This Ain’t My First Rodeo: A Review of Chapel Hill’s Food Truck Rodeo

On Mar. 31, a parking lot in downtown Chapel Hill was filled with food trucks for the Rodeo on Rosemary event. This food truck rodeo was a fun and family-friendly event that featured many of the area’s most beloved food trucks. I attended the rodeo with the intention of enjoying the variety of food offered while still staying on a college student’s extremely limited budget—a feat which turned out to be harder than expected. However, despite the often pricey menus, the rodeo was still an excellent way to spend a couple hours on a cloudy Sunday afternoon.


One of the highlights of the event was the huge variety of food there. Food trucks in attendance included everything from classic taco trucks (like Tacotopia) and ice cream trucks (like the often-seen-aroundRaleigh JAM Soft Serve) to more niche food trucks like Holy Mole, Boricua Soul and Chirba Chirba. These were just a few of the trucks serving international specialties, and there were others that specialized in regional American cuisine. This included Buff-O-Lina, who brings the hot dogs and chicken wings of Buffalo, NY to NC and Succotash, where you can find food from “all the great cuisines south of the Mason-Dixon line,” according to Indiegogo. Also at the rodeo was the Cousins Maine Lobster truck, which was featured on the TV show Shark Tank in 2012 and has become a hugely successful franchise.


Of course, with over a dozen food trucks in attendance and the budget of an unemployed college student, it would have been nearly impossible to sample food from every truck. I decided to spend my money on dumplings from Chirba Chirba, and if their quality was indicative of that of the other food trucks, it’s no wonder there were so many people in line. The “Juicy Bun” dumplings, which were filled with pork, came in just a bit of ginger broth and were soft, warm and full of flavor. At a little over $6 before tax for six dumplings, they were one of the most reasonably priced options at the rodeo—far more affordable than Cousins Maine Lobster’s $15 entrees, to be certain.


Overall, the Rodeo on Rosemary was an enjoyable and delicious event. Though some of the more gourmet food trucks aren’t necessarily the most affordable eating options around, I felt my afternoon was well spent in the parking lot with the smell of sizzling food and sound of background tunes (played by a DJ who had fairly acceptable taste in music, with the notable exception of the “Baby Shark” song). Keep your eye out for upcoming rodeos for a chance to try these great trucks yourself, including the Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo on May 5 from 12-6 p.m. on Fayetteville St.


By Olivia Slack, Features Editor

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