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50 of the Best Food Trucks in the U.S.

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Gourdoughs

Some of the best restaurants around the country are on wheels. Whether you're craving fish tacos, wood-fired pizza, or ice cream and doughnuts, these roving eateries prove you don’t need a fancy kitchen to serve up mouth-watering cuisine.

1. URBAN SUGAR

Location: Portland, Maine

Miss Rosie the Urban Sugar truck was so popular roaming Portland’s streets serving bite-sized, gourmet doughnuts (and wintering at the nearby Sugarloaf Mountain) that owner Kevin Sandes was able to open a permanent storefront at the skiing base lodge. But Rosie continues to make the summer rounds downtown and at weddings, doling out mini concoctions like the sweet Ol’ Blue Eyes (a lavender pastry cream with lemons curds and Nilla wafer crumbs) or savory Figgy (with fig jam, toasted walnuts, goat cheese, and green onions).

2. THE FRENCH QUARTER

Location: Hoboken, New Jersey

Why travel to Mardi Gras when Mardi Gras can come to you? Cajun-style fried shrimp, jambalaya, and other New Orleans treats are available to Jersey residents year-round. Just look for the bright purple and yellow truck.

3. SEOUL TACO

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Food from Seoul Taco
Seoul Taco

Not only does this Korean-Mexican fusion truck serve rave-worthy tacos, quesadillas, and burritos around St. Louis (and at a handful of regional storefronts, based on the cheap-eats’ street popularity), but when owner David Choi launched his second truck in the Lou last summer, he decided to use it as an opportunity to help underserved areas. All Monday proceeds are donated to St. Louis’s Metro Market, a non-profit mobile farmers’ market that aims to provide healthy, local foods to the city’s poorer neighborhoods.

4. ROXY'S GRILLED CHEESE

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Roxy's has been serving comfort food on four wheels since 2011. The menu is stuffed with grilled cheese sandwiches that showcase the owners' Boston pride, like the Green Muenster, their muenster, bacon, and guacamole sandwich named for the iconic left field wall at Fenway Park.

5. RICKY'S FISH TACOS

Location: Los Angeles, California

In a city filled with diverse cuisines, a fish taco is one the dish that’s 100 percent Los Angeles. And in true L.A. fashion, the city’s best is served out of a food truck. The fish at Ricky’s is fried to golden brown perfection and served under a refreshing layer of chopped cabbage and pico de gallo. A taco is only complete after a trip to the condiment station, where patrons can dress their meal with white sauce and salsa to their liking.

6. MOO

Location: New Hope, Pennsylvania

Moo Food truck
Moo

A burger from MOO is a bite of rural Pennsylvania between two buns. The ingredients that go into the All-American menu, like the grass-fed beef for the burgers, the potatoes for the fries, and the ice cream for the milkshakes, are sourced from farmers and purveyors in the community. Keep an eye out for their seasonal shake flavors like apple pie.

7. CONEY SHACK

Location: Brooklyn, New York

The next time you're going on a beach trip to Coney Island, take a quick detour to Coney Shack, an unassuming taco truck situated amongst government buildings and a police station. The Asian fusion menu offers up loaded tacos, uniquely topped hot dogs, and grilled cheese. Try their Holy Phuc and you'll find yourself saying the name of the meal over and over.

8. I DON'T GIVE A FORK

Location: Newark, Delaware

You can find this punny food truck scooting around the campus of the University of Delaware and the greater Newark area. I Don't Give a Fork serves all the greasy college classics (including a likely hangover cure, their scrapple-and-fried-egg topped breakfast burger) and features a couple of more unusual entrees, like the Mac & Cheesesteak.

9. HOLY CACAO

Location: Austin, Texas

Holy Cacao was founded in 2009 as a hot chocolate trailer, and soon expanded to include all manner of sweet treats: There’s frozen hot chocolate and ice cream floats, drinking chocolate and cake balls. To make the cake balls, cakes are baked and then crumbled, combined with frosting and hand-rolled into balls, which are speared with lollipop sticks, dipped in gourmet chocolate, and finished with toppings. What’s left over from the crumbled cakes is blended with chocolate or vanilla ice cream to create truly divine cake shakes.

10. COOLHAUS

Location: Various

ice cream sandwiches from coolhaus
Coolhaus

Coolhaus has been serving up ice cream sandwiches since 2009, when the founders hit the road in a former postal van to sell frozen treats at Coachella. The sammies come with a side of puns, with architecture-inspired names like the "I.M. Pei-Nut Butter" and the "Mies Vanilla Rohe." Ten Coolhaus trucks are now roaming the streets of L.A., New York, and Dallas, and they’ve added pints and dipped bars to their menu.

