Flown in from halfway across the world in Los Angeles is The Lime Truck, an award-winning food truck. It is a concept that has yet to find its way through or around the local legislation (I am guessing due to licensing, hygiene and cleanliness issues), but essentially a mobile eatery serving up typically handcrafted cuisines to where the demand is. But that has not stopped the winner of Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” and Yahoo!’s “Top 10 Trucks in America” from setting up shop here (literally, since mobile food trucks ain’t a thing yet) in the little red dot, because let’s be frank, nothing can prevent our food culture from flourishing into an even bigger melting pot of vibrant cuisines and concepts.
Parking its “truck” at Pasarbella at Suntec City, one can already imagine it to be based in a casual and high-spirited setting, not too far off from how it is like back at their hometown. Interestingly, it is the Celebrity Chef Daniel Shemtob’s first venture out of America with The Lime Truck, and I cannot feel more proud and honoured to fly the Singapore flag.
As a food truck that prides itself as representing ingredient-driven New American cuisine, with Mexican and Latin American influences, the team behind the wheels make tacos built from scratch – that includes moulding the dough on a daily basis to churn out fresh tortillas, ready to be embellished with multi-coloured locally sourced ingredients. Side dishes are also available – I say tackle anything with their Guacamole ($3.90). It is one-of-a-kind, packed with a punch from a mixture of avocado, lime juice, garlic, coriander, black beans, sweet corn and jalapenos. It is one of the less ordinary and more memorable Guacamole I have had. The Brussel Sprouts ($3.90) is also worth being health-conscious for, if you are able to get over the inherent smell and taste of it to begin with. The reward is a mouthful of juicy and crunchy sprouts with hints of tanginess, probably from the chipotle honey sauce, perfect to sufficiently cut the sometimes overpowering taste of the sprouts itself.
The main highlights themselves comprise of tacos with various flavours. My favourite of the lot has to be the No #1 Steak Taco ($4.60). The marinated flat iron cut is lightly grilled and accompanied with ginger slaw, sesame, cilantro chimchurri and wontons. It gives an overall dominant taste profile of sweetness, but even as someone who prefers to have the sweetness reserved for desserts, I find it acceptable, probably due to the complementary touch of spiciness and sourness at the same time. The steak itself was reasonable considering how affordably priced it is; while it has a chewy texture, the chewing does not go on endlessly. Importantly, the portion of the steak itself is generous.
Its counterpart, Braised Pork Belly Taco ($4), unfortunately sounded more promising on paper. First, I lament the fact that the “pork belly” itself has a much high proportion of lean meat than the fats – and because they are chopped up into rather small parts, much of my bites comprised the monotonous lean meat. I guess it is all about expectations here; I do always expect a good portion of fats and meat when I see “pork belly”, regardless of how unhealthy that may be. Second, the sweet and soy sauce doused on the meat was excessive in quantity and overpowering in its combined sweetness and saltiness. The outcome was a sharp contrast between the meat and the sauce, and it felt like I was at a crossroad of decisions – to continue eating or not. As it is now, I would suggest passing this up for the Steak Taco.
To cater to the gluten-free and/or vegan eaters, The Lime Truck also put together Potato Taco ($3.50). The few of us nodded in agreement that it was overly starchy as a dish itself. At the same time, I note that vegan eaters may be accustomed to that heavyweight combination. The potato itself was pretty amazing though, with the slightly crusty outside.
Despite its painstaking efforts to hand-make its tacos on a daily basis, with respect, I find it hard to appreciate what comes out of it. It might be that the kitchen was not ready to deal with the large crowd. It felt like they were in a hurry because while the time the tortilla was supposed to be heated is fixed for an ideal product, the tortilla turned out to be undercooked in my humble opinion. It was still slightly doughy, plus, it was so soft and fragile that it proved to be a challenge finishing the tacos without the tortilla first breaking. The messy experience of tucking in tacos with your fingers was thus lessened to a tidier “posh” experience of fork and knife. Depending on how you see it, it could be a good or bad thing.
The Lime Truck opens its truck doors to the public tomorrow, 26 August 2017, from 10am onwards. Goods news if you are around the area, or intend to be the first kiasu Singaporean to check it out: from 2pm to 8pm, stand a chance to get your hands on exclusive freebies (like The Lime Truck merchandise) and 2-for-1 tacos! Snag those No #1 Steak Taco! Or maybe other flavours including Buttermilk Fried Chicken Taco ($4) and Grilled Barramundi Taco ($4.40). I do hope the team is ready for a crowd now, otherwise the effort put into these is going to a waste.
What’s worth ordering:
No #1 Steak Taco