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I was doing some translating from Chinese to English.

I don't know what English native speakers call them.

Please give me a hand.

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A breakfast truck (or lorry in the UK), most likely. It's not really a thing in most of the English-speaking world to sell breakfast from motor vehicles. Ice cream, sure; breakfast, rarely. – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 3 '14 at 16:16
@JanusBahsJacquet I can't comment on the American English version, but I've never heard a vehicle selling food in the street referred to as a 'lorry' in the UK. We have kebab vans, fish and chip vans, and burger vans, but we don't have, for instance, kebab 'lorries'. I've never in my life encountered an equivalent vehicle selling breakfasts, but if I did, I'd call it a 'breakfast van'. Google seems to agree; 47000 results for 'breakfast van' vs 1000 for 'breakfast lorry'. – Mark Amery May 3 '14 at 17:25
There are typically two classes of vehicles in this category. The kind that sell upscale gourmet food are usually called food trucks but low-end more dubious quality food is often served from what we affectionately call roach coaches – Jim May 3 '14 at 17:33
@MarkAmery, very good point. I was getting myself confused there with trying to side-step the whole UK vs. US differences in large vehicular nomenclature. I did think later on that it’s definitely an ice cream van, and lorry doesn’t even make sense—they’re far too big. – Janus Bahs Jacquet May 3 '14 at 18:36
@JanusBahsJacquet On the Norfolk Broads we have 'ice-cream boats', which you can draw alongside and buy ice-cream for your passengers. – WS2 May 3 '14 at 18:56
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I've most often heard the term Coffee Truck. Small trucks or vans commonly doing the rounds of jobsites and high pedestrian traffic areas which peddle coffee, soft drinks and some light food items.

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Do those light food items include bagels? If they do, then "Coffee Truck" is what I am looking for! Sorry I didn't amplify my question; the van shows up during the breakfast time and it offers coffee and bagels. Thank you so much! – Jazz Lover May 7 '14 at 1:21

Generally we would just call them food trucks. What they are, are large trucks that specialize in a certain cuisine, whether it be Greek, Mexican, or Chinese food. I'm sure there are trucks that sell breakfast as well.

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Thanks a lot! I found Rather Notsay's answer "Coffee Truck" might fit the most. – Jazz Lover May 7 '14 at 1:32

In the US and elsewhere, street food is often sold from food trucks, as JBJ notes. You could look at this review of the situation in Nashville for a model:

Top 10 Street Food Trucks in Nashville

An alternative that is often seen on the streets of New York, for instance, is the pushcart. They might also be motorized. One option is to specify the food that’s being sold in the description of the vehicle. The link below gives some examples: hot dog pushcart, refrigerated sandwich cart, beverage cart.

All Star Carts

There are additional styles of mobile food vending that may be more common in Asia: motorized or electric tricycles selling food, mobile food carts, or food vans.

These all sound fine, but *food car would be too generic for my taste. If you want to be more descriptive, I would mention what food is on offer, e.g. sandwich truck. Or of course breakfast truck, if they really only operate during the breakfast hours.

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Thank you so much for answering with many references. I learned a lot from you and those interesting websites. :) Sorry that I didn't specialize my description: the van should shows up during the breakfast time and sells coffee and bagels. As a result, I think "Coffee Truck" might fit the most. – Jazz Lover May 7 '14 at 1:34

The terminology is changing along with the product's marketing, and presently they are named gourmet food trucks.

If the truck is used for an event, or not selling street food, they are still referred to as catering trucks. Americans don't use the term lorry for trucks, boot for trunks....

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