The food truck industry is growing from strength-to-strength, and we as consumers can’t get enough. But where did this trend suddenly spring from?
In the USA, their history is quite extensive and can be traced back to the 19th century Chuckwagons of old. These cart and horse purveyors were responsible for ferrying basic foodstuffs to cattleman where there was no railway access.
(Chuck Wagon by Don Langeneckert)
Yet in Australia, it was as if they popped up overnight. Swarms of brightly coloured metal beetles congregating in groups, emanating some of the most mouth-watering scents you could imagine. But they too have a history. If you’re old enough, cast your mind back to your childhood, and visits to local fetes, the circus, the Easter Show at the old showground or even a footy match.
(Food trucks have been a classic feature of the Sydney Royal Easter Show for many years)
Whether it was a Dagwood Dog with sauce and chips, or a pie lathered in ‘marty’, their aromas would rise like a choir above the stench of cattle and manure, and beat down the tang of Dencorub and churned grass with their saliva inducing scent, grabbing you by the nostrils and leading you to their shrine on wheels.
But today’s fare span great oceans to bring you their delights. Street food from Vietnam, burgers from the US, Paella from Spain or Korean infused BBQ, the varied selection on offer is dizzying and only growing further.
So, what are some of the foods you might stumble across in your culinary adventure that you could make in your own kitchen? The ‘Cubano’ sandwich is definitely something worth a try in your own kitchen.
Thought to have been created in Cuba or Key West (southernmost tip of Florida), the sandwiches’ popularity grew with its migration north to Miami, and in 2014 was the hero dish in the movie ‘Chef’ (by Jon Favreau), which served it up to a larger international audience of food lovers.
So what’s in a ‘Cubano’?
Generally made with Cuban bread, Ciabatta is an easy to find local alternative.
Now to the mouthwatering ingredients:
- Ciabatta Loaf
- 200 grams cooked ham (shaved)
- 200 grams loin pork roast
- 200 grams Swiss cheese (thinly sliced)
- 4 whole dill pickles ( sliced lengthwise)
- Unsalted butter (melted)
In a traditional ‘Cubano’ sandwich, mayo and salami are common additions while everything else is non-negotiable to capture the true taste. Also, it’s vital that when you toast the sandwich to put a heavy pot or pan on top to compress it as much as possible.
Although the next recipe may take a little time to prepare, it’s definitely one of those dishes where the prep time is worth it; the Vietnamese Pork Roll.
(Known in Vietnam as the Banh Mi, this roll is an early example of fusion food)
This is an ideal fusion food, comprising of a soft French Baguette with local Vietnamese herbs, marinated pork and pickled carrot. So, what ingredients do you need to get the authentic taste experience?
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced lengthwise into wedges
- 2 tbsp whole-egg mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup coriander sprigs
- ¼ cup mint sprigs
- 1 small red chilli, finely sliced
Marinated pork (leave refrigerated overnight)
- ½ stalk lemongrass, chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 tsp brown sugar
- 3 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 2 pork steaks
Pickled carrot (leave soaking overnight)
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- 1 carrot, julienne
Once the pork has been marinated, heat a griddle pan or BBQ on a medium heat, drain the meat of excess marinade and cook for 5-7 minutes, on each side, until done. With the carrot you just need to drain and discard the liquid, and then all you need to do is construct this delicious delight and devour immediately.
Now to finish off this holy trinity of bread themed goodness, why not try your hand at an American-style hamburger? Prepare to be astounded by the Smoky BBQ Double Bacon Burger.
(An image from Taste.com of the Smoky BBQ Double Bacon Burger. Say that with a mouthful of food!)
- 500g beef mince
- 1/2 small brown onion, coarsely grated
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tablespoons Chipotle barbecue sauce, plus extra to serve
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
- 45g (1/2 cup) dried (packaged) breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 4 large slices vintage cheddar cheese
- 4 milk buns, halved, toasted
- 8 rashers bacon
- 85g (1/3 cup) tomato relish
- Baby rocket leaves, to serve
- Crispy onion rings, to serve
Mix the mince, onion, garlic, chipotle barbecue sauce, oregano, breadcrumbs and egg in a bowl, season, and continue mixing until combined well. In a fry pan heat the oil on a medium heat and cook for 5 minutes on one side, then flip, add a slice of cheese and cook for another 5 minutes.
Instead of traditional hamburger or Brioche buns, try a Milk Bun, which although soft and fluffy, it’s firm enough to hold the contents of your burger, without disintegrating in your hands and painting the front of your shirt like Pro Hart.
(Our Milk Buns are proving popular up and down Australia’s burger crazed east coast.)
These are just some starting points for your culinary journey, so get out there and get adventurous.