Food Trucks have always been around. From the early days of ice cream trucks floating around town, to the 25 cent Lemonade stand situated out by elementary school children to Hot dog stands. In the recent past 2 decades, there has been Food trucks among construction sites for city workers to grab a quick bite during lunch. There are hot dog/sandwich carts situated all over New York by federal/corporate buildings. Illegally-run bacon-wrapped hot dog trucks line the streets of Hollywood late night for intoxicated individuals to pay an overprice of 5$ for their gluttonous souls.
This past year, there has been a new trend of Food Trucks. Asian food trucks. Yes, the “Kogi Truck”, which started it all. Just within a year, hundreds of Asian food trucks have popped up all around Los Angeles. “Kogi Taco” is a Mexican-Korean fusion style meat mixed with cilantro, raw onions and Korean flavor sauce. Who would have thought stuffing Korean BBQ meat into tortilla would be such a hit?
The Uprise of Asian Food Trucks Brought a Demographic Shift — A Whole New Culture
This ‘Kogi-taco’ phenomenon has brought a whole new demographic & culture into the Food Truck Culture. It is no longer a pastime, quick-fix lunch habit for blue-collar workers, or corporate businessmen grabbing a quick bite before the next meeting. This new demographic consists of an age range of teens to mid-30’s. The genius who invented the Kogi Taco truck maximally utilized the most recent technology of Twitter to allow followers to track them down. Since this restaurant is on wheels, it brought all the more excitement for followers to log on, and chase them down. Downtown LA has a range of them, and even food truck festivals that have been put on. One day on the south of Wilshire and La Brea, the next north of Wilshire and 4th in Santa Monica. It became a trend for young hip friends to spontaneously skate on over at any time of the day for a cheap delicious bite.
A lot more Asian-Americans were appearing at the scene of Food trucks, which were merely rare to find in the past due to their conservative nature. Asians all over the internet started Yelping & Tweeting about their favorite food trucks, advertising for friends or friends of friends who had recently started one. Yelp has now a section just on Food Truck ratings.
Restaurants are losing business over the Food Trucks, perhaps a result of the Recession. Perhaps a result of something new. Now one is able to pay half or even a third of the price for something just as fresh, in a quicker time, while still being able to hang out. This trend has brought more people together, since there are no arranged table seating, individuals flock around the cart mixing and mingling during lunch time.
Imitations: Hundreds of Asian Food Trucks appear all over LA
After Kogi Trucks begun a year ago, imitation trucks like the ‘Calbi Truck’, ‘iKimchi BBQ’ have started serving very similar menus. Other Asian foods have popped up as well. There are now a range of trucks on Sawtelle Blvd in West LA such as the Vietnamese truck ‘Nom Nom’ serving sandwiches, ‘Yum Yum Bowls’ which serve Yoshinoya type bowls, sushi trucks, ramen trucks and more.
The most recently established to add to the family is the ‘Dumpling Station’ founded by Helen Pan which will open in March around Pasadena, the very first Dumpling Truck.
I am taking a Documentary Film Making course at UCLA Extensions right now, and my 2nd project I wish to do on this subject. I wish to explore what it takes to start a Food Truck Business, and the future of the Asian Food Truck Business.