Fast food. Mean prices. Bangalore is lapping up food on the go, coming out of flashy trucks kitted with fancy kitchens. Cities like New York and Chicago have a vibrant food truck culture and Bangalore is really catching up on this trend, as evenings see these mean machines open up with smoke and sizzle. Whether it’s a lunch break from office, or grabbing a bite after college, or on the way back from work, these shiny steel kitchens dish out cool “dude food” – street food, fast food high on fat, sauce, and food you can make a mess with, eating with your hands. Burgers, hotdogs, and sandwiches make up the menu of quick easy bites. They move locations often, have a devout following, and use facebook to keep in touch with their customers. Here’s looking at three of the most popular ones in the city.
Gypsy Kitchen happened to Shakti Subbarao when he got fed up of his corporate life. He wanted to start a restaurant, but things happened otherwise, and he was led to a complete foodtruck with a built in kitchen, online, and launched in June this year. He was inspired by the Eat Street shows on TV. While the crux of his food is the all-American burgers, hotdogs, and sandwiches, “I want to give people a ‘gypsy’ menu, where flavours from different parts of the world come together in your sandwich or burger,” says the 32-year-old Shakti. His wife pre-cooks the food, his brother-in-law and his wife help Shakti on the truck. “My flashy truck (with red-orange flames leaping from a black background!) proved to be a cultural shock initially. In India where most vehicles selling food is usually ‘Chinese’, we were accepted in about two weeks. And now we have regulars.” People did initially have hang-ups to pay a maximum of Rs. 180 for a sandwich that came out of a truck, admits Shakti, “but we first ask them to eat”. “We are looking at people who enjoy their food. People love to eat. That’s the bottomline in Bangalore.” They are usually parked in HSR Layout from 5.30 p.m. onwards.
A new food equation
“I wanted to bring the dude food scene to Bangalore. It’s about good food, large portion sizes, and eating without a care about those around while you have sauce all over your face,” says 23-year-old Siddhanth Sawkar, who started The Spitfire BBQ Truck as a stop-gap arrangement till his restaurant took off. Sidhanth says all the food on his truck comes fresh — “We bake our bread every morning, veggies come in from my uncle’s farm, and the meat comes in fresh by afternoon to be marinated. By 5 we are out of the house, and it’s me and my apprentice cooking on the truck.” A coleslaw sandwich starts at Rs. 80 and goes up to Rs. 280 for one with double chicken and double bacon. “The pricing is low, because we are still street-food.” The street-food menu changes every three days. “We do burgers, hotdogs, and occasionally pork-ribs,” he adds. He’s been barbecuing with his parents every Sunday since his childhood, and specialises in southern Italian cuisine; he used to run a catering unit. “It’s no sin to get sauce on your chin” is one of the favourite draws on his FB page. Kammanahalli and Koramangala are his favourite spots, but he moves locations every week.
Dude Food’s here
“People tend to think street food is not good, and not hygienic. I also never ate on the streets. So we wanted to change people’s perspective on street food,” says Sudarshan M.S., who, along with his three partners Francis Xavier, Shakeel Ahmed and Chandra Mohan, runs the food truck De3. Two of them are in the corporate world, two others are traditional businessmen. “It translates into ‘The Eatery’,” he says of the name. “Food has no equation, and we wanted to create one. We are all set to be running for the next 10 years with the best of technology in our truck; even the foreigners who live in Kammanahalli have been surprised by our setup,” claims Sudarshan. Their company United Milestone Inc. is hoping to open up restaurants in the city and this truck is their testing ground. “We have a standard set of 50 to 60 items on the menu, and we change and introduce about 10 others constantly. We have four chefs preparing the dishes in the truck.” They’ve got pastas, burgers, rolls, subs and sandwiches, and BBQ wings. Everything gets pre-prepared at their central kitchen in Hennur and rolls out by 4 p.m.; their favourite spot is Kammanahalli. At lunchtime they are around colleges.