Food Trucks in Japan

While Japanese food trucks are successfully popping up all over the United States and other countries, wouldn’t be interesting to know what kind of food trucks there are in Japan?  Japan used to be a country where street food was limited to food stalls selling yakisoba and takoyaki  (noodles and snack balls). Today. Tokyo is an amazing place to be in with several food trucks offering incredible menus either in a permanent location or as mobile satellites of existing restaurants.

The Fred Segal Food Truck

American retailer Fred Segal did not just open a clothing store in Tokyo, he also put up a food truck, Mart. This move was a first in the world and his food truck is more than just donuts and coffee. Mart also sells imported food grocery products like Quinn Popcorn and Jacobsen Salt. His coffee is a unique blend of Japanese Arabica coffee beans hand roasted for 30 minutes and a Japanese coffee served to Japanese royalty, Marafuku.

Wish Fresh Salad

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This food truck offers a design-your-salad menu with an interesting selection of ingredients including bacon, lotus root, bell peppers, mushrooms, and black olives. They have their own dressing with the bestseller being the honey mustard. The food truck also sells different wraps, soup, beer, apple cider, and sparkling wine. It is owned by Atsushi who studied in New York and  when he returned to Tokyo, he brought the food truck idea with him.

Garage 50

If you’re craving for pizza while in Tokyo, you should look for Garage 50. It offers the city most extensive range of pizza flavors and sauces including a maple syrup sauce. All pizzas are 24 cm, thin crust and crispy. They occasionally add a few daily specials which go on a limited run. Each pizza costs 500 yen while drinks like Coke and ginger ale are 100 yen each.

Adwee Lalawee

Technically not a food truck but a cart on wheels but this amazing business is popular for having one of the best pad thais in Tokyo. No, the chef is not Thai but Japanese, Hiroyuki Makino, and his wooden cart on wheels (bicycle wheels) is one to run after. He is found mostly in the Asagaya and Koenji area and can be grumpy at times but his food is the best! You will have to choose and self serve the sauce you want on your noodles and you have a choice of adding crushed peanuts for the authentic Thai flavor. One dish of pad thai is only 380 yen and best eaten hot with a cold can of Singha beer. Oh, and Adwee can be found on Twitter.

Street Food Dojo

Dojo is a Japanese word that can refer to a martial arts studio or a “place of the way.” As far as street food is concerned, dojo is defined as a place to practice towards enlightenment. Dojo can be found anywhere as long as there is discipline in the pursuit of a specific goal. There are hundreds of restaurants around the world, mostly in Asia, that try to perpetuate their concept of dojo. Dojo in food or in the food business would mean appreciation and respect for the pursuit of excellence in the selected cuisine.

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There is one food business in San Francisco, Street Food Dojo, which has intrigued a lot of people because they are engaged in Asian fusion food. Those who are familiar with dojo have high expectations for the street food offer although since it is a work in progress, the feedback has been extreme and slightly confusing. In short, you either love it or you hate it.

Street Food Dojo is found in the financial district in downtown San Francisco. It opened late 2013 where a hot dog stand once stood. It is only open on weekdays from 10 in the morning to 6 in the evening. As a specialty food kiosk, you have to expect the strange and unusual. For example, they have Kung Fu Fries with melted cheese, pulled pork, and gravy, Spam Musubi, and Curry Bento. These are not your typical Asian food and take some getting used to.

The main attraction of Street Food Dojo kiosk is it novelty so it still remains a question mark whether customers will want to come back for seconds. Some of comments about the street food from Dojo are that the food is freshly prepared, the area is clean, and the staff of two is friendly most of the time.  The problem is that many of the customers of the old hot dog stand want the hotdog and Street Food Dojo does not have the typical hot dog. Theirs is either a Sumo Hot Dog or a Dojo Hot Dog. The hotdogs are served with Asian flavors like sesame seeds, shredded seaweed and gravy.

Other food items are the ribs with kimchi rice, spicy chicken wings, pork cutlets, and the popular Takoyaki balls which are octopus balls, and fried rice, among others. The portions tend to be small and the waiting time is long.

Does the Street Food Dojo come highly recommended? It’s definitely something worth trying.