Charleston, South Carolina is known for its unique, exciting food scene. Its downtown restaurants boast some of the best cuisine in the south, but its food trucks showcase the wide variety of dishes the city offers to visitors and residents.
If you are wondering what to do in Charleston, South Carolina for fun, hit the streets to try out the delectable dishes offered by the many Charleston food trucks in the area. Follow this ultimate guide to Charleston’s food trucks to discover a host of available options you can try to find your favorite cuisine.
Best Breakfast Food Trucks
Start your day off right with breakfast or coffee from one of the city’s breakfast-themed food trucks. Diddy’s Donuts and Coffee, Brunch Holiday and Lavanta Coffee are excellent options.
Diddy’s Donuts and Coffee, LLC
Diddy’s Donuts and Coffee, LLC serves a smorgasbord of mini donut flavors to get your morning started on the sweet side. They also offer hot and iced coffee to help perk you up for the day.
Winner of the Food Network’s “Big Food Truck Tip” with Andrew Zimmerman, Brunch Holiday features dishes with a combination of southern, British and European flavor profiles. Their most popular dishes are the Scotch Eggs and the British Banger — sausage, egg and cheese — known as the “S.E.C.”
Lavanta Coffee is a mobile coffee unit that sells lattes, cappuccinos, Americanos, mochas and more using beans roasted by Levanta Coffee Roasters. Grab your pick-me-up for breakfast or later in the day after wandering around Charleston’s many sightseeing opportunities.
BKeDSHoP is a specialty donut and coffee store that offers food truck services for various local events. Offerings in their food trucks vary but feature a variety of yeast donut flavors, filled donuts, fritters and cake donuts. BKeDSHoP is known for offering made-from-scratch treats like pop tarts, pretzels, Ho Ho’s and cookies, as well as drip coffee, lattes, espressos and seasonal drinks.
Best Italian Food Trucks
Charleston boasts a few food trucks that specialize in Italian foods. A Lotta Ciabatta and Drunk Tony’s are two of the city’s most popular.
A Lotta Ciabatta
A Lotta Ciabatta food truck offers several sandwich options, many of which are bookended by classic Italian ciabatta bread. Try their ciabatta grilled cheese with old bay crispy fries for a delicious lunch.
Drunk Tony’s is a popular food truck in Charleston serving classic Italian dishes like gnocchi, fried ravioli and chicken rigatoni a la vodka. This food truck is hugely popular with its followers, with many writing reviews that say it is the best Italian food they’ve ever tasted.
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Best Asian Food Trucks
Asian food is a popular niche in Charleston’s food truck scene. The top food trucks serving Asian cuisine are Roti Rolls and Happy Thai Food Truck.
Roti Rolls offers an ever-changing menu of Asian, Latin and Indian cuisine wrapped in roti bread. The food truck sources supplies from local farmers, which allows them to change dishes according to seasonal availability. They feature curries, bean dishes, pickled vegetables and much more. Roti Rolls is often found at local festivals and is popular with the younger crowd, but it is enjoyed by people of all ages.
Happy Thai Food Truck
Happy Thai Food Truck brings the vibrant flavors of Thai food to Charleston. They offer classic pad thai, along with Thai chicken wings and jasmine rice, hand-rolled spring rolls and Thai iced tea.
Best Latin and Mexican Food Trucks
Find delicious Latin and Mexican dishes at Madrigal’s Tacos and Latin Cuisine and Rebel Taqueria in Charleston.
Madrigal’s Tacos and Latin Cuisine
If you are looking for Latin cuisine, Madrigal’s Tacos and Latin Cuisine in Charleston is one of the best food trucks to try. This truck has it all — from shrimp ceviche to Cuban sandwiches to tacos, empanadas, tostones and Caribbean or Portuguese rice.
Madrigal’s succeeds in offering high-class Latin food in food truck format, which is something to be appreciated.
If you are staying downtown, you may already know about Rebel Taqueria. The taqueria is a local Charleston restaurant that sends a pop-up truck to various locations and events around town.
