the trailer food diaries
Fusion Trailer Trends: From Cuban Vietnamese to Asian Southern Comfort
The trailer food business is, by nature, a fusion business. It blends the best efforts of gourmet chefs with the street food medium. Yet some food trailers have taken the fusion concept a step further and created their menu with a blend of two or more culinary cultures. Here is a sampling of fusion food you can find in the mobile food scene in Austin:
The Peached Tortilla: Asian + Southern Comfort
Suggested dish: Pad Thai Taco ($3) – Chicken or tofu sautéed in a traditional pad Thai sauce, bean sprouts, peanuts, lime wedge.
Story: Former attorney Eric Silverstein was born in Japan. Having traveled throughout Asia to China, Bali and Singapore, he has been exposed to different cultures and foods from an early age. At ten, he moved to Atlanta where he learned about the sultry influences of southern cuisine. When he started his food truck concept, it made sense to mingle the best of both worlds and utilize both Southern and Asian cuisine with the tortilla as his pallet. Thus, the Peached Tortilla was born.
Chi’Lantro: Korean BBQ + Mexican fusion
Suggested dish: Bulgogi Beef Taco (2/$5) – includes soy vinaigrette Korean salad, cilantro, onion, Chi’Lantro salsa, sesame seeds, served on doubled layered corn tortilla.
Story: Take Chi’Lantro’s owner Jae Kim. Born in Korea, raised in Orange County, he developed a love for diverse flavors at an early age. “I grew up with burritos and Korean food; the reason I wanted to do it (Chi’Lantro) in Austin is because Austin is culturally diverse. Austin welcomes the trailer scene and they want to try something new.”
Me So Hungry: Cuban + Vietnamese
Suggested dish: Sprung Rolls (2/$5) – rice paper wrappers filled with rice noodles, pickled carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts, spring mix, and cilantro with added sweetened portabella and creamy avocado.
Story: Me So Hungry trailer owner, Christina Alsonso, grew up with parents from different countries that each had bold tastes. Inspired by her mother from Asia and her father from Cuba, she offers spicy/sweet flavors from two sides of the world. “Growing up, I craved both foods and we were only allowed to have Asian food when dad wasn’t home. Sometimes he would only compromise with Chinese fried rice, but he still needed the Cuban flavor. So, mom would fry a plantain to add to the side,” says Christina. It’s true, the Me So Hungry trailer is currently only showcasing the Vietnamese side of their menu, but they are offering a custom Cuban + Vietnamese menu for catering.
Be More Pacific: Filipino + American
Suggested dish: Longanisa Slider ($5/2 with a side of plantain chips)—made with homemade sausage we make there in the truck, garlic, pineapple—cilantro, lime, ranch, tomato and slider bun
Story: Mark Pascual, one of four owners who grew up in Sugarland, Texas and 2nd generation Filipino, met his partners at school at UT. "Our plates would sometimes look like adobo chicken over rice (traditional Filipino) with a side of mac and cheese. We created the trailer because there wasn’t any good Filipino options in Austin."
Coreanos: Korean BBQ + Mexican
Suggested dish: The OG: Marinated beef short ribs, French fries, Korean slaw, onion & cilantro, caramelized kimchi, sesame oil vinaigrette and garlic spread.
Story: Another similar story of fusing friendship and flavors, the Coreanos trailer was founded by three friends who grew up with Korean and Mexican heritages in Los Angeles. Their menu is reflective of childhood memories of blended cuisines. The Coreano’s motto is “Mexican cuisine with Korean in between”.