The Taco TruckHow Mexican Street Food Is Transforming the American City


Serving up new flavors of city life

Icons of Mexican cultural identity and America’s melting pot ideal, taco trucks have transformed cityscapes from coast to coast. The taco truck radiates Mexican culture within non-Mexican spaces with a presence—sometimes desired, sometimes resented—that turns a public street corner into a bustling business.

Drawing on interviews with taco truck workers and his own skills as a geographer, Robert Lemon illuminates new truths about foodways, community, and the unexpected places where ethnicity, class, and culture meet. Lemon focuses on the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, and Columbus, Ohio, to show how the arrival of taco trucks challenge preconceived ideas of urban planning even as cities use them to reinvent whole neighborhoods. As Lemon charts the relationships between food practices and city spaces, he uncovers the many ways residents and politicians alike contest, celebrate, and influence not only where your favorite truck parks, but what’s on the menu.

Robert Lemon is an urban and social researcher and documentary filmmaker. His films include Transfusión.

“Overall this was truly a fascinating book. . . .Very much recommended reading.” —BookAnon.com: Confessions of a Bookaholic

“A fantastic book. I was repeatedly surprised by the numerous ways the author credibly links the act of mobile food vending to some of North America’s most poignant contemporary issues of cultural identity. The mix of interviews, participant observation, and discourse analysis is a perfect fit for exploring the themes.”–Joshua Long, author of Weird City: Sense of Place and Creative Resistance in Austin, Texas