Tuesday, August 23, 2011

VANCOUVER SLOP: COMA FOOD TRUCK



"It's good, but a bit runny."

I've been visiting Coma Food Truck for over two weeks now, slowly working through each item on the menu. They've recently added a kalbi marinated burger ($7.99) with fries to the menu, which features Korean-inflected items with the obligatory foodtruck nod to Mexican fare, and I want to know what I'm getting.

Which, on all occasions, is charming service. The owner, Jay Cho, and his crew are an affable bunch, always eager to chat, even more so when the weather isn't cooperating. They're clearly enthusiastic about their menu, ready to spread the gospel of this not-so-new street food project and their niche within it.


But if only that menu could be better. The burger, as they mention, is too runny: the kalbi sauce is dripping all over the place, which doesn't help the untoasted bun any, leaving a soggy, slightly sweet mess punctuated only by a touch of kimchi. The quasi-Mexican offerings - a burrito ($5.99, with bulgogi beef or pork, stuffed with a tofu scramble) and a kimchi quesadilla ($5.99) - settle uneasily on that border between the cuisines of both cultures, dabbling in them but without reaching the beauty of either. Seaweed rolls ($4.99 for 6) are deep-fried rolls of jap chae wrapped in nori, great in the context of drunken late night bar food but too clumsy for sober patrons in the daytime. Each of those items pose interesting questions, but the hungry amongst us won't be satisfied with the answers provided.


That's perhaps why the bibimbap ($6.99 with a miso soup) ends up being Coma's finest moment, if only by process of elimination. It's a simple and elegant offering, the egg left just runny enough to satiate but solid enough to avoid health code inspection nightmares, the rest of the bowl co-existing in a delicate balance of flavours and textures. There's not too much tinkering here, to everyone's benefit: this dish has stood the test of time for a reason. And it's this - along with the daily hope that the food truck's amiable crew will have finally nailed the other dishes - that made our two week stint that much more enjoyable, runny burger or not.

Joe.

Coma Food Truck
Varying locations, but on Homer at Georgia (by the VPL) during weekdays
the clutterer Web Developer

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