Taste of California from a truck

Taste of California from a truck
The Kerbside Gourmet's food truck will be done up to resemble California's The Lime Truck

A little taste of California will be making its way to Orchard Road and Boat Quay in a pop-up food truck next month.

The Lime Truck, a popular four-year-old gourmet restaurant on wheels from Orange County, an area about 40 minutes south-east of Los Angeles, will dish out three of its famed Asian- meets-Mexican tacos for diners in Singapore over two evenings.

Tuck into braised pork belly tacos with tomatillo pico de gallo salsa and Sriracha hot sauce; fresh-fish ceviche served on tostadas or fried tortillas; and tacos filled with Blue crab and jicama.

The event is organised by Fiji Water in collaboration with home-grown food truck Kerbside Gourmet, which set up shop 11/2 years ago.

All proceeds from the sale of food will be donated to Willing Hearts, a volunteer-run non-profit organisation that operates a soup kitchen.

Kerbside Gourmet's food truck will be covered with green PVC stickers to resemble The Lime Truck's signature exterior. It will be parked outside The Vault in Circular Road on Aug 15 from 7 to 10pm; and outside Orchard Gateway in Orchard Road, on Aug 16 from 5 to 9pm.

About 500 portions of food will be available each day. Each item is priced at $10 and will be served with a bottle of Fiji Water.

Mr Daniel Shemtob, 26, chef-owner of The Lime Truck, who now owns four food trucks and three brick-and-mortar restaurants, says: "The barriers to entry for a food truck are low and it also gives chefs an opportunity to highlight the type of cuisine that they want to."

The bachelor started his first food truck in 2010 with a friend from school - the partner is no longer involved in the business - with a total of US$20,000, and has been building up a name for himself since.

The passionate gourmand, who is not formally trained in culinary arts, won the second season of cable channel Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race in 2011. These days, he also organises food truck carnivals and industry meet-ups, where a group of food trucks come together to sell food at a single location.

He says his motto is to "always deliver high quality, delicious ingredients in an affordable way".

"It's a fancy way to make casual food," he adds.

Ms Luan Ee, 49, owner of Kerbside Gourmet - which operates from a truck about three-quarters the size of its Californian counterpart - says she is looking forward to working with Mr Shemtob.

"It will be a great learning experience to work side by side. My team and I will have to be really sharp, given the space constraints," she says.

With a laugh, she adds: "Daniel is always complaining about the size of his food truck. Wait till he sees mine."

She says she hopes to tap on his expertise in running a successful food truck business and also to bounce ideas for flavours and ingredients off him.

Her dishes over the last 11/2 years have included everything from pastas and corn tacos to burgers and satay.

Both Ms Ee and Mr Shemtob say they hope the food truck scene, which is still very much in its infancy here, will gain traction over time.

As he sees it, a food truck can bring vibrancy to sidewalks, help form a sense of community among diners, and hopefully inspire more food truck entrepreneurs to hit the road.

"You really have to have your heart in it. It's just like the restaurant business, but with tighter margins and no alcohol. But nothing is impossible," he says.

"My chefs - some of whom have worked for top chefs such as American Michelin- starred chef Thomas Keller - say that they have more fun cooking in a food truck because it's different and they deal directly with customers. There's something magical about it."

Follow Rebecca Lynne Tan on Twitter @STrebeccatan

This article was first published on July 27, 2014.
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