11. CUPCAKES FOR COURAGE

Location: Chicago and Elmhurst, Illinois

What could be better than enjoying a sweet treat and doing good at the same time? Cupcakes for Courage was founded by sisters Kathryn Chandler and Laura Pekarik after Kathryn was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's T-cell lymphoma in 2010. They donate a portion of their proceeds to a variety of worthy causes, including the American Cancer Society and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And the fact that their Cupcake Wars-winning baked goods are amazing is just, well, the icing on the cake. Fan favorites include Pink Velvet and Maple Bacon.

12. S'MORE LOVE BAKERY

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

If you get nostalgic for a good ol' fashioned s'more—a toasted marshmallow and a melty square of chocolate sandwiched between two honey graham crackers—S’more Love in Nashville can scratch that itch. But they also have some gourmet options that may end up replacing the traditional version as your favorite. The Elvis is packed with excess, just like its namesake: homemade vanilla marshmallows, sweet heart-shaped honey grahams, chocolate ganache, honey-roasted peanut butter, and, of course, some banana.

13. MAC MART

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The basis of every dish coming out of this Philadelphia food truck, founded in 2013, is a non-baked seven-cheese mac topped with a panko and crumbled potato chip crunch; the customer takes it to the next level with the mix-ins. Make your own or choose from a vast array of Mac Mart-designed dishes, from the The Wit' Mac (topped "wit" Philly steak and caramelized onions and finished with a ketchup drizzle) to the Rittenhouse (topped with garlicky spinach and artichoke dip).

14. GOURDOUGH'S

Location: Austin, Texas

Gourdoughs trailer
Gourdoughs

Gourdough’s Big Fat Donuts lives up to its name: Each of its huge, delicious doughnuts—served out of a 1977 Airstream trailer on South First—could easily be a meal. Standouts include the Fat Elvis, a peanut butter glazed doughnut topped with grilled bananas, bacon, and honey; the Razzle Dazzle, a raspberry-filled, fudge topped doughnut; and the Flying Pig, a maple syrup glazed doughnut topped with a lot of bacon. (There’s also a brick and mortar Gourdough’s with a full menu, including doughnut sandwiches and burgers, on South Lamar.) Each doughnut is made to order and served hot for maximum yum.

15. PHO NOMENAL DUMPLINGS

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

If you want boring food served by boring people, find another truck. Sophia Woo and Sunny Lin’s out-of-this-world food and go-get-em attitudes have driven Pho Nomenal Dumplings straight to the top, earning them first place in the Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race in 2015. The Raleigh-based truck is the place to go for stuff-your-face Asian favorites like pork and chive dumplings, beef pho, and Taiwanese spaghetti.

16. PRETTY ODD WEINERS

Location: Tahoe, California

Before the food truck craze took America by storm, hot dogs were the country’s standard street food. This Lake Tahoe truck serves reimagined versions of the classic dish. Quarter-pound dogs are paired with toppings like mac and cheese, avocado, and French fries. And a section of the menu is dedicated to exotic sausages that sate customers’ tastes for boar, bison, and elk meat.

17. THE SOUPER WAGON

Location: Crystal Bay, Nevada

Organic soup's on at The Souper Wagon, with everything from pork pozole, spicy thai coconut, and chicken soup with matzo balls on the menu. There's even an dairy- and gluten-free chicken pot pie option, as well as a variety of vegetarian and vegan soups.

18. THE TOT CART

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

tots at the tot cart
The Tot Cart

The words gourmet and tater tots might not seem to go together, but The Tot Cart proves that they totally do. The food truck, which has been operating since 2013, was named Best Food Truck in Philly in 2015; it’s famous for its Drunk Cheese tots, which are topped in homemade beer cheese. Also getting high marks are the G-Parm—tots tossed in garlic parmesan cheese—and its Totchos, which are topped with ground beef, drunk cheese, avocado cream, and salsa. Their best seller is the Buffalo Chicken Tots, which are topped with slow-cooked buffalo chicken and drizzled with blue cheese. We’re hungry just thinking about it!

19. THE WAFFLE WAGON

Location: Loxahatchee, Florida

We're pretty sure the reason the Loxahatchee, Florida-based Waffle Wagon is so-named is because you’ll waffle between which creation to choose. You can go sweet or savory, but it’s the Wu Tang Waffle that seems to get the most love on Facebook—that would be a fluffy Liege waffle topped with chicken tenders drenched in sweet teriyaki sauce and a side of soy ginger Asian slaw.

