Trailer creates Asian sensation

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Austin street food vendor redesigns American classics with Korean twist

Every week, it appears as though there’s a new food trailer popping up somewhere around town, offering the city a creative twist on street food. While several have been hit-or-miss in the ways of taste, the ones that do succeed have gone on to national acclaim (such as Odd Duck, Chi’Lantro and Gourdough’s).

Up on board to become a competitor to these predecessors: Not Your Mama’s Food Truck.

Nestled in a dark corner of an empty trailer food lot across from Juan in a Million on East Cesar Chavez Street, is Not Your Mama’s, a new, shiny and unpainted white truck that serves up a fusion of Asian and American cuisine on paper trays.

Though the truck has only been open for about two months, half of the lot was packed with cars. A small crowd hovers in front of the menu board, eyeing the mouthwatering selection, all around $5, that’s written in pastel-colored chalk.

From Korean style, deep fried, crispy chicken to beef sliders, Not Your Mama’s menu is heavily influenced by Southeast Asian cuisine. Still, owner and chef Ron Chadwick said he cooks what he likes and is not limited to a certain taste.

The quality of his meals would be fitting for a five-star restaurant, but every item on the menu is tweaked to accommodate the on-the-go nature of street food. As a native from Maine, Chadwick said he eventually wants to incorporate lobster and East Coast staples such as clam chowder into his menu. Currently, he is working on a fried peanut butter and jelly popper.

The slow-cooked beef tongue served on a bed of soft, sticky white rice was a stellar dish, and though there was a slight gamey smell and taste to the Korean barbecued beef, it literally melts in your mouth. The acid from the pickled daikons and onions was also a nice contrast to the sweetness of the meat. Despite the dish being mainly of tongue, a type of meat not eaten on a daily basis, Chadwick said the beef tongue is the most popular dish on the menu.

Another customer favorite, Chadwick said, is the Korean-style, deep fried crispy chicken. This dish is so popular that it usually sells out by the time dinner starts and on this night, it was sold-out.

However, the steak sliders are thinly cut and cooked until moist and soft and the steak is served between buttery toasted buns. A deep-fried ball of chicken-fried steak gravy, wedged on top of the steak, is a surprising touch to the slider. When popped, the gravy smoothly melts into the slider and adds a rich, comforting taste.
The pommes frites, or French fries, like the steak slider, was a taste of comfort. Thinly cut, crisped to perfection and slightly salted, the frites was served with a cool sauce that’s mainly composed of Sriracha sauce and mayonnaise. The sauce paired with the frites changes each day, Chadwick said. Earlier in the morning, he had served a fresh blend of cucumber with it.

Chadwick’s refined palate shines through and through in his genius creations. Though appearing simple and comforting, Not Your Mama’s lives up to its name.

Grade: A