It's been a while since we've gotten revved up over a mobile eatery, but when Sam Choy, a James Beard Award winner and the so-called “father of modern Hawaiian cuisine,” decides to open a food truck, it's time to bust out your hula shirt.
The Pineapple Express Truck will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, with classic island dishes like banana leaf-wrapped kalua pork rubbed with Hawaiian sea salt, tempura-fried shrimp and fish filets with creamy “da kine” sauce, loco moco over “firecracker rice,” and of course the chef's signature raw fish poke, made with soy and sesame marinated chunks of ahi or salmon tossed with Maui onion, green onions and heirloom tomatoes.
Choy, whose two popular restaurants in Hawaii have garnered several awards, explained that the idea to bring his cooking to Los Angeles originated with his guests. “I'd say about 80 to 90 percent of the people who dine at our restaurants are from California, so coming to Los Angeles is a way to bring the food to them.” Choy teamed up with friend and former Lakers executive chef Jeff Mora to design the menu and truck.
There are some high-tech upgrades involved, like an iPad touchscreen ordering system, and a kitchen program that ensures items are served less than five minutes after patrons order them. “We studied a lot of trucks before designing ours, and we wanted to make sure you could get good food quickly. Most people don't like waiting outside food trucks.” Choy also ensured that all of the truck's food was local, sustainable and eco-friendly, since he is both a member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Council and a friend of singer and eco-activist Jack Johnson, who he admits “wouldn't support anything of mine unless I made sure it was green.”
Choy's Pineapple Express debuted this past Sunday with a kick-off party at Santa Monica's Shorebar, and plans to hit more events in the near future, including the fire-spinning hula event in Carson tomorrow evening. The website is still under construction, but once it launches, you'll be able to track the truck's movements online and on Twitter.
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