Friday, May 3, 2013

Food Truck Friday - Xplosive

This is the first of what I hope to be a series of weekly posts featuring Seattle-area food trucks. I'm kicking things off with the food truck I waited a long time for: one that features bánh mi.

Bánh Mi are a Vietnamese sandwich served on a baguette, usually with a mayo, a mix of carrots, daikon (a radish), cucumber, jalapeno and cilantro, plus a protein like tofu, pork, or chicken.

4 years ago, I went on a bánh mi binge for my Frugal Fridays series, but was already fully in love with these sandwiches. When my work had offices in the International District, these were the go-to lunch item for a LOT of people, given they're a) ready to go b) cheap and c) delicious. One of the chief complaints I heard when we moved to South Lake Union was that lunch options were too expensive (aka there were no bánh mi for $2.50).

I was elated when Xplosive Mobile Food Truck showed up on the Seattle food scene, with regular visits to Boren & Harrison. They have their own unique take on the bánh mi - combining Filipino flavors with the Vietnamese format. They also feature Filipino/Vietnamese fusion tacos and bún (vermicelli bowls).

On my first visit to Xplosive, I opted for the full-sized Chicken Adobo Bánh Mi, which I was shocked to discover was as long as my forearm, yet was only 6 bucks. The adobo flavor was there, but it still tasted solidly like a bánh mi, so was wonderfully satisfying after so long without one. It was more than enough for lunch, which made me wonder about another menu item: the "grenades".

The grenades are bánh mi sliders, which go for just $3 a piece, including tax... very close to the old I.D. standard bánh mi pricing. Given how substantial the full size is, my hope was the grenade would be the perfect lunch portion. Today, I went for the Lemongrass Tofu Grenade, which measured in at five inches - not quite on the same scale as similarly priced bánh mi at places like Saigon Bistro. The flavors were good, and there was a nice balance between the heat of the jalapeno and the other flavors. I may end up a little hungry later, but maybe that just means I should've ordered one of their dessert items. My only substantial complaint would be the wait. My first visit seemed extraordinarily long, given the line of people waiting already and my own wait. Today, I got there right when they opened (before they remembered to turn down the music so they could hear my order), but there was still a bit of a wait. I'm so accustomed to bánh mi being a grab and go item (rather than any component being cooked to order), that even 5 minutes seems like a long time to wait. Maybe I just need to adjust my expectations.

Xplosive Mobile Food Truck on Urbanspoon

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