Snack on the Fast Track – Charleston’s Budding Food Truck Scene

It’s lunchtime – do you know where your food is coming from? If it’s from one of Charleston’s outstanding food trucks, you can rest assured it’s probably made by hand with local ingredients. From humble beginnings in New York City in the mid-1800’s, America’s food truck culture has evolved into an exciting and diversified culinary institution. Each food truck is different – offering customers everything from custom banh mi creations to entirely home-made brunch plates to savory-sweet southern BBQ. It’s easy to fall in love with your local food truck culture. The care and effort of these local business owners truly shines through; the quality and timely preparation of the food are tremendous. You won’t find any basic hotdogs and chips in these vehicles – this is some serious cuisine. Hand made steamed buns, immersion simulator soft poached eggs, beer braised pulled pork, and flash frozen ice-pops are all involved in menu items that can be found in Charleston’s very own food truck scene. By garnering locally sourced ingredients and catering to a hungry crowd, these vehicles are setting the bar for what a quick, fresh and wallet-friendly meal can and should be. Outta My Huevos Cuisine: From-Scratch Brunch Outta My Huevos features team Tim Logan and Claire Masingill churning out a flexible, ever-changing brunch menu featuring items such as house-made chorizo, house-made Canadian bacon, house-made English muffins, in-house pickled jalapeno peppers, house-made salsa fresca…get the hint? This passionate pair prepares just about every single menu item from scratch; the diminutive numbers of non in-house ingredients are sourced from supremely high-quality local farmers and vendors (including Celeste Alber's Sea Island Eggs). Mosey up to the truck for fresh-fried chicken sandwich, featuring house-made biscuits, house-made pimento cheese, and those enticingly spicy home made pickled jalapenos. Heuvos rancheros dish Clockwise from top right: House-made English Muffin, Fried Chicken Biscuit Sandwich, Heuvos Rancheros. The Huevos Rancheros is a venerable feast worthy of repeat eats. Featuring immersion simulator soft poached eggs, this amalgam of fresh, balanced ingredients makes each bite exciting and clean. By cooking the eggs in water at 63 degrees Celsius, the yolks are viscous and slightly creamy; ideal for spreading over the saffron rice, curried field peas, and fresh fried tortilla chips. Bringing body and flavor, the house made chorizo is perfectly seasoned; the salsa fresca adds the brightness to the dish. Finished with a lime crema, this is a brunch dream at 8 bucks. You can find the Outta My Huevos team at the Marion Square Farmer’s Market every other Saturday, or every Sunday at Holy City Brewery’s Brunch and Beer, or on the road in various locations throughout the week. Facebook – (rest assured, this is Outta My Huevos – the team underwent a name change) Twitter – Fat Ninja Cuisine: Vietnamese food, blended with Korean/Thai/Chinese flare Be sure to welcome this brand new food truck to Charleston. Sporting an exciting and inspired modern Asian menu, there are always unique pairings of flavors and textures to try. Spearheaded by Head Chef Tyler Tin Mai along with Sous Chef Peter Vu, Fat Ninja’s fun and delicious cuisine is already making waves throughout the Charleston food culture. It’s hard to go wrong with Fat Ninja’s appetizing menu – from a perfectly executed Banh Mi to a black and blue wasabi “Bruised Lee” burger on a house-made steamed bun, each flavor profile is exciting and unique. Tyler offered up a Pork belly steamed bun with caramel miso glaze, followed by a Korean BBQ style Ribeye Banh Mi. The incredible flavors spoke for themselves. Steamed pork pun dish Clockwise from top right: A snacked-on Steamed Pork Bun, a Fresh Pork Bun, a snacked-on Bahn Mi sammy, a fresh Banh Mi sammy. The secret to a great steam bun is the bun itself; soft, warm, and pillowy. The fluffy bun was accented by the smooth texture of the caramel miso-glazed pork belly, while being contrasted by the cool snap of the pickled cucumber. With color and flavor depth added by the arugula and hoison sauce, this satisfying snack is a great