Food trucks are a hot topic. Their flourishing population has already led to some intense turf wars, a slew of food festivals celebrating their existence (check out the OC Foodie Fest in LA) and, even a concession by hard core Twitter critics that the service has at least helped bring gourmet food to the masses. Despite all this fuss, food carts are nothing new. The Vendy Awards, bestowed annually upon the winners of the street-food cookoff held on Governor’s Island, are in their sixth year. We’ve been standing in line for chicken & rice and buying bagels off the grub truck for decades in Manhattan. Then why the buzz? Did the 2008 recession blues cause lunchers to re-evaluate their $12 sandwiches? Is this the most cost-effective way for entrepreneurs to launch their foodie dreams? Did Twitter really change the game? Or did food carts just suddenly get really good?
Whatever the reason, I am a big fan. And it seems like San Francisco is too. Today, the company I work for rented Chairman Bao’s for lunch – meaning all of us got dibs on the captive truck parked behind our building. Wow. With a menu that includes things like Duck Confit with Mango Salsa and Lions Head Meatball with Kim Chee, you know they’re not messing around. I tried the Red Sesame Chicken with Scallion and Bok Choy and the Pork Belly with Daikon – both steamed, not baked – fluffy, spicy and delicious. I also tried their Ginger Lychee shaved ice drink, which was very sweet but still irresistible.
Oh and check out the controversy around the truck – Eddie Huang, of Baohaus fame, claims they stole the idea for the name from one of his signature dishes. I haven’t been to Baohaus but I think, if anything, the SF truck is drumming up West Coast fame for this LES store 🙂
What’s your favourite food truck?