Don’t Tell Anybody, But My Favorite Thing From the Flying Pig Truck is Vegetarian
I have a confession to make. When I first moved here from New York back in February I was completely overwhelmed by the street food scene here. NYC has its fair share of new school trucks, and Midtown Lunch has enthusiastically covered them since their numbers began to explode back in 2007. But what’s going on in Midtown is nothing compared to the scene here in Los Angeles. As everybody knows, it’s far from easy to vend here… but if you can believe it, it’s even harder in New York. Licenses are hard to come by, and permits are capped, so the waiting list to legally open a food truck in any of the five boroughs is a mile long. Don’t believe me? Kogi, arguably the most successful street vending operation to date, looked into opening in NYC and decided it was too difficult. Here, parking might be tough in some high density areas, but renting a truck is super easy (there is no Road Stoves equivalent in NYC) and there are no caps placed on permits so there is no limit to the number of new trucks that can (and have) hit the streets here in L.A.
The Flying Pig Truck, which will be one year old in October, is one of those trucks that I would have been super excited about had it opened in Midtown. Or if I had been living in L.A. when it first hit the streets. On one hand the choice between pork and anything else is no choice at all for this (lower case) jew. On the other hand, Asian tacos and Asian sliders are not as exactly the ground breaking menu item they once were here in SoCal. And then I read this blog post a few weeks ago, saying their pork buns were “ripped from the Momofuku playbook”.
Well, that’s all I needed to hear.
Having begged David Chang to start serving his pork buns from a truck in Midtown, it’s funny that I had to move to L.A. to have my wish (semi) granted. And for any New York transplants here in L.A. looking for some Momofuku goodness, the Flying Pig Truck makes a good approximation of Ssam Bar’s signature dish. I would have preferred a bigger chunk of pork for my $3.25 (isn’t that always the case?) but the meat was nicely cooked, and the fat was sufficiently unctuous- which is really what this thing is all about. Oh, and even though $3.25 seems like a lot for what you get, saying “you can get the same thing in the SGV for $1!” is like saying “Why pay $15 for Langer’s when I can get a pastrami sandwich for half the price at the generic deli near my office.”
I also got the duck taco, on Cathy’s recommendation. Duck… pickled beets… almonds… and mandarin oranges? It tasted as good as it sounded.
But shockingly enough my favorite might have been the crunchy tofu bun (don’t tell anybody back in NYC. This could totally ruin my rep…) Tofu is always improved by a bit of frying, and I loved the crunchy bits of honey roasted peanuts that they put on top. You know what else I loved? This isn’t some kind of “let’s hold back for the weirdos who don’t eat pork” kind of dish. Their “death sauce” is no joke, so if you don’t like heat make sure to tell them to leave it off. (Yes, my enjoyment of this dish was enhanced by the thought of you dragging some boring co-worker to this truck and watching them order the tofu- you know, because tofu is always a safe bet- only to have their face melted off by the death sauce.)
I don’t remember seeing “peanut butter carnitas” as an option the day we were there, but I think that alone calls for a return visit. Well, that and another of those tofu buns.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- I will never get tired of pork
- I will never get tired of food trucks
- I will never get tired of Asian food truck fusion food
- I just moved here from New York and could use a little hint of Momofuku
- I’m a vegetarian, but I love fried tofu and bold and spicy Asian flavors. (And will sometimes cheat if pork belly is involved.)
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- I am so tired of pork.
- I am so tired of food trucks.
- I am so tired of Asian tacos.
- Momofuku’s pork buns suck. Why would I want an L.A. rip off of them?
- $3.25 for a pork bun? Screw that. I’m going to the SGV.