Le Camion Qui Fume: the “street & slow” burger that makes Parisians queue

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Elena Mazzoni Wagner

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PARIS The first time was along the Canal Saint-Martin, nearby the Point Éphémère (a very underground arts center – known especially for the concerts – at 200, Quai de Valmy). We started queueing up at 7 pm and around 8.30 pm we were finally enjoying our burgers + french fries. And so we tasted this street food so much loved by Parisians to make them wait more than one hour!

It was worth the long wait? The first time, yes. Then, just be smart: show up to the opening hours as soon as possible (maybe having lunch or dinner a little earlier than usual). Since then – every time we are in this city – we check the CALENDAR (and route) of this colorful smoking truck to know when and where to satisfy our craving for burger and chips, and woe to you if you dare to get into one of those ugly fast food that are the same around the world, when there is a “mobile restaurant” like this one that cooks in American style but only with first quality and local products (which is why the colors’ truck recall the French flag).

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Street Food & Slow Food is the combination that Le Camion Qui Fume proposes in the streets of Paris since 2011. It says to be “le Premier Gourmet Food Truck de France” and it seems to be also the most famous. The idea was by the Californian Kristin Frederick, a young Chef who in 2009 left her Los Angeles to study at the Ecole Supérieure de Cuisine Française Ferrandi in Paris. She has brought with her the American culture of “food trucks” and she has perfectly managed to combine it with French cuisine, her great love.

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In the city of baguette and so of bread (there’s a boulangerie every ten steps), of entrecôte (beef sirloin), of le fromage and of chips indeed called french fries (although they actually come from Belgium), there are all the bases to create exceptional burgers. Kristin has understood this and her idea has become a gastronomic phenomenon, a gourmet fashion always valid.


Here are the ingredients of this success:
– a passion for French products with a budget as a student;
– a Chef with a driving license B (for trucks);
O-M-h on G-ars! …but it is true Cheddar!;
– amazing, the bread is made by a boulanger (baker);
– and the chefs really cook: home made meat and home made fries;
– this is true street food, comme là-bas dis!
– Vive Le Camion Qui Fume!

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An year of activity and Kristin publishes for her fans and followers a cookbook: “Burgers, les recettes du Camion Qui Fume” (2012). Here she also tells the whole philosophy that we find in every bite given to her burgers. Our favorite? Hard to say, but maybe we have a soft spot for the BURGER CAMPAGNE with gruyere cheese, caramelized onions and champignon mushrooms.

Last time we sat on the Église de la Madeleine‘s steps – looking at the Obélisque of Place de la Concorde – to enjoy our “packed” lunch signed by Le Camion Qui Fume. Next to the church of the elegant homonymous square, under the sun or rain, you’ll find Parisian men queueing in suits and women in tailleur. Because we don’t always eat as we dress! Tip: if, after lunch, you don’t have to go back to the office and you’re not in a hurry, you can walk off towards the Jardin des Tuileries (about 10 minutes walk away).

NOTE! To know the itinerary of the two current smoking trucks in circulation, consult the CALENDAR on the official website or on the facebook page! But beware: the photos that you could see will make you very hungry! The schedule, in general, is from 11.00 to 14.00 and from 19.00 to 22.00. The menu is short (7 types of burgers: 5 with beef (Classique, Barbecue, Campagne, Blue (cheese), daily one) + 1 with pork + 1 vegetarian; chips or salad; cheesecake) and the prices are fair (burger: 8 €; burger + side dish: 10 €) for high-quality products and very tasty recipes. What else… BON APPÉTIT!

AH! If you are not too keen on “street food” and you prefer to dine in a more comfortable way, you can enjoy wonderful SANDWICH by the “immobile” brother of the Camion: Freddie’s Deli, a small restaurant in the neighborhood of Belleville (22, Rue Crespin du Gast).

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Site: lecamionquifume.com
Facebook: lecamionquifume | Twitter: @LeCamionQuiFume | Instagram: @lecamionquifume

Elena Mazzoni Wagner