People holding bowls of food outside Red Sesame food truck in Cincinnati (photo by Matt Witherspoon)
Food + Drink

5 Ohio Food Trucks for World Cuisine

Embark on a journey around the culinary globe without leaving the state. These food trucks serve fare ranging from Latin American street food to Korean barbecue.

Red Sesame Korean BBQ
BJ Kim’s Cincinnati-based food truck features a fusion of Korean and Mexican cuisines with a dash of Mediterranean inspiration.

Sauce was the start of this Cincinnati-area food truck. In 2011, owner BJ Kim moved from New York to Cincinnati, and when he arrived, he got the sense that the Queen City was lacking in some culinary options, particularly Korean fare.

So, he began researching food trucks and got to work in his home kitchen making different sauces. Early standouts were his variation of doenjang, a Korean version of miso paste, and a specialty sauce featuring a gochujang base. After asking several friends to do taste tests, he was confident enough to take his Red Sesame Korean BBQ on the road, buying a food truck and opening for business in 2012.

“I always felt that hardly anyone knew about Korean food much, so it was Korean food right off the bat,” says Kim, who then merged Asian flavors with preparations inspired by Mexican cuisine. “There are Korean burritos and tacos and kimchi on hot dogs.”

Kim says his approach is also shaped by Mediterranean cuisine, as well as ideas from great meals he and his friends have enjoyed over the years.

“I just recollected these memories from restaurants and food that I had with my friends and what they liked,” he says. “I just incorporated their thoughts into this.”

Red Sesame can often be found at Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati as well as public events across the city. Kim cites the Korean taco as the truck’s most popular offering. Customers choose from beef, chicken or tofu topped with a special sauce and romaine lettuce tossed in vinaigrette.

Kim’s personal favorite is the Yummy Bowl, prepared with a bed of turmeric- and ginger-seasoned rice and piled with romaine, a vinaigrette, cheddar jack cheese, homemade sauce and a customer’s choice of protein.


King Tut Egyptian Street Food

Hadia and Nader Soliman have a passion for cooking and hosting. Since May 2021, the couple has turned that love toward King Tut Egyptian Street Food, their from-scratch food trailer inspired by authentic recipes from Hadia’s mother’s and to-go fare from their native country.

“Of course, my mom has the secrets and her own tricks for cooking,” Hadia says. “The hidden tricks really make the big difference.”

The menu of the Brecksville-based business features six wraps named after notable Egyptian figures, including the Nefertiti, filled with chicken shawarma; the Ramses, made with falafel; and the Snefro, a distinctly Egyptian dish otherwise known as beef hawawshi that consists of grilled pita with spiced ground beef and onions.

The Cleopatra features grilled beef liver, which Hadia cites as being a very popular meat in Egyptian cuisine. Customers should be sure to pair whatever wrap they choose with an order of Zoser, fried potatoes with an Egyptian spice mix that is enjoyed best with the creamy garlic sauce.


Chicken tocino at Parilya food truck in Cleveland (photo by Rachael Jirousek)
Roger San Juan worked in food service for over two decades before striking out on his own. He wanted to start small, so in 2019, he launched his Cleveland-area food trailer specializing in Filipino fare, Parilya. During his first outing at Rockin’ on the River in Lorain, attendees were passing by without notice, so San Juan began handing out samples and, sure enough, a line began to form. It’s been that way ever since, with word-of-mouth and repeat customers helping fuel Parilya’s success.

“People come and say, ‘Oh, I heard from my friends, I heard from my neighbor,’ ” San Juan says. “That’s why we’re here. We’re trying our best to bring more Filipino food [to the public].”

One of Parilya’s most popular dishes is its tocino: grilled pineapple-marinated chicken served over fried or steamed rice with egg and pickled veggies. Another favorite is the pork sisig, consisting of chargrilled pork and sweet and spicy peppers.


Tortilla Street Food

Walter Eguez has been in the food-truck business for over a decade, debuting his Tortilla Street Food in 2013. Prior to that, he was working at a restaurant, where he met his business partner Gustavo Salazar, whom Eguez credits for his knowledge of Mexican cuisine. Since its launch, Tortilla Steet Food has grown to three trucks as well as a seasonal spot at Columbus Commons.

“Everybody loves tacos,” Eguez says. “It’s what everyone wants to eat.”

Not surprisingly, he suggests customers order a few when grabbing a bite from Tortilla Street Food for the first time, but the menu is also filled with customizable dishes including burritos, salads, quesadillas and walking tacos that feature house-made salsas and special sauces. There are even churros with chocolate or caramel dipping sauce.

“It’s fast. It’s quick,” Eguez says. “That’s the food truck industry.”


Empanadas at Sandusky’s The Gaucho & The Gringa food truck (photo courtesy of The Gaucho & The Gringa)
The Gaucho & The Gringa

Shannon Bradford and Jorge Avila met while backpacking in Chile, a happenstance that not only led to their marriage but also sharing their love of South American cuisine with others. In 2016, they launched the Argentinian-fusion food trailer The Gaucho & The Gringa, serving empanadas, choripapas and specialty burgers.

The couple knows that sourcing quality meat is paramount to Argentinian cuisine, so after relocating to Sandusky, they turned to Circle P Limousin Farms in New London for their grass-fed and grass-finished beef. The food trailer’s bestseller is far and away its empanadas. Jorge makes the fillings using his mother’s recipes and presses the pastries by hand. Then there are the choripapas, hand-cut fries topped with crumbled bratwurst, nacho cheese, grilled onions and garlic chimichurri sauce.

“It’s one of our most popular dishes,” Shannon says, adding that its fans return time after time. “People will come to the window and show me a camera roll of pictures [of it] throughout the years.”