20. O'CHEEZE

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

In 2014, husband-and-wife team Haley and Tony Fritz decided to take their "unhealthy love for grilled cheese" to a professional level. At O'Cheeze, a big yellow food truck that roams the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, you can get a wide variety of melty, gooey goodness, from the Not-So-Classic (Irish cheddar, havarti, and cheddar) to The Big Stink (Gorgonzola, blue cheese, and havarti with honey and pears). O'Cheeze adds specials to the menu on the regular, so keep your eyes peeled for concoctions like the spaghetti sandwich.

21. PIGWICH

Location: Kansas City, Missouri

There are only five sandwiches at Pigwich in Kansas City, plus a daily special, but they do those five sandwiches really, really well. You can choose from a double cheeseburger, banh mi, cheesesteak, falafel, or the pigwich—smoked pork with coleslaw and BBQ sauce. The Pigwich truck is stationary, by the way, and it's attached to the Local Pig, a beloved Kansas City butcher—so you know the food is fresh.

22. CREPE LOVE

Location: Washington, D.C.

Crepe Love food truck
Crepe Love

This portable gourmet crepe dispensary puts a lot of new twists on the classic breakfast, lunch, and dinner treat. Their Dr. Seuss has eggs, black forest ham, and cheddar cheese; you can also try the Curious George, full of honey, almonds, and banana. Got guests and an event? The truck can be booked so it's all yours.

23. LITTLE BLUE DONUT CO.

Location: Orlando, Florida

There’s nothing like a fresh, hot, melt-in-your-mouth doughnut. Little Blue Donut Co. of Orlando knows that, which is why they make all of theirs fresh to order. They have 13 flavors to choose from, including cinnamon roll and key lime, but customers can also choose their own toppings for a custom creations as well.

24. NOSH

Location: Seattle, Washington

Americans can get a plate of fish and chips worthy of an overcast London day at Nosh, but the truly curious might want to look elsewhere on the menu: the Seattle mobile eatery offers fried rabbit dipped in buttermilk. Elmer Fudd would approve.

25. EL OLOMEGA

Location: Brooklyn, New York

The ballfields in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn have become a foodie destination thanks to the bevy of food trucks that dish out delicious ethnic cuisine (tacos, empanadas, arepas, and more) each weekend. One of the most popular is the El Olomega food truck, which serves piping hot pupusas. For the uninitiated, a pupusa is a traditional Salvadorian street food consisting of a corn flour tortilla stuffed with fillings like cheese, pork, chorizo, plantains, or spinach. Pile on the pickled onions, jalapeños, cabbage, and sour cream for an irresistible lunch.

26. STREETZA

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

There's street vendor pizza, and then there's Streetza, which doles out organic toppings and daily slice specials, from Alfredo pizza to bratwurst simmered in local beer. They even manage to have a crab legs pizza, complete with a crab leg pinwheel in the middle of pie.

27. OKAMOTO KITCHEN

Location: Los Angeles, California

Okamoto Kitchen food truck
Okamoto Kitchen

This Japanese cuisine truck takes its cues from the passion owner Gerald Abraham has for video games: Okamoto ranks customers on a posted leaderboard, with social media mentions and orders helping to garner points good toward free food. But their variety of bowls (like the miso salmon with rice and salad bowl) and sandwiches (like the Nom Bomb, a sweet-and-sour teriyaki chicken sandwich) are enough to make you come back, even without the friendly competition.

28. ST. CLAIR WOOD-FIRED PIZZA

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

St. Clair Pizza serves up hot, wood-fired pies from an actual oven inside an old bus. Along with standards like pepperoni and margherita pizzas, they've also got specials loaded with kimchi, pears, dates, and other under-used toppings. Just a tip: They cater weddings.

29. KING OF FALAFEL & SHAWARMA

Location: New York City

Freddy Zeideia declared himself the King of Falafel back in 2002, when he set up shop on a street corner in Queens, and he has been proving himself worthy of the title for the past 15 years. In a city filled to the brim with falafel and shawarma carts, Zeideia’s stands out, snagging the 2010 Vendy Awards’ grand prize for New York City food trucks. Don’t worry: If you can’t decide between falafel and shawarma, you can have both—the "shawafel" is a pita filled with strips of meat and falafel. Waits can be long, but you might snag a few free falafel samples while you’re in line.

