Spring into (Food Truck) Festival season

Jaspery Goh/HIGHLANDER
Jaspery Goh/HIGHLANDER

Amid the bustle of the Nooner and tabling happening this past Wednesday, over 20 food trucks made their way to UCR for our fourth Food Truck Festival. Sprawled around the Bell Tower and the HUB, trucks offering food from Asian fusion to waffles and crepes finally gave students more variety to their typical on-campus lunches.

Besides the crippling overpriced characteristic of food trucks, such as one particular taco truck that offered a two-taco combo for $9, I love the idea of mobilized food and the creativity that some trucks had to offer. The last food truck festival did not disappoint, and I vividly recall the deliciousness of my bacon-wrapped Hawaiian teriyaki dog from Tokyo Doggy Style, until the experience was interrupted too soon by my hot dog being knocked out of my hand.

Nonetheless, I decided to redeem myself by attending the festival determined to have a better experience this time. As I scanned the rows of food trucks lining the premises, I recognized the crowd favorites being Tokyo Doggy Style, Waff-n-Roll, Rice Balls of Fire and Yalla Truck, which all had lines stretching from the top of the HUB Plaza to Pierce Hall and most likely required an hour wait.

The strange yet alluring combination of smells from Crepes Bonaparte, Bacon Mania and California Grill Truck guided me toward that direction and before I knew it, I found myself staring at a 12-inch chili cheese dog from Angie’s Weiners. “Wow, I want that; it’s probably the thing that’s most worth $8.50 for the huge portion,” remarked my companion before placing an order for the exact same hot dog nicknamed “Leading Man.”

I, on the other hand, decided to give Slanging Corea, a Korean fusion truck, a try after being slightly discouraged by the long lines for Rice Balls of Fire and hearing a rumor that Crepes Bonaparte had run out of ice cream and strawberries (which would have been half of what I planned to order). Roughly 40 minutes later, my friend had received his hot dog, and I had just ordered a bulgogi burrito for $9 (not my proudest burrito purchase due to the price).

“Yeah, (the long wait is) like this every time, but the food was pretty good! The (pork belly) rice ball had a decent proportion of pork belly and kimchee and the (po boy) sliders’ rolls complemented the crispiness of the soft-shelled crab really well,” said Patricia Dimaano. There wasn’t any time for me to spare an hour and thirty minutes, but I figured I would just make a note to myself to try this truck at the next festival.

In contrast to the amount of time it took for me to order, my burrito come out pretty quickly and I wasted no time indulging in the sweet and savory wrap. Despite the overcooked rice in my order and the not-so-generous amount of bulgogi, it was still an enjoyable meal; the sweet and salty flavors of the slaw and meat meshed together nicely and although the portion wasn’t as big as a Chipotle burrito, it was still enough to fill me up.

Whether it was a simple dessert fix consisting of Hawaiian shaved ice or an entire meal of grilled cheese varieties, the Food Truck Festival truly had something to fulfill every craving. As one of the most anticipated events of the quarter, we can only hope that they return soon to satisfy the foodies here at UCR.

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