The food truck compendium
Quick comments on the mobile eateries around MIT
There are only so many Café 4 soups and permutations of Anna’s burritos I can eat before I need to broaden my lunch horizons. If you want a new lunch option that’s quick, close, and cheap, the food trucks around campus are your best bet. Here’s a summary of MIT’s luncheonettes-on-wheels:
Chang FoodsMain St. in front of Technology Square
If you’re craving Chinese food, Chang Foods is an excellent choice. The menu has the usual classics like Beef with Broccoli ($5.50) and General Gao’s Chicken ($5), but if you want something new, try one of their more eclectic options like Wheat Dough with Woodear Mushroom ($5). My personal favorite is Ginger Scallion Chicken ($5). The always-flavorful entrees come with steamed veggies over properly cooked rice. It’s possible to order combinations of anything on the menu, and there are plenty of vegetarian options. To make lunch even better, you can add a cup of hot and sour soup to your entrée for only 25 cents, or tasty pan-fried pork dumplings for 75 cents each. The biggest downside of Chang’s: cash only.
Couscous Kitchen on WheelsMassachusetts Ave. across from Bexley
If your primary criteria in food truck selection is a central location, this dual-purpose falafel and Chinese food truck is the option for you. Once you start putting the food into the equation, however, you might want to take the extra time to walk somewhere else. The Chinese food menu has all the items you would expect, though I haven’t found anything that warrants a repeat order. The protein and sauce has generally been oily and the rice is often overcooked. If you want Chinese food for lunch, Chang Foods is by far the better option. Now that the truck formerly known as Jerusalem Café no longer serves food from Jerusalem, the Middle Eastern half of the Couscous truck is now the only convenient option for traditional falafel on campus. Unfortunately, this is not a survival-of-the-fittest situation, as the falafel-joint-themed half of the truck really isn’t very good. Unless you’re absolutely craving a dry falafel sandwich ($4), I’d stick with the other food trucks around campus.
MomogooseCarleton Street behind MIT Medical
Momogoose has an impressive variety of Asian food choices. In general, I prefer Chang’s entrees, but I sometimes come here for the Korean BBQ chicken ($5) and Bulgogi Beef ($5.50). I also suspect that they offer the healthiest Asian food out of the trucks reviewed here. My favorite options here are the soups and baguette sandwiches, even though these seem to be the less popular menu choices based on a quick observation of Momogoose’s long, but quickly moving, line of customers. The Chicken Pho is a bit bland, but I am a huge fan of the BBQ chicken or roast pork ramen ($5), especially on a cold day. The “baguettes” are essentially Vietnamese-style Banh Mi (a meat-filled sandwich on airy, french baguette-like bread), and good ones at that. The BBQ pork baguette with cilantro, carrot, jalapeno, and spicy mayo ($5.50) is particularly delicious, if a bit small.
Clover Food TruckCarleton Street behind MIT Medical
There isn’t much I can say about the well-loved and publicly lauded Clover Food Truck that you haven’t already heard. They serve tasty vegetarian sandwiches like the Chickpea Fritter, Egg and Eggplant, and BBQ Seitan (all $6), and delicious rosemary fries ($3). But there are some downsides to this popular truck. The sandwiches don’t make for a particularly filling lunch, huge lines mean that you might have to wait a while for your food, and with the exception of the rotating seasonal sandwich and the daily soup specials, the menu hasn’t really changed at all for years. While I like the food at Clover, I don’t think it is so perfected that the occasional change isn’t warranted. That said, one of the best things about Clover is that they are open for three meals a day. They offer delicious oatmeal ($2) and pour-over coffee ($3) from 8 to 11 a.m., and are open until 8 p.m.
The Food Truck formerly know as Jerusalem CaféCarleton Street behind MIT Medical
While I know that the food truck that was once called Jerusalem Café has been repainted and is now operated by Beantown Taqueria, there are a couple things that I don’t know. One, I can’t seem to figure out what the truck’s name is. Two, I don’t know what to call the style of food they serve. The menu consists of some Lafa (a middle eastern bread similar to pita) sandwiches ($6), two salads ($6, also served with Lafa), lentil soup ($3), and chips ($1). Lafa is Middle Eastern, but the food isn’t Middle Eastern. I recently had a sandwich of Lafa, marinated pork, pico de gallo, and tzaziki sauce. I don’t know if what I ate was Iraqi, Greek, or Mexican, but it was very tasty. At $6 for a not-quite-big-enough sandwich, this isn’t really the most economical lunch choice. However, for days when I’m not as hungry, I will definitely consider eating at [whatever this food truck is called].
Jose’s Mexican Food TruckCarleton Street behind MIT Medical
If you are able to sneak past the ravenous vegetarian hoard that is omnipresent on the sidewalk in front of Clover, you will find yourself in front of Jose’s. While Jose’s traditional Mexican food menu may not be trendy and the line may move a bit slower, the food and value will certainly win you over. The staff is very friendly, and all of the food is made to order. Every time I’ve had beef ($6-$7), chorizo ($7), chicken ($6), or vegetables ($5) in a burrito, taco, or enchilada it’s been delicious. My top two favorites are the veggie enchiladas with Molé and the ground beef burrito. Served with well-seasoned rice, black or refried beans, and chips and salsa, it makes for a sizeable lunch for anyone. If I had to enter an exclusive lunching relationship and end my reckless days of eating around, it would be with Jose’s.