30. OFF THE REZ

Location: Seattle, Washington

food from off the rez food truck
Off The Rez

It’s rare to find a Native American food truck, so Seattleites usually jump at the chance to try Off the Rez's Indian tacos (in both meat-lover and vegetarian options) and sweet, crispy frybread (a little like a circular churro, drizzled with berry toppings, lemon curd, Nutella, and/or the flavors of your choice).

31. NANA G'S CHICKEN AND WAFFLES

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Nana Grimes's grandson took her family-favorite recipe—a classic Southern dish that infused smoked bacon in the waffle and used Nana's top-secret fried chicken recipe—and turned it into a ATL street-fare favorite. For dessert, try the Fried Oreos.

32. SNOWDAY

Location: New York City

Snowday is more than a food truck, it’s a social justice initiative that is operated by men and women who have spent time in prison, most notably on Riker's Island. It acts as a training grounds to teach former inmates skills—like money management and small business skills—that will help them re-enter the job market. With a farm-to-truck approach (most of the ingredients are local) and an emphasis on raising awareness about criminal system injustice, you can feel great about every bite of that oozy, perfectly crispy maple grilled cheese, which has been called one of the best in the city by several local mags. This summer, they’re changing their name to Drive Change, with big plans to open a food truck commissary/garage in spring 2018.

33. THE GRILLED CHEESE GRILL

Location: Portland, Oregon

The motto of this food truck—which has three Portland locations—is "come by for a taste of your childhood," although treats like "The Cheesus" (a hamburger with the bun replaced by two grilled cheese sandwiches) seem strictly adult. As a bonus, one of the locations is a converted school bus; another is a double-decker bus.

34. HEY PB&J

Location: Denver, Colorado

Hey PB&J

The PB&J sandwich of your youth gets a gourmet upgrade from trained chef Matt McDonald, the owner of this Denver-based food truck. Launched in 2011, Hey PB&J serves unique mashups like the "Boss Hog," a sandwich packed with pecan-peanut butter, pulled pork, whiskey-peach jam, homemade bacon jam, and crushed potato chips, or "The King" which features peanut butter, applewood smoked bacon, sliced bananas, and clover honey.

35. ARLO'S

Location: Austin, Texas

Vegan meets comfort food in this truck that's connected to a nice patio area for dining in while you're outside. Try the seitan burgers or tacos with a side of sweet potato fries.

36. CHARLESTON CARIBBEAN CREOLE

Location: Charleston, South Carolina

The savory entrees from Charleston Caribbean Creole are true to the eatery’s name—the menu features a blend of traditional dishes from both cuisines, thanks in part to Chef Frisco Thumbtzen's Creole and Cajun heritage. The standout: Locals go crazy for the "Slap Your Momma Gumbo Creole," an appetizing combo of celery, bell peppers, onions, fresh herbs, and chicken, beef, and beef sausage.

37. THE GREEN BOWL

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

The Green bowl food truck
The Green Bowl

In 2014, The Green Bowl won the Baltimore Sun’s "Best Food Truck" award—probably because omnivores, vegetarians, and eco-warriors alike can find foods on their menu to please their palates. The food truck specializes in Asian and Latin-inspired cuisine (mofongo, bibimbap, spring rolls), and some dishes, like fried green plantains, are paired with Old Bay sauce for a touch of mid-Atlantic flavor. All of these items are served in compostable bowls, and with compostable bags and utensils.

38. PIEROGI WAGON

Location: Chicago, Illinois

From kielbasa (a type of smoked sausage) to paczki (a doughnut-like pastry), Chicago residents have enjoyed the Polish-American community’s delicious culinary legacy since the mid-19th century. Today, locals can buy filled dumplings called pierogis from the Pierogi Wagon, in flavors like braised beef, cheddar and potato, and sauerkraut and mushroom.

39. FEELIN' CRABBY

Location: Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C., politicians and plebeians alike love seafood—especially when it’s topped with a generous pinch of Old Bay. That’s where Feelin’ Crabby comes in: The punny food truck serves lobster and crab-based sandwiches, salads, and sliders, including the giant "Crabwich" sandwich, which contains 5 ounces of jumbo lump crab meat and 2 ounces of lobster claw and knuckle meat.

