These delicious stops are open year round.

When you’re longing for summer on a cold, gray day, get your fix at one of Nanaimo’s year-round food trucks. The smell of mini donuts and fresh cotton candy will transport you right back to the summer fair. Go for an in-car picnic overlooking the beach with a loaded taco or donair in hand. If you need a night off of cooking for the family, pick up healthy ethnic food. Nanaimo’s food truck scene offers impressive variety, and there are great options for those with dietary restrictions. Here’s where to start.

Tacomania

A stop at this food truck will lift your spirits and help you imagine you’re vacationing somewhere in Mexico. The authentic Mexican tacos with slow-cooked meat are the “Tacomaniac” crowd favourite, but there are GF, vegetarian and vegan options too. Try the jackfruit carnita (pork) taco braised in a home seasoning blend and topped with fresh cilantro, pickled onions and mango lime salsa. The grilled and breaded fish taco comes with homemade coleslaw. Si, por favor!

Where: Often in the Nanaimo North Town Centre parking lot outside of Lowes or at Duke Point. Look for a black truck with a masked Mexican wrestler and Mexican and Canadian flags. https://www.tacomaniafoodtruck.ca/ or https://www.facebook.com/Tacomania4Life

Donairnutz

This food truck serves up the best of both worlds: Donairz & Donutz. No need to make another stop for dessert. Here you can pick up a made-fresh donair (beef and lamb, chicken, or Beyond Meat veggie) and a dish of mini donuts straight out of the deep fryer and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Upgrade to the extreme mini donut experience and choose from confetti, Skor bar, s’mores, poutine or maple bacon. Order a slushie on the side for a sugar buzz reminiscent of the summer fair.

Where: Often at Maffeo Sutton Park or Departure Bay Beach. Look for a trailer painted like a brick wall covered in colourful graffiti.

https://www.facebook.com/Donairnutz

Sweet & Dandy Cotton Candy

Drop any prejudices you might have about cotton candy. This truck’s gourmet, homemade, small batch, fresh spun cotton candy is definitely not the old fashioned standard. So far the owners have experimented with more than 100 different flavours you’ve never tried. Come out and see what’s on the menu this week – maybe peach, sea salted caramel, dill pickle, maple bacon, pumpkin spice latte, or the cheddar served on a pepperoni stick. Take home The Tower 20-pack and make someone’s day.

Where: Often at Harewood Centennial Water Park. Look for the hot pink truck. http://www.sweetdandy.ca/ or https://www.facebook.com/sweetanddandycottoncandy

Tipsy Avocado

There’s something for every Mexican street food lover at this truck: tacos, nachos with beef, Mexican street corn dogs and churros. The gluten free fish taco in corn batter gets rave reviews. Tacos are as colorful as they are tasty with shredded cabbage, salsa fresca and pickled red onions.  Don’t miss the deep fried havarti or the polenta fries served with a homemade burrito sauce.

Where: Often at Harewood Centennial Water Park. Look for the bright lime green and yellow truck with giant avocado artwork. https://www.facebook.com/tipsy.avocado/

Tasty Street

If you’re looking for something on the healthier side, try this Asian fusion food truck. Most menu items aren’t deep fried and they incorporate organic, locally sourced ingredients. The Viet subs (banh mi) are stuffed with chicken, tofu or braised pork belly with Chinese Five Spice and star anise. Try a curry or lemongrass chicken rice bowl or, for something lighter, a salad roll. Expect big flavour and generous portions all around. The smoothies and Vietnamese iced coffee are a treat especially on a sunny day.

Where: Often at Maffeo Sutton Park, Harbourfront Library, Harewood Centennial Water Park. Look for the black truck with a brightly coloured landscape beneath the window.

https://www.facebook.com/Tasty-Street-Food-Truck-107038048334864

Harbour City Donuts

Really, is there any time of day or any season of the year that you can resist a donut truck with hot coffee? This newcomer on the Nanaimo food truck scene serves them up fresh and affordable. Come early, because they often sell out. You can choose a classic (glazed, chocolate dip, maple dip) or go for a fancy variety: apple fritter, lemon raspberry, maple bacon, Nanaimo bar. The special seasonal menu features over-the-top donut heaven specialties including root beer float, Malibu Barbie, chai, and cranberry white chocolate.

Where: Often in parking lots: Manvirros Indian Grill, the hospital, Nanaimo Ice Centre. Look for the shiny new red truck. http://harbourcitydonuts.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/HarbourCityDonuts

​​Al Khalid Food

Nanaimo’s only Halal food truck, Al Khalid features the food and flavours of Syria. The aromas of slow-roasted chicken and grilled ground beef draw in a stream of customers year-round. Pick up a falafel, shawarma or kebab pita wrap to go, or find a place to sit in the sun and add on the full meal with rice and salad. The pitas are perfectly toasted, the meat is packed with flavour, and the portions are generous.

Where: Often at Departure Bay Beach. Look for the red trailer with flames painted across the bottom. http://www.alkhalidfood.ca/For the latest info on Nanaimo’s food truck locations, check the city’s food truck calendar or the Nanaimo Food Trucks Facebook group.