introduction to Fat Ninja’s style. The Banh Mi sizzled with fresh Kalbi grilled ribeye; backed by the toasted Brown’s Bakery French bread, this sandwich is a savory and hearty celebration of local ingredients and worldly flavors. The warmth lent by the jalapeno and sriracha mayo is not overpowering; rather, it balances the bright citrus and herbal notes from the cilantro. The quality of the freshly grill-market meat is fantastic and well proportioned to the sandwich. Fat Ninja’s Banh Mi explores the balance of cultures and flavors to create a truly unique eating experience – French bread, Vietnamese flavors, and Korean BBQ techniques – all at $8. Catch the Fat Ninja truck at Blackbaud 11-2 on Wednesdays, or keep track of their Twitter/Facebook for more up-to-date locations. Be sure to visit Fat Ninja in the fall – the menu expands to include ramen, pho, and rice bowls! Facebook – Twitter – Hello! My Name Is BBQ Cuisine: Freestyle BBQ When was the last time you had BBQ’d bacon? At Hello! My Name is BBQ, you can have it whenever you want - in addition to a fresh and constantly rotating menu. And we mean fresh: the reason the cuisine is “Freestyle BBQ” is because everything is ‘go-with-the flow’; there are no recipes - once something runs out, that’s all she wrote. Owners Ryner & W. S. Cody Burg follow wherever the inspiration leads them. Recent ideas have spawned the ‘Chowabunga’ and ‘Okra Winfrey’; a witty sense of humor is apparent throughout the operation. The ‘Boss Hog’ is the workhorse of the H!MNIBBQ menu. Featuring pulled pork, BBQ’d bacon, jalapenos, slaw, and tomato on a soft toasted bun, this sammy comes in at a clean $7.50. The taco dish included pulled pork, house made pimento cheese, slaw, tomato, and pickled onions. These two soft corn tacos cost the same as the Boss Hog. The ingredients are fresh, the textures are balanced, and the smells are intoxicating. Keep in mind – the meat is not smoked. It is braised for hours using Holy City Beer exclusively. Yum! BBQ sandwich Clockwise from top right: The Boss Hog, Pulled Pork Tacos, Creamy Mac and Cheese, H!MNIBBQ Logo The motley of sides and sauces can make any dish a unique affair. Today’s mac and cheese was a creamy and hearty blend of goat cheese and havarti – fantastic twist on a southern staple. Additional sides include old fashioned macaroni salad, fresh slaw, pasta salad, bean and bacon gravy over rice, and fresh fruit. Sauces include sweet red, spicy chow chow, peach cobbler, mustard, pineapple habanero, black cherry cola, vinegar, ghost chili sriracha, sriracha curry, and a jalapeno jelly mustard called ‘Green and Bold’. Keep in mind, these may not be available upon your visit – everything is fresh; therefore, everything rotates. This is a good thing! Catch H!MNIBBQ at their headquarters on 616 Meeting Street. More food truck dates will be implemented in the fall. Saturday brunch at H!MNIBBQ is not to be missed – live music, mimosas, and a fresh menu. Facebook - Bonus! King of Pops Cuisine: Ice-Cold Happiness on a Stick There’s no activity more inherently ‘summer’ than enjoying a frozen treat on a sweltering day. Why not have an all-natural ice pop instead of some highly-processed concoction? King of Pops boasts an ever-changing menu – flavors can range from fruity-sweet Blueberry Ginger Lemonade and Cantaloupe Lemongrass to richer choices such as Chocolate Seasalt and Peaches N’ Cream. Sometimes you might find a couple grown-up (Hint: Boozy) flavor options – try an ice cold Cucumber Mojito pop after work and just try not to smile: it’s impossible. We went with the Blueberry Ginger Lemongrass. Needless to say, we did not regret that decision. Dragon fruit popsicle Left to right: A Pre-Snacked-On Blueberry Ginger Lemonade Pop, Updating the Board with a Fresh Menu. Sourcing ingredients from local vendors and farmers is important to quality and taste. That SC Peach pop you’re enjoying is made from real peaches. Let that Blood Orange Basil pop double as your indulgence and afternoon pick-me-up. Check out King of Pops’ active social media pages for updates on location and flavors! Facebook – Twitter – Instagram - blog written by our wonderful summer intern, Hayden Mink

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