As I previously wrote in Food Truck Date #4: The Epic Greek Rendezvous, I was able to track down food trucks while in Athens, Greece for a Food Truck Date. Who knew this food truck phenom stretched over our borders and across the world too?! Kinda makes me want to eat at food trucks all over the world. (250 food truck dates, here I come).
When researching food trucks in Athens, I found one beautifully helpful site in English about food trucks in Athens. Everything else in a Google search came up with results for food trucks in Athens, Georgia, and I was stressing that food trucks didn’t actually exist in Athens until I found this site. I was lucky enough to be vacationing in Greece, not Georgia. Two totally different types of men and dates come outta those places, something tells me.
The site, Culinary Backstreets, said that the Greek call their food trucks vromiko – “dirty” in Greek – not for the truck themselves and the food, but for the general condition the Greeks find themselves in at 5 a.m. while tracking down food trucks to eat at after a long night out (the customary way to eat at a food truck in this European country).
Culinary Backstreets also mentioned that two of the most famous Greek vromikos are located in the center of Athens at Mavili Square. One of the trucks, Mavili, serves hot dogs that are such an entwined part of Athens culture that one of Athens’ rock n’ roll singers, Giorgos Dimitriadis, wrote a song about them. Giorgos sings about hanging out in Mavili Square and watching his ex eat a hot dog from Mavili’s with her new boyfriend. Food truck heartbreak! Hopefully too much of that isn’t in my future. And oh yes, I found the song for you to listen to via that linked text up there. Even though you can’t tell what it says at all, you can pretend Giorgos is a hot Greek man singing to you. That’s what I did, duh.
Both trucks, Mavili and the second one, Kotoboukis – which serves fancy “chicken nuggets” - launched somewhere around the late 1980s and are permanently parked in their locations. The stationary food trucks of Athens are a change from the roaming food truck culture we have here in the Bay (although someone recently told me that Portland has a stationary food truck culture also). For me, part of the fun of this whole food truck phenom is trying to track the trucks down in their different locations and feeling the excitement of a FTG (food truck gem: a food truck you’ve read about but haven’t been able to locate yet). But when in Rome… or Athens… Bah dum dummm.
I chose Mavili vromiko for my date – the famous heartbreak hot dogs! These hot dogs are actually served in a pressed panini-type roll instead of the American hot dog bun. When I ordered my hot dog from the truck owner, he asked me if I wanted one or two hot dogs in my bun. Ovbs I threw extra lips and assholes caution into the wine and went with two dogs. These “hot dogs” are made to order each time and highly customizable with the option of frying or boiling your dog, adding grilled onions, cabbage, carrots, sauce, French fries, mustard, ketchup or mayonnaise. I went with the whole BIG shebang! I wanted the full Greek hot dog from a food truck experience.
This is by far the first time I’ve eaten my hot dog with carrots, french fries, sweet onions and a mystery sauce, but hot damn – it was surprisingly super good. America needs to get with the program and start SUPERsizing their hot dogs, two instead of one in the bun, and adding french fries. The Greek know what they’re doing, obvs, and these hot dogs couldn’t possibly add to America’s obesity problem. Nahhhh.
Mavili vromiko also sells traditional Greek souvlaki, panini and crepes, and if you’re lucky, you’ll still be able to find it in Mavili Square if you find yourself in Athens someday (hopefully sans heartbreak).