CHENNAI: The Food Truck - For 25-year-old Sindhuja Manoj, it was a leap of faith when she decided to quit her job as an anesthesiologist at SIMS Hospital and started ‘The Food Truck’. The nine-month-old eatery is located at Indira Colony Ashok Nagar. They serve 45 Italian dishes from starters to desserts, and three drinks, all created by Sindhu. “I am happy to do something I love. It is challenging, but each day is a learning experience for me and my team,” says Sindhu.
One of their signature dishes is The Food Truck Fried Chicken — a butterfly-shaped chicken piece marinated for six hours with spices and battered crumbs then deep fried and topped with homemade white sauce, oregano and red chilli flakes. The chicken is soft and crunchy. The Italian arrabbiata pasta and grilled veg sandwich is also a must-try. The chocolatey waffle served with chocolate sauce and ice-cream is a hit among customers. Other dishes on their menu include herbed potato, falafel nuggets, and paneer quesadillas. Sindhu plans to open different outlets with different cuisines like Mexican and south Indian, in Chennai.
Char Food Truck
An orange - and blue-coloured truck stands parked in a small lot on Chamiers Road. The smell of food wafts before we reach the two benches and a few standing tables. The brainchild of two friends Abbas M Bharmal and VJP Surojit Babudas, Char, a food truck serving Bohra Muslim and Iranian dishes, opened in January. As Abbas is a Bohra Muslim himself, the food served at the restaurant is an assortment of dishes from his youth days. “The Chennai market is open to trying out new food. We knew that they’d enjoy the food here,” said Smriti Murali, CEO of the company.
The lamb chops and chicken tikka are a must-try. Paired with roti and handful of onions, one plate is filling, but leaves you craving for more. Vegetarians have a solid option in their paneer tikka. The paneer and ginger lime goli sodas, served in the typical glass bottles with a marble, offer a refreshing chill in the summer heat.With new dishes introduced every weekend, Char is the perfect place to go for a quick bite with old friends. The courteous staff is merely the cherry on top.
Karam Food Truck
Touted as Chennai’s first food truck, Karam, located at three places in Velachery, serves desi Chinese at pocket-friendly prices. Started in March 2015, the truck serves both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, 120 different varieties of rice, noodles, starters and momos. “After a brief stint as a restaurant manager, I wanted to do something new, so I introduced the concept of food truck in Chennai. Lately, we have also started accepting party orders,” said Karthi Kannan, owner of the truck.
Karthi says he will change the menu every few months to stay relevant. When you visit the truck, don’t forget to try their moist chicken momos, dragon chicken tossed in a sweet sticky sauce, and Karam special mix of rice and noodles.
The Tickle Truck
The seven-month-old The Tickle Truck at Besant Nagar serves unconventional flavours of ice cream, and you cannot stop with just one. Started by 29-year-old Barath Jaiyanth, Jesvin Prabhu and Shanmugapandian, the truck serves Pop-Tickles, Cream-Tickles, Ticklodas, Tickledaes and Ticklewiches.
“I always wanted to start a food truck. Tickle Truck is the first-of-its-kind here offering a variety of savoury-flavoured ice creams,” says Barath. The never-heard-before flavours include Mystery Mor — spicy buttermilk popsicle with kaara boondhi and masala, Mad Mojito — smeared with the lemon, mint leaves, and masala, Yummy Strawberry — made with crushed strawberries sorbet pops, and Enigmatic charcoal — activated charcoal popsicle in coconut milk. Among the Creamtickles, we recommend Cool Carrot Halwa — a mix of Indian sweets. It is creamy, soft and tastes delicious. Frosty Litchi Saffron — a mix of litchi, saffron and coconut, sure to make your mouth water.
Not often do you come across a food truck with an in-built arcade game — a genius idea to kill time while waiting for food to arrive. So, if you are near Palavakkam beach, keep an eye out for Alien Stone, a six-month-old futurism-inspired food truck that serves juicy burgers, steaks, fries, mocktails, and shakes. “If you don’t find us there, we are probably busy serving food off the truck at an event or college,” says the co-founder. The food truck, started by two architecture students has so far visited about 10 colleges and marked their presence in 15-odd events in the city.
“Most food trucks have a set location. But, we wanted to move to different parts of the city and serve all kinds of people. It was quite surprising when people started tracking the whereabouts of the truck based on the updates on our social media pages,” he shares. The food truck is known for its steaks, frizzlers, and burgers. “The assorted burger and ‘No Bun Burger’ is a fast-seller. All our sauces are made in-house,” he says.