“At a time in America when finances are shaky, yet even modest big-city restaurant spaces involve multimillion-dollar build-outs, when consumers have wearied of giant chains but still demand food that is novel, inexpensive and fast, food trucks are the new incubators of culinary innovation. ”
— Jonathan Gould, Smithsonian Magazine
Food trucks have undoubtedly become synonymous with novelty food, and rightly so. They produce some of the best novelty fare that anyone has ever tried, and even if you haven’t, James Cunningham and Eat Street have proven it to be true. Due to municipal by-laws, the food truck boom hasn’t exactly come to Toronto the way it has in Vancouver or the US. However, if a food truck presents itself, I am definitely in line to try whatever the most popular item on the menu is – my trip to O’ahu this past summer was no different.
While in Waiana’e, O’ahu, I had the honour and pleasure of meeting with a world renowned tattoo artist. Outside of the community centre, there is a truck without a logo or labels of any kind, and to be honest I did not notice it until it was brought to my attention. I was told that I had to go to the truck and order “The Special”; that it would be unlike anything I ever ate – delicious as anything and could stop my heart it was so unhealthy. That was all I needed to hear. How could I not try this so-called “special”?
In the simplest terms, The Special is this – a bed of chow mein noodles under a bed of french fries, topped with a secret mayonnaise. I know it sounds strange, but trust me, it’s delicious. When you eat everything together, there is a sweet component from the noodles, salty from the fries, and the sweet acidity of the mayonnaise.
If you’re ever on O’ahu, be sure to visit the beach at Waiana’e and look for the grey, unmarked food truck – The Special gets sold out pretty quickly though, so if you get there after 2:00 pm there might not be any more.