One of the best festivals in Raleigh happens four times a year: The Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo! The festival brings in more than 40 food trucks from across the state, one of the most anticipated events in Raleigh. It’s a great way to experience food from more “famous” food trucks and discover new favorites. Spanning almost half a mile, the Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo has something for everyone.
North Carolina Food Trucks
North Carolina, with great weather year-round and festivals from tiny towns to the big city, food trucks have been popular here for a long time.
These are just a few of the trucks you’ll find at the Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo.
Cousins Maine Lobster
One of the most famous food trucks in the country, Cousins Maine Lobster is a staple at the food truck festival. Started with just one truck in California, there are now 20 trucks in 13 cities, offering the same fabulous Maine lobster roll they are known for. They always have a long line, but no one seems to mind the wait.
A Raleigh born food truck, Arepa Culture serves award winning food throughout the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill). Arepas are gluten free corn meal cakes cooked on a grill and stuffed with delicious fillings like chicken and avocado, or BBQ pork and pico de gallo.
The Naked Empanada
Another locally famous food truck, The Naked Empanada, is the culmination of a dream for founder, Roy Thombs. A professional chef with years of experience at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, Chef Thombs took his training, culinary skills and experience to the streets with his truck.
Passionate foodie fans show up wherever the truck happens to go, including the Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo.
Sister Liu’s Kitchen
Another award winning food truck, this time from nearby Durham, is Sister Liu’s Kitchen which serves traditional Chinese food from dumplings to Chinese burgers (stuffed buns) to noodle and rice bowls. The menu includes both mild dishes and spicy dishes to please every palate. We enjoyed pork dumplings with pickled cabbage.
Moon Runner’s Saloon
In North Carolina, moonshine and brisket deserve full chapters in the state history books. Putting these great flavors together with hand cut fries… Need I say more?
Moon Runners Saloon got its start as a brick and mortar restaurant and bar in Garner, NC, near Raleigh. The food truck allows them to take their moonshine inspired recipes on the road. Every bite is delicious at this Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo fan favorite.
Of course, no food truck meal is complete without dessert! The Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo had local frozen custard favorite, Goodberry’s (with standalone shops throughout the Triangle), as well as a doughnut truck.
We had to try the newcomer: Not Just Icing.
Not Just Icing
Begun in 2013 as a cupcake truck, Not Just Icing was converted into an edible cookie dough and ice cream truck in 2021.
The only edible cookie dough food truck in the Raleigh area, Not Just Icing serves a variety of cookie dough and ice cream flavors to mix and match. The hardest part is deciding whether to eat all cookie dough or to mix with ice cream. We opted to mix the brownie batter with cookies and cream ice cream.
It was the perfect way to top off a fun afternoon downtown.
About Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo
The Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo is offered four times each year. While it got its start downtown on Fayetteville Street, this popular event will be moving to Dix Park in the future. The new location offers more space and convenient parking to allow this popular event to grow.
Article written by Karen Dawkins of Family Travels on a Budget.
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