By Shannon Kehoe
A roar of music hit the stage on a cool Saturday afternoon at Frogner Park in Oslo, Norway. Piknik i Parken or Pipfest was in full swing. Picnic tables covered with food ranging from tacos and burgers to fish and grilled cheese were surrounded by happily munching adults and running children with ice cream-stained faces.
Summer in Oslo brings a new way to eat: food trucks. In the five years since they were first introduced, the food trucks have made an impact on the way food is consumed within the city.
During PiPfest, 4 Gringos Tacos serves up Mexican food from their moderately-sized truck at an alarming rate, a clear indication of the quality of their nachos, burritos, tacos, and quesadillas. The Gringos’ award-winning tacos are available year-round, as one truck stays open through the winter.
Anna Seliga, the 4 Gringos office manager, called orders for the rest of her crew while they were parked near Vigeland Stage during PiPfest. With three festivals to cover she says even the bosses are working.
Little Boys Mafia owns 4 Gringos Tacos. The company’s three bosses hail from Poland, Ireland, and Kenya, proving that a love of food knows no boundaries. Little Boys Mafia owns four taco trucks, in addition to The Sausage Factory, another food truck that was set up at Vigeland Stage.
Seliga moved from London to Norway looking for a job change but said it was hard for her to find work because she isn’t fluent in Norwegian – until Little Boys Mafia gave her a chance. Actually, the entire staff represents a wide array of cultural backgrounds: the fish and chips are served up by Bernard from Croatia.
A little way down was Matteo Stornaiuolo from Italy. He and his two coffee carts and ice cream cart were at PiPfest and guests loved them. It seemed as if everyone held an ice cream as they relaxed on their blankets to watch performers on stage.
As the evening cooled, the coffee cart line was backed up as patrons waited for lattes and cappuccinos. Stornaiuolo said that, although the food truck culture isn’t as popular as it is in Denmark or Italy, Norwegian food trucks provide opportunities for young people and have gained in popularity.
Food trucks provide a reasonably priced alternative to a restaurant meal and are easily accessible for pedestrians. As the possibility of a “car-free Oslo” nears, Stornaiuolo sees this as a way to fill up former parking lots with something good – food trucks!