40. TATANKA TRUCK

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Native American chef Sean Sherman cooks the cuisine of his people, the Oglala Sioux. In 2014, Sherman opened a Twin Cities-based catering business called the Sioux Chef, and in 2015 he co-launched the Tatanka Truck food truck, which dishes out healthy indigenous foods like bison wild rice bowls and organic, sumac-seasoned popcorn. A Sioux Chef-branded restaurant is currently in the works, too.

41. 5411 EMPANADAS

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Empanadas from 5411 Empanada Truck
5411 Empanadas

Founded in 2011, 5411 Empanadas was one of the earliest members of the modern food truck movement in Chicago, where restrictions on mobile food vendors are some of the most onerous in the country. The truck became so popular that the company has since expanded to Miami and Houston and opened multiple storefronts in Chicago. From the simple chorizo to a bacon, dates, and goat cheese, there are plenty of fillings to choose from, including dessert options like banana and Nutella. Make sure to grab a few napkins, because things are going to get messy.

42. PEPE

Location: Washington, D.C. region

Chef José Andrés makes the best croquetas outside of Spain, and everybody knows it. His always-packed, D.C.-area tapas restaurants used to be the only place to get them, but no more. If you want something other than several servings of crispy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside croquettes, Pepe also offers a Serrano ham, manchego, and olive oil sandwich and a kick-butt gazpacho.

43. TASTE OF ETHIOPIA

Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin

Tesfaye Joyce lived in an Ethiopian orphanage for most of his life before getting adopted and moving to Wisconsin. Now he’s paying it forward, along with his siblings and adoptive father, with this Taste of Ethiopia food truck that will make your heart as happy as your stomach: This not-for-profit eatery uses all of its funds to help kids back in Ethiopia.

44. TAMALE SPACESHIP

Location: Chicago, Illinois

If you’ve ever visited the Windy City and dreamed of being served tamales by sci-fi-loving luchadores (masked Mexican wrestlers), dream no more. The tamales here are packed with everything from flank steak to duck confit. Spandex not required.

45. THE FRY GUY

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

The Fry Guy Food Truck
The Fry Guy

You want fries with that? Frequently parked at festivals around the city, The Fry Guy is known for firing up some of the best in A-town. The Belgiun-style fries come topped with flavor combos like "coriander smoked salmon, crème fraîche, red onion, and capers" and "thai peanut sauce, curry mayo, white onion, peanut crumbles, and green onion."

46. THE SQUARE SCULLERY

Location: Akron, Ohio

You could settle for a warmed-over gyro, or you could make your week with a gorgeous, lovingly prepared mini-feast from the Square Scullery. Chefs Matt and Heather serve up what they call "indie comfort food," fresh, hip twists on classic fine food. Need great catering? They'll even bring Big Ole' Betty (that's the truck) to weddings, festivals, and corporate events. Don't miss the crispy rice ball with kimchi, cucumber melon slaw, and serrano vinaigrette, or the citrus braised pork over goat cheese and red pepper polenta cake with red slaw and sambal aioli.

47. JOGASAKI SUSHI BURRITO

Location: Los Angeles, California

For those with a hankering for Mexican-Japanese fusion, allow us to introduce you to the original sushi burrito: Raw fish or crab rolled into a special rice-based burrito. Don’t forget to order some spicy tuna nachos!

48. MUSTACHE PRETZELS

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona

Mustache Pretzels
The Sentimental Mama

As advertised, this Scottsdale-based food truck hand rolls soft pretzels…to resemble handlebar mustaches. (Like many great businesses, it started as a joke in college.) Flavors range from a doughy original to salted caramel topped with nuts.

49. WHERE YA AT MATT

Location: Seattle, Washington

Diners craving Creole food in the Pacific Northwest can find it at Where Ya at Matt in Seattle. Run by a New Orleans native, the truck’s comforting dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and muffulettas are the perfect antidote to a rainy Washington day. And, of course, you can't stop at a NOLA-inspired food truck without grabbing some beignets.

50. FAVA POT

Location: Arlington and Fairfax, Virginia

In addition to thoughtfully sourced and lovingly prepared food—like the Middle Eastern truck's perfectly herbed falafel, yogurt-marinated Cornish game hen, and lavash chips—Fava Pot’s founders pride themselves on good works, donating a portion of their proceeds to help orphans in Egypt.

Written by Erika Berlin, Stacy Conradt, April Daley, Michele Debczak, Kirstin Fawcett, Shaunacy Ferro, Kate Horowitz, Bess Lovejoy, Erin McCarthy, Rebecca O'Connell, Lucas Reilly, Jake Rossen, and Abbey Stone.