The trucks offer a smaller array of dishes than the restaurant. However, you can expect to sample nachos, quesadillas, burritos and tacos if you visit the pop-up version.
Part of the Westside food hospitality operation, Semilla is a Charleston-based food truck inspired by street carts seen in Mexico City. The owners want to promote exciting, accessible foods to people in the neighborhood.
They offer carnitas tacos, shrimp tacos and chicken tacos, along with barbacoa burritos, brussel sprout burritos, salads and chips and salsa.
Best BBQ Food Trucks
The BBQ scene in Charleston is growing in popularity nationwide, and food trucks offering BBQ are a great option for sampling the local dishes. Cast Iron Food Truck, Southern Roots Smokehouse Barbeque and Cooking Carolina Pit Bar-B-Que are top BBQ food trucks to try.
Cooking Carolina Pit Bar-B-Que
Cooking Carolina Pit Bar-B-Que is a food truck and catering operation run by John Wade, the BBQ joint’s pitmaster. This truck’s cuisine is based on the vinegar, pit-cooked Carolina-style BBQ traditional to the area.
Cooking Carolina offers roasted oysters, boiled shrimp, pulled pork, baked beans, potato salad and red rice, among other Carolina favorites.
Cast Iron Food Truck
With eight years of on-the-road experience, Cast Iron Food Truck is one of the best-loved food trucks in Charleston. The owner, Victor, uses his mother’s Carolina BBQ pulled pork recipe to delight the tastebuds of the community.
Although the menu changes daily, Cast Iron usually offers the Carolina BBQ sandwich, black, and bleu burger, jerk chicken sandwich and the “Notorious P.I.G. Sandwich.”
Southern Roots Smokehouse Barbeque
Southern Roots Smokehouse Barbeque food truck features classic BBQ dishes like smoked brisket, pulled pork and smoked chicken, along with baked mac and cheese, collard greens with bacon, coleslaw and french fries.
They pride themselves on traveling across the Lowcountry to various locations to reach various events and locations to spread their love of classic BBQ dishes.
Best Seafood Food Trucks
Situated just off the Atlantic coast, Charleston is well known for its fresh seafood dishes. A Shai Taste, And Lobster and Charleston Caribbean Creole Food Truck provide delicious seafood fare for those looking to sample the local catch.
A Shai Taste
A Shai Taste is a small food truck owned by Shai da Diva, a local who loves offering home-cooked seafood dishes to her customers. She offers fried blue crab and snow crab cluster boxes, Lowcountry boiled shrimp, crawfish boxes, mussels and fried gator. Enjoy Shai’s down-home cooking by yourself or with the whole family.
And Lobster is a food truck that brings New England-style lobster rolls to South Carolina. Chef Robert Cassi offers several different lobsters, shrimp and chicken rolls to those wanting to sample the cuisine, along with kettle chips, peanut butter and ginger slaw, and goat cheese and orzo pasta salad.
If you are hankering for seafood from New England, this unique food truck is the way to go.
Charleston Caribbean Creole Food Truck
Charleston Caribbean Creole Food Truck is a food truck and take-out restaurant specializing in food items that fuse Creole and Caribbean flavor profiles. They offer sweet plantains, fried shrimp, jerk chicken, Lowcountry curry goat stew, shrimp and crab rice, along with a slew of additional vibrant dishes.
The truck travels outside of Charleston to Summerville and Mount Pleasant, so if you are in the area viewing cozy Mount Pleasant homes for sale, check the truck’s schedule to see if you can grab a bite.
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Best “Americana” Food Trucks
If you are looking for food trucks that offer traditional Carolina dishes, try Area 51 Foods, LLC and Johnny Poppers Burger Buggy.
Area 51 Foods, LLC
Area 51 Foods is a unique food truck that services traditional American fast food dishes with an out-of-this-world twist. They offer Alien Bowls with protein and rice, philly cheesesteaks, meatball subs, chicken wraps, tater tots and mozzarella sticks.
