Tracking Street Food With An App

I believe that it takes some personal interest on a subject to develop a smartphone application for that. I guess that’s what happened to Eric Lo, a young media designer from San Francisco, who likes to eat street tacos and was frustrated by not being able to track one easily, due to their pop-up nature.

Lo developed FoodCarts, a prototype iOS application that allows its user to find a food cart in and around San Francisco in real-time. A similar application has already been featured here on The Pop-up City, but FoodCarts allows a more vivid interaction among the vendor of the street food and the person searching for it. The application is strongly based on user experience — not only on a functional level, but also on a content one. The app includes all the information a cart owner would like to present, like opening times, location and menu, and all the reviews and rates a user wants, related to the quality of the food and the prices.


The interesting aspect of this app is that it is developed on the view of food “as a social experience, an adventure”, in the words of Eric Lo. This perspective is highly relevant to William H. Whyte’s theory that street food carts function as means of ‘triangulation’ in the public space, where people can socially interact with each other and feel more comfortable. Thus, this app can be considered not only as a means of finding street food, but also as a way to promote the street-cart culture and enhance socializing in public space.

You can view the prototype of the application here.