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Big Questions
Why Can't Dogs Eat Chocolate?
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Even if you don’t have a dog, you probably know that they can’t eat chocolate; it’s one of the most well-known toxic substances for canines (and felines, for that matter). But just what is it about chocolate that is so toxic to dogs? Why can't dogs eat chocolate when we eat it all the time without incident?

It comes down to theobromine, a chemical in chocolate that humans can metabolize easily, but dogs cannot. “They just can’t break it down as fast as humans and so therefore, when they consume it, it can cause illness,” Mike Topper, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, tells Mental Floss.

The toxic effects of this slow metabolization can range from a mild upset stomach to seizures, heart failure, and even death. If your dog does eat chocolate, they may get thirsty, have diarrhea, and become hyperactive and shaky. If things get really bad, that hyperactivity could turn into seizures, and they could develop an arrhythmia and have a heart attack.

While cats are even more sensitive to theobromine, they’re less likely to eat chocolate in the first place. They’re much more picky eaters, and some research has found that they can’t taste sweetness. Dogs, on the other hand, are much more likely to sit at your feet with those big, mournful eyes begging for a taste of whatever you're eating, including chocolate. (They've also been known to just swipe it off the counter when you’re not looking.)

If your dog gets a hold of your favorite candy bar, it’s best to get them to the vet within two hours. The theobromine is metabolized slowly, “therefore, if we can get it out of the stomach there will be less there to metabolize,” Topper says. Your vet might be able to induce vomiting and give your dog activated charcoal to block the absorption of the theobromine. Intravenous fluids can also help flush it out of your dog’s system before it becomes lethal.

The toxicity varies based on what kind of chocolate it is (milk chocolate has a lower dose of theobromine than dark chocolate, and baking chocolate has an especially concentrated dose), the size of your dog, and whether or not the dog has preexisting health problems, like kidney or heart issues. While any dog is going to get sick, a small, old, or unhealthy dog won't be able to handle the toxic effects as well as a large, young, healthy dog could. “A Great Dane who eats two Hershey’s kisses may not have the same [reaction] that a miniature Chihuahua that eats four Hershey’s kisses has,” Topper explains. The former might only get diarrhea, while the latter probably needs veterinary attention.

Even if you have a big dog, you shouldn’t just play it by ear, though. PetMD has a handy calculator to see just what risk levels your dog faces if he or she eats chocolate, based on the dog’s size and the amount eaten. But if your dog has already ingested chocolate, petMD shouldn’t be your go-to source. Call your vet's office, where they are already familiar with your dog’s size, age, and condition. They can give you the best advice on how toxic the dose might be and how urgent the situation is.

So if your dog eats chocolate, you’re better off paying a few hundred dollars at the vet to make your dog puke than waiting until it’s too late.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Big Questions
What is Duck Sauce?
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A plate of Chinese takeout with egg rolls and duck sauce
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We know that our favorite Chinese takeout is not really authentically Chinese, but more of an Americanized series of menu options very loosely derived from overseas inspiration. (Chinese citizens probably wouldn’t recognize chop suey or orange-glazed chicken, and fortune cookies are of Japanese origin.) It would also be unusual for "real" Chinese meals to be accompanied by a generous amount of sauce packets.

Here in the U.S., these condiments are a staple of Chinese takeout. But one in particular—“duck sauce”—doesn’t really offer a lot of information about itself. What exactly is it that we’re pouring over our egg rolls?

Smithsonian.com conducted a sauce-related investigation and made an interesting discovery, particularly if you’re not prone to sampling Chinese takeout when traveling cross-country. On the East Coast, duck sauce is similar to sweet-and-sour sauce, only fruitier; in New England, it’s brown, chunky, and served on tables; and on the West Coast, it’s almost unheard of.

While the name can describe different sauces, associating it with duck probably stems from the fact that the popular Chinese dish Peking duck is typically served with a soybean-based sauce. When dishes began to be imported to the States, the Americanization of the food involved creating a sweeter alternative using apricots that was dubbed duck sauce. (In New England, using applesauce and molasses was more common.)

But why isn’t it easily found on the West Coast? Many sauce companies are based in New York and were in operation after Chinese food had already gained a foothold in California. Attempts to expand didn’t go well, and so Chinese food aficionados will experience slightly different tastes depending on their geography. But regardless of where they are, or whether they're using the condiment as a dipping sauce for their egg rolls or a dressing for their duck, diners can rest assured that no ducks were harmed in the making of their duck sauce.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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