Source: Seba Tataru/Shutterstock.com
The combination of dishes along with the space theme makes Area 51 Foods a fun stop where anyone in the family can find something they’ll enjoy.
Jonny Poppers Burger Buggy
If you are in the mood for burgers, the traditional American meal, try Jonny Poppers Burger Buggy. A popular food truck at local events, Jonny’s serves burgers, fries and coleslaw, the quintessential American combo.
Their top 7-oz.-burger options are the Grand Gouda Burger, Jonny Popper Burger, Chucktown Cheddar Bacon Burger and the Heavenly Horsey Havarti Burger. They also offer The Dillard Black Bean Burger as a vegetarian option.
Best Health-Focused Food Trucks
If you focus on healthier food options, Dashi and Bangin’ Vegan Eats are great food truck choices in Charleston.
Bangin’ Vegan Eats
Bangin’ Vegan Eats is the premier vegan food truck in the Charleston area. They offer 100% vegan food to locals, catering to an underserved niche. Vegan Eats menu offers breaded and fried cauliflower called Hunny Garlic Bangers and Real Deal Nachos that use tortilla chips, BBQ beans, peach compote and jalapenos.
They also serve seasoned friends, a dirty south bean burger and a plant-based hot dog to excite vegan taste buds.
Dashi food truck offers unique Asian and Latin fusion food that is full of healthy proteins and veggies. Dashi offers menu items like pad thai with wild rice noodles, broccoli and egg, pork belly tacos, Thai wings and steamed buns; you will find a variety of options to tempt your tastebuds.
The unique menu items and its combination of Latin and Asian dishes offer you several healthy dishes, along with a few indulgent options that keep you full all day.
Best Dessert Food Trucks
Got a sweet tooth? Charleston’s dessert food trucks are ready to serve you delectable ice creams and other desserts. Charleston Pops, Cirsea, Holy Rolly Charleston and King of Pops are the top dessert food trucks in the city.
Charleston Pops is a gourmet sweets food truck that spreads joy with its selection of cake pops, popsicles, ice cream sandwiches and hand-pie pops.
Charleston Pops has become so popular they are moving into a brick-and-mortar location. However, their food truck will still operate at various farmers’ markets and local events.
Cirsea is a craft ice cream company that partners with local Charleston food venues and sends food trucks to local events. Their truly decadent ice cream is hand-crafted in small batches to produce a delicious, unique treat for their customers.
They feature stunning flavors like bourbon caramel, black sesame, latte, lavender, matcha and vanilla black pepper, along with the classics like chocolate and vanilla ice cream and strawberry sorbet.
Holy Rolly Charleston
Holy Rolly Charleston provides customers with a truly decadent dessert experience. They specialize in making rolled ice cream using a made-from-scratch base. The ice cream is served in a dessert taco, dessert sushi or a cup, making it a fun experience.
Holy Rolly offers ice cream dishes with names that represent not only their ingredients but their big personalities. Their most popular offerings are:
- The Banana Hammock
- The Ragdoll
- The Devil’s Playground
- The Big Panda
- The Mad Cow
- The Sticky Icky
In addition to their staple menu, they also offer seasonal items such as the Get Shorty, The Shamrock and The Italian Stallion.
King of Pops – Charleston
King of Pops is an online popsicle crafter that sends out cold pushcarts to events around the Charleston area. Typically King of Pops offers flavors like chocolate sea salt, cookies ‘n cream, raspberry lime, banana puddin’ and orange cream.
Over the past several years, they have created over 500 flavors using natural ingredients to provide moments of fun to adults and children every spring and summer.
Get a Taste of Charleston’s Food Trucks
Whether you are vacationing in the Holy City or are a full-fledged resident, Charleston’s food trucks offer you the opportunity to sample exciting, niche cuisine without having to sit down for an entire meal.
You can sample what you like and keep moving so you can explore more of the beautiful city. With all the food truck options, you can grab breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert while on the go.