Taste the Caribbean at The Tropic Truck

Support a great truck with a great cause!
Lauren and Nelson Saravia, the husband and wife team behind The Tropic Truck, a Caribbean inspired food truck, have a long history of eating and working with great food. 

Lauren grew up in Florida, and Nelson in Central America, and both were surrounded by amazing seafood and plenty of Caribbean influences. They met through the Los Angeles food industry, with their shared background in restaurant management. 

Eventually, the Saravias took the risk of leaving behind their jobs and opened their own food truck. In late 2015, they began playing around with recipes, menus and name ideas and started the company in January 2016. 

Having over ten years of experience in kitchens prior, the pair have built an incredibly successful business serving up healthy, upscale seafood inspired by the flavors and foods they grew up eating. However, there have definitely been distinctions in switching from working in a restaurant to owning your own food truck. 

“Food trucks are owner-operated and you have to start from the bottom. It’s crazy hours and a lot of work, but that’s the restaurant industry, too, so we love it,” Lauren said. 

In coming up with The Tropic Truck’s menu, Lauren explains her focus on using complementary flavors and keeping everything light and healthy.

“I always balance everything with a salt, a sweet and an acid so that you’re not missing anything,” Lauren explained. 

COVID-19 has also led the truck to make new changes and adjustments to the way they operate, and the food truck industry as a whole. 

“The new style of food truck is we’re going to a lot of the same locations, so now we’re going in a restaurant direction where we have regulars. More than ever, we’re doing new specials and trying out items to keep people interested,” Lauren said. “If people are going to spend money right now, your food has to be great. 

“All of us are really putting an emphasis on food because that matters more than anything right now. We’re elevating ourselves and it’s forcing us to take time and make sure every sale is perfect.” 

As a direct result of COVID-19, The Tropic Truck had to close their second truck, but Lauren expressed hope about reopening it as restrictions continue to lift and people start attending events again. 

The Tropic Truck has currently set up a kind of “home base” on weekends, so you can typically find them in Alta Dena. From Friday to Sunday, 10% of The Tropic Truck’s profits are donated to a different charity. Most recently, they’ve partnered with schools and grocery stores to stock food for students. 

Interested in supporting The Tropic Truck and a great cause? 

Lauren recommends getting the shrimp wrap (grilled shrimp marinated in a mojo) or the mahi mahi, but everything’s delicious and flavorful! You can order through their website , follow them on Instagram or Twitter and check out their Facebook page