Coma Food Truck.
Upon learning that Coma Food Truck had situated itself for a time in the Railtown area of Vancouver, I had to give them a try. Just on the outskirts of running distance from my usual daily haunt, it was a somewhat bleary day, but neither of those things deterred me from seeking out this much talked about Korean-Mexican fusion food cart.
Tweeting a desperate plea to stay open for a few minutes extra so that I could make the 10 minute jog over, I was pleased to see that the social media aspect of Coma Food Truck’s marketing scheme was really on the ball. Getting a prompt response tweet and even a greeting by name upon arrival demonstrates a level of customer care that is often times lost in this day and age.
Unfortunately for me, Jae and his crew have since moved from their quieter location on Railway Street to the much busier corner of Homer and Georgia Streets downtown by Library Square. I hope to still be able to make the trek if I manage to snag a bit more leisurely lunch time. From what I hear, the move into downtown should take care a of a laundry list of location issues. Among the most notable problems in their Railway spot were: parking problems with the city wherein the truck would have to circle the block once an hour, a somewhat obscure location for regular foot traffic and a sudden influx of other food carts down the block. Although, Coma did have a loyal following in the area.
Up until a few years ago, Korean food had been a bit of a mystery to me. Besides all of the generic foods (like the seafood pancake pajeons and the chap chae potato noodles) that most people stick to, much of that vast food culture had escaped my radar. One would think that adding in a Mexican flare to already tasty Korean staples would muddy the waters even further, but the food here works. What goes on in this white and metallic food truck isn’t so much a clash of opposing tastes, but familiar flavours presented in a different and complimentary style.
From what I’ve found, the menu is always evolving. The daily offerings can be viewed on their website. But this also does not guarantee certain dishes will be available on arrival as many of the more popular items have been known to sell out before the lunch rush is over. I have now twice missed trying the Bibimbap dish due to it being sold out! As an added note, it is great that most of the food selections for the day are displayed with photos to ease newcomers into the different choices.
Briskly making my way back to the office, I was eager to tuck into the freshly made food. Most of the the disposable take away containers used are made from recycled materials and are more biodegradable rather than plastic based. I thought this lessening of their carbon footprint was a nice touch.
First up was the Korean BBQ Burrito. Pictured above next to an iPhone, you can see that this by itself is already a somewhat sizable serving. Grilled briefly on all four sides, it was still warm all the way through when I unwrapped it. There was a distinct aroma of the sweet marinades wafting from it.
The tortilla shell is stuffed tight with sauteed peppers, your choice of either pork or beef, crumbled tofu and a sprinkling of cheese. The tofu was actually a great substitute rather than having only cheese throughout the burrito, not that too much cheese is ever a bad thing. The whole wrap was quite hefty and could probably be a meal all on its own. The meat (beef on this occasion) was slightly sweet and plentiful throughout. I can’t wait to return to try the pork version.
Up next was the Kimchi Quesadilla. A generous helping of cheese, tofu, home made kimchi, sandwiched between two tortillas, which is then grilled and finished off with a semi-spicy Korean inspired drizzle over top. The tofu was less apparent in this dish than in the burrito and there was also more cheese to hold everything together. This dish didn’t hold up as well as the burrito so I would recommend that the quesadillas are eaten on the spot truck side. Other than being only a bit soggy, but still hot, the homemade kimchi was tasty and if you like that sort of piquant and spicy flavouring this dish showcases it.
Seaweed rolls was the last item ordered on this initial visit to Coma Food Truck. Generously battered on the outside, these rolls are quite simply shredded vegetables and potato noodles (like the kind you would find in the quintessentially Korean Chap Chae dish) wrapped in seaweed that is then deep fried.
The rolls managed to stay somewhat crispy, even about 15-20 minutes after preparation. The batter was thick and resembled what you might find on a doughier version of fish and chips. Like the burrito, these rolls were packed tight with noodles and vegetables and I thought that this dish made for a great filler, although a nice soy based or spicy dipping sauce might do this selection wonders.
Good food, great service and a friendly proprietor are all very substantial components to having a great meal. It’s really difficult to fault Coma Food Truck on any aspects of their business and their food offerings follow suit. I did get a chance to go back again to try another dish and I hope to have that blogged shortly as well. Stay tuned!
Coma Food Truck
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