If one needs any evidence that the recent fascination with food trucks has reached its peak, the presence of the television show “The Great Food Truck Race” should do the trick.
The show, which debuted August 15 on the Food Network, features seven teams selling their particular grub from their trucks at different stops across the country.
Debbie Lee would have been a prime candidate for this show. In just two months, Lee’s food truck, which sells her spin on traditional Korean pub grub, has become a Southern California favorite.
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Lee, who was a finalist on last season’s “The Next Food Network Star,” launched her food truck business, Ahn-Joo, in June at the Los Angeles Food Festival Village and is now making stops almost every day of the week.
On Friday, August 20, Lee’s truck parked on Lyons Avenue in Old Town Newhall and served dozens of curious and hungry Santa Clarita residents from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
After firing up the burners and opening the service windows, Lee chose not to begin cooking.
Instead, she stepped out of her truck to greet every individual and explain her unique menu. With the understanding that most people in the vicinity had never tried “Korean snacks,” Lee described various items with relatable detail, attempting to get a sense of what each customer might enjoy.
“This has been a good testing ground,” said Lee, who plans on keeping the truck even when her new brick-and-mortar restaurant eventually opens in Los Angeles.
Lee said she was inspired by the old school food trucks from the 60s and 70s, stressing that the recent craze didn’t just happen over night.
For Lee, her talent and passion for Korean food was verified in the conversations of all those who had ordered. People spoke of new and exciting flavors, proud of themselves for taking the risk of trying something previously foreign to their taste buds.
Tastes like tangy and chewy bacon wrapped rice cylinders, served on skewers with a side of jalapeno ponzu. Or a previously unknown from the dessert family – the grilled nutella bhang. The pastry-like dish was doused in berries and served hot, paired with melted ricotta sauce for dipping.
This was a favorite among the crowd, spurring many to ask Lee the same question – a question she’s probably used to hearing by now:
“When will you be back?”
Visit ahnjoo.com for the truck’s planned stops and intriguing menu.