who gets a buzz from hunting down your destination's local fare, you'll be excited to know that food trucks in Los Angeles are legitimately the easiest way to get a taste of the local flavours that set this city's culinary scene on the map.
Not only are food trucks helmed by creative — often legendary — chefs, but they also embody LA's casual lifestyle and reflect its diverse and extreme cuisine, from tacos filled with ceviche and mac n cheese pulled pork toasted sandwiches through to nitrogen ice cream.
With more than 200 trucks roaming the streets of LA, some are so popular locals hunt them down as soon as they park up, forming a line that snakes down the sidewalk before they're even open for service.
Angelinos jump on Twitter or websites to see where their favourite trucks will be each day, as locations often change daily. Only a few have a set weekly roster.
When you do come across a truck with a legendary line, you know you're on to a winner — joining the queue is mandatory. Check out these top seven food trucks that are an absolute must.
1. The Grilled Cheese Truck
For those seeking a taste of the ultimate comfort food, The Grilled Cheese Truck offers a slice of American paradise with everything from a classic sandwich to a fully loaded cheesy mac melt with pulled pork and caramelised onions.
Founded by LA-based chef Dave Danhi during the food truck renaissance, The Grilled Cheese Truck has expanded beyond its LA location throughout Southern California, Phoenix and Austin.
Territories: Thousand Oaks, Arts District, Studio City
2. WAFL Truck
This truck specialises in a variety of sumptuous waffle creations. If you have a sweet tooth you can't go past The Classic, a Nutella waffle topped with strawberries or bananas; if you prefer savoury, try The Chicken, with juicy chicken, Swiss cheese, sundried tomato and pesto. If you like both savoury and sweet, there's also a Southern classic — a fried chicken waffle with maple syrup.
Territories: Roams North Hollywood, Studio City, Downtown, Inglewood and Burbank.
3. Guerrilla Tacos
After working at fine dining restaurants, chef Wes Avila opened up the Guerrilla Tacos truck, drawing from the multitude of Mexican flavours and ingredients to present a cohesive — and innovative — set of tacos. This is mouthwatering Mexican cuisine with a refined twist, such as fantastic sweet potato tacos with almond chile, feta cheese, and fried corn, or perhaps a lamb tongue taco with shishito peppers, chile morita and mustard seeds.
Territories: DTLA, Arts District, West Hollywood, Los Feliz, Silver Lake and Culver City.
4. Kogi BBQ
When Korean chef Roy Choi launched Kogi in 2008, serving up his interpretation of what he thought a taco should be, it set off a flavour bomb that would shake up the foundations of the industry. Street food would never be looked at the same way again. Within a few short months, Kogi became an icon of the LA street food revolution, showcasing his belief that you can find excellent food on a budget. The short rib taco — which is two crisply homemade corn tortillas, double-caramelised Korean barbecue, salsa roja, cilantro-onion-lime relish and a romaine lettuce slaw tossed in a chili-soy vinaigrette — is a Los Angeles classic.
Territories: Throughout LA including Hollywood, Downtown, Venice, Pasadena and El Segundo.
5. Dogtown Dogs
For the all-American hot dog with a California twist, Dogtown Dogs offers all kinds of hot dogs from the bacon-wrapped "Morning Commute," topped with a fried egg, to the "California Dog," topped with avocado, arugula, basil aioli, tomatoes, fried onions and a light vinaigrette.
Vegans are also catered for, with soy dogs an option too.
Territories: Pasadena, Downtown, Venice, Studio City.
A strong contender for the title of #1 food truck in LA, chef Erwin Tjahyadi championed the street food revolution alongside Choi. Offering modern Cali-Asian fare, Komodo's menu includes hybrids of classic Indonesian, Singaporean and Vietnamese cuisines, from pork rendang to white fish tacos and burritos, all made from local ingredients at a relatively affordable price.
Territories: El Segundo, Santa Monica and Miracle Mile; also restaurants in Venice and Mid-City.
Although most food trucks serve hot dishes, Coolhaus is the ultimate dessert truck. Using fresh ingredients from farmers' markets, and dairy products free from artificial growth hormones, it serves icecream sandwiches with flavours ranging from classic vanilla between chocolate chip cookies, to lemon rosemary cookies with balsamic fig/mascarpone icecream.
Territories: Culver City and Pasadena.
flies daily from Auckland to Los Angeles.
Further information: For more foodie inspiration visit discoverlosangeles.com