When I was at Maker Faire New York in September, a stranger asked me to follow him to a parking lot and get into the back of a white truck. I did as he said, and was surprised to see an Asian noodle restaurant inside. There were two rows of seats and tables, menus, a waitress, and a small kitchen with a chef preparing bowls of udon and Hong Kong style noodles.
I sat down, ordered a bowl of ramen and tea, and asked what was going on. They told me that the truck was part of the Lost Horizon Night Market, a loosely organized group of people who rent out 20-30 box trucks every few months and hold a magical event.
Each truck has a different theme. In addition to the restaurant truck, there has been a rocking chair truck, a shooting gallery truck, a Japanese soaking bath truck, a dancing truck, and a stripper truck (I'll save you a Google search; here's a photo).
The Lost Horizon has been branching out of New York, and recently celebrated in San Francisco. Todd Lappin of Telstar Logistics went and took some excellent photos. He writes:
Here's an unusual formula for a very unique night in the Big City:A Box Truck Is Just a Room on Wheels: Scenes from San Francisco's (Secret) Lost Horizon Night Market
25 Cargo Trucks + 200 Amateur Artists + (Burning Man - RV Park) + Foggy Darkness + An Industrial Part of Town = Box Truck Night Market
If math class is too hard, here's the version for poets: Last weekend in San Francisco, an unusual event took place. On the city's southern waterfront, a colorful collective of interactive artists amassed a fleet of 25+ box trucks, ranging from small step vans, to medium-duty rental trucks, to a 53' freight trailer. For four hours on a misty winter night, each box truck was transformed into an elaborate event space.
UPDATE: See also Jessica Bruder's article, which appeared on Laughing Squid.