New Zealand’s Take on the U.S. Food Truck Revolution

ROCK'N'ROLL: Rolled roast pork with a tasty filling and, inset, Annabelle White with Roy Choi.

by ANNABELLE WHITE | Sunday Star Times

ROCK'N'ROLL: Rolled roast pork with a tasty filling and, inset, Annabelle White with Roy Choi.

There is a food revolution happening in the streets and neighbourhoods of Los Angeles and it won’t be long before it’s here. Thankfully we are not talking another multinational fast- food operation. This is fast food on a small scale: inexpensive, fun, creative, social and very much reflecting the neighbourhoods where it was born. We are talking food trucks.

Only five years ago there were just a couple of food trucks in LA; now there are 200 to 300 serving everything from gourmet hot dogs to Vietnamese pork rolls.

One of the most popular food trucks – and one of the first – is Kogi BBQ (, started by Roy Choi. Back in 2008, this Korean-born classically trained chef gave up his job as a hotel chef and started making great fusion food that reflected his neighbourhood kitchens. It was good, simple, clean food at great prices. Think kimchi quesadilla and Korean beef tacos – Choi has taken Korean classics and mixed them up in a Mexican kitchen.

Choi started with one truck and now has five, and more than 90,000 people follow him on Facebook to find out where his trucks will be each day. It’s no wonder they’re so popular – $US2 will get you a soft Korean spicy pork taco with beans and lots of fresh ingredients. They are an amazing testimony to great street food at good prices.

What makes his food so special are the sauces, packed with chillies and herbs, and used as a marinade to baste the meat while it is cooking and then as a serving sauce with the finished product.

Here are instructions for one of my favourite pork dishes:

Slice the cooked meat and rest on a kumara ginger mash (kumara mash with a little hint of fresh ginger and chopped parsley) and a side of cooked beans.

For a sauce, I simply place the pan juices into a pot with 300ml of good chicken stock and a generous spoonful of mustard and chutney, and reduce by half. You can add more fresh herbs if you wish, but this combination is superb. It’s light and perfect with the rich pork and mash.


This recipe has been slightly adapted from one given to me more than 15 years ago by Auckland food writer Pip Duncan. Her pork recipes are always a delight.

1.5kg pork scotch fillet

150g middle bacon, diced

1/2C toasted pine nuts

1T grated orange rind

A squeeze of orange juice

1/2C finely chopped apricots

2C fresh breadcrumbs

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg yolk

1 bunch spinach, stalks removed

180g bacon strips

Preheat the oven to 180[Degree]C fan bake.

Cook the diced middle bacon and place in a large bowl with the pine nuts, orange rind, orange juice, apricots, breadcrumbs, black pepper to taste and the egg yolk. Mix well and set aside. Wilt the spinach leaves by cooking covered in microwave for just a few minutes, drain well.

Butterfly the pork scotch fillet by cutting down the length, three- quarters of the way through. Open the fillet out and press flat. Spread the spinach leaves over the cut surface of the pork. Spread the breadcrumb mixture in a log in the middle, then roll up and place the bacon strips around the pork fillet. Secure with string.

Place on a rack on a roasting tray and cook for 15 minutes to caramelise the meat and seal it. Then switch the oven back to normal bake and cook for another 60-80 minutes at 180[Degree]C on bake or until cooked (a meat thermometer inserted should reach 71-76[Degree]C). Remove from the oven and stand dish, covered, in a warm place for 10 minutes.