Fellow street food lovers: Meet the Dim Sum Truck. It’s the newest (and steamiest) meals-on-wheels venture to grace our fair city. The truck’s official debut is still a few days away, but The Astronomer I were fortunate enough to attend a sneak peek at the T-Lofts in West Los Angeles this weekend. I have a feeling that this truck is going to be mobbed once it hits the street, so it was quite a treat to scope it out before the hoards queued up.
The guy behind the wheel is Alex Chu, a USC grad (’09) with an entrepreneurial spirit, chill demeanor, and megawatt smile (his dad’s a dentist). Prior to joining the pack of Twittering trucks, Mr. Chu interned at BLT Steak and worked as a server at Sino Restaurant in San Jose.
The Dim Sum Truck was the vision of one man, but it took a village to launch it successfully. To assist with recipe development and vendor contacts, Mr. Chu enlisted the help of family friends working in the restaurant business. To create the truck’s distinctive logo and modern style, he recruited his tech and design-savvy high school mates. The team effort resulted in a truck that’s not only pleasing to the eye, but pleasing to the palate as well.
We started the tasting with a trio of parcels—shu mai, har gow, and a chive and shrimp dumpling. Served straight from the steamers, each one was hot, fresh, and packed with the good stuff. What made this dim sum experience different from others was Mr. Chu’s secret sauce. Salty, garlicky, and even a little spicy, this condiment made the dumplings shine and the flavors pop. I didn’t miss the lack of soy sauce or chili oil one bit.
Next, we dug into some sticky rice with sausage and mushrooms. The fist-sized package was wrapped in fragrant lotus leaves. Similar to the dumplings, the flavors and textures were totally spot on.
The final savory sample was a traditional turnip cake. The sides were seared and golden, while the innards were slightly creamy. The Astronomer thought that this was one of the better versions of the dish that he has eaten.
For dessert, Mr. Chu busted out the blow torch! Who doesn’t love dinner and a show?
The bad ass blowtorch-action resulted in an egg tart/crème brulée hybrid that was out of sight. The crust was properly flaky, while the filling was sweet and rich. The sesame ball had a lovely glutinous texture and was filled with smooth lotus paste.
All of the offerings that we tasted this afternoon wouldn’t be out of place served in the dim sum halls of the San Gabriel Valley. I really appreciated that there wasn’t any skimping on ingredients or watering down of flavors on board the truck. Nothing beats an authentic dim sum experience with squeaky carts and the bossy ladies driving them, but when a craving hits and you’re west of downtown, the Dim Sum Truck will surely do.
Follow the Dim Sum Truck on Twitter @DimSumTruck.