By Kathy Stephenson | The Salt Lake Tribune
What’s on the menu at the next generation of Utah food trucks?
Stuffed flatbread from Afghanistan. Peanut stew from Senegal. All-American elk burgers. Burritos inspired by one of the most iconic English rock bands ever.
Hayat’s Grill, Balabe Senegalese Cuisine, Traditions Mobile Cafe and Sgt. Pepper’s Fat Burritos are four of the seven new mobile eateries that will compete in the third annual Salt Lake City Food Truck and Brewery Battle on Aug. 3.
In all, there will 18 food trucks — 11 are longtime favorites — at the all-ages event that runs from 4 to 10 p.m. at The Gateway Plaza, 100 S. Rio Grande St.
Complementing the food trucks will be beer from a dozen Utah breweries and entertainment on two stages. Admission is free, but bring your wallet to buy food and beer. Identification will be required to purchase beer.
“Last year we had more than 10,000 people attend, and we are excited to announce there will be more food trucks and local breweries to make the event bigger and better this year,” said Jacklyn Briggs, marketing director at The Gateway, one of four event sponsors along with The Food Truck League, U92 and The Salt Lake Tribune.
Guests will vote by text for People’s Choice awards, while Tribune editors will select the best new food truck and brewery. Winners will be announced at 9 p.m. on the Olympic Plaza stage.
Diners may not be familiar with the newer businesses — all about about a year old. So before the battle begins, here are the nominees for Salt Lake’s Best New Food Truck:
Balabe Senegalese Cuisine • This orange truck is the first to take Utah diners on a trip to Senegal, a country in west Africa where one of the most popular dishes is maafe, a rich tomato and peanut butter stew with chicken, fish or lamb. The truck serves it two ways: over rice or on French fries, the latter a twist on Canadian poutine. The Balabe truck is often spotted in front of the co-owner’s other Salt Lake City business — Twisted Roots, a rock and reggae store downtown.
Hayat’s Grill • A native of Afghanistan, Hayat Stoman is one of the first participants from Salt Lake City’s Spice Kitchen Incubator to launch a food truck. The program, which helps refugees and immigrants set up viable food businesses, helped him create the menu of Afghan favorites: stuffed flatbreads (bolanis), wraps, grilled kebabs, samosas and a rotating list of specials like khorma and palaw, a pilaf dish with carrots, raisins and meat.
Hungry Hawaiian • Meat-filled plates with Kalua pork, teriyaki chicken or teriyaki beef are the specialty along with steamed rice and macaroni salad. Adventurous diners seeking more island flavors can opt for grilled Spam musubi and sweet or mashed poi (made from taro). There’s also colorful guava cakes and malasadas — Hawaii’s take on deep-fried doughnut holes.
Monchi’s Mexican Grill • The border between Mexico and the United States blurs at this food truck where diners can get tacos, burritos and tortas, and single and double hamburguesas.
Raclette Machine • Raclette, which means scraped in French, is a European culinary tradition that pairs melted Alpine cheese with potatoes, bread, tiny pickles — called cornichon — and cured meat. Co-owners Zara Ahmed and Abby Pfunder also serve sandwiches at this “melted cheese experience.” The breakfast sando has a fried egg, poblano pesto and — what else? — melted cheese.
Sgt. Pepper’s Fat Burrito • Day trippers can get large burritos named for favorite Beatles songs at this truck, co-owned and operated by a Fab Four fan — who served in the U.S. Air Force — and his wife. The namesake Sgt. Pepper is filled with steak or chicken, black beans, cilantro rice, cheese, salsa and vegetables, while the Revolution is a giant Philly cheesesteak in a tortilla.
Traditions Mobile Cafe • This truck specializes in grilled sandwiches, burgers and hand-cut fries for adults. The grown-up grilled cheese has tomato, mozzarella, basil pesto and balsamic while the “I’ll Be Damned” Reuben is made with slow-cooked corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Adventurous eaters will be intrigued by the elk cheeseburger on a ciabatta bun.