By Byron Kerman | STLMag.com
Food truck aficionados know that Guerrilla Street Food is every bit as serious about their cuisine as the truck’s military-influenced paint job would imply.
In fact, Chef Brian Hardesty, formerly of Terrene, is not just vending great Filipino street/fusion fare, he’s very nearly vending the only Filipino food in the area, period. (Café Manila operates three days a week at the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market, and that’s about it.)
Hardesty is a crazy-relentless innovator who says he’s trying to add two to three new dishes to the Guerrilla Street Food repertoire each week.
His latest offerings include
“The Bicol Express”: Diced, braised pork shoulder sautéed in coconut milk, shrimp paste, ginger, garlic and five kinds of chiles, and served over rice with a garnish of more chiles. “It’s spicy, but not in your face,” says Hardesty. (Bicol is a region in the Philippines.)
Lechon Kawali: Pork belly boiled then roasted until super-tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, served in a variety of ways, usually over rice with a one-hour egg, and topped with fried garlic and calamansi Asian lime juice and honey. Hardesty is also making roasted pork belly salads (Lechon Kawali Salad, above left) and sandwiches.
“Guerrilla Monsoon”: “This one, I totally made up,” says Hardesty, “but it is influenced by Filipino cooking.” Cured, sweet longanisa sausage is sliced and sautéed with chili peppers, oyster mushrooms, and onions, and served over rice with Sriracha sauce and crunchy, dried chili threads and scallions (above right). Its seriously spicy-hot flavor sounds about as formidable as the late, 400-pound professional wrestler that inspired its name.
“The Flying Pig”: Whole pork shoulder is roasted in the oven for 12 hours; marinated in soy, garlic, and pepper; pulled off the bone (as in pulled pork), sauteed in Asado sauce (a blend of oyster, hoisin, and chili sauces with ginger, garlic, and black sesame seeds), and served over rice with a one-hour egg and scallions (at left).
-Paella and BBQ pork skewers have also been spotted exiting the window of the truck of late
With the coming of fall, Hardesty is also sharpening his carving knives – not for the pork dishes that he’s made his métier, but for the pumpkins he exhibits a supernatural talent for turning into Jack-O-Lanterns. The spooky fellow below, carved some time ago for Terrene, will soon have buddies inside the GSF truck. Michelangelo looked at a block of marble and saw the figures within; Hardesty looks at a pumpkin and sees beasties…