The food truck industry is far from established here in our part of the world.
In recent years in Lahore, a handful of food trucks started out but merely a couple could survive. Though an inspired version of this popular American trend has somehow managed to hold on in the city in the form of desi Chinese being sold out of Suzuki vans. The latest entrant to try his luck in this business is Khalid Sulman with his food truck called ‘Eat Me’.
Barely two months old, this yellow illuminated truck was initially parked on M.M. Alam Road but has now moved to the adjacent Mahmood Ali Kasuri Road where it intends to stay for at least a couple of months to get noticed and develop a clientele.
The phrase ‘L.A. to Lahore’ inscribed right under the logo on the truck stares at you and you wonder if this is also one of the many foreign food chains. But no! The phrase refers to Sulman’s two-week apprenticeship at a food truck in Los Angeles from where he got the idea of the pulled-meat burgers he’s selling.
Currently offering a humble selection of five kinds of burgers, Sulman plans to not just expand the menu, but also make the food truck mobile.
The first burger I chose to try was the Beef Gourmet Burger. This thick 180g beef patty was stuffed with melted cheese and topped with sautéed mushrooms, jalapenos and gherkins, packed between fresh, soft buns. In the very first bite you realise this isn’t your ordinary beef burger – rarely do you get, might I say, an unadulterated beef patty that is pure meat; no spices or herbs to overshadow it, just some cheese for succulence, so one can truly enjoy the meat for what it is. But since our palates are used to spices, one needs to develop a taste for such a distinct burger that lets the meat shine.
Next I moved on to the Pulled Punjabi Chicken burger that had generous amount of shredded chicken combined with the usual herbs and spices and some green chilli, drizzled with an in-house sauce and topped with melted cheese. Priced at Rs420 for only the burger and Rs540 for a meal, a clean, spicy, no-fuss chicken burger this was.
Its beef version, the Pulled Punjabi Beef, was a revelation. Loads of shreds of beef mixed with herbs, spices and green chillies with a hint of a tangy in-house sauce, this one hits you with a peppery, salty punch on the very first bite. And then gradually you start relishing it till you realise it’s gone. Hard to pick my favourite from this one and the gourmet beef burger.
The remaining items on the menu are Veggie Burger and the Gourmet Chicken Burger. But while each burger had its own traits – and was neither heavy on the pocket nor the tummy, what took the cake for me were the accompanying fries in the meal that I had to order extra. Salted, crispy, crunchy, mouth-watering. One of the best in town! Decently priced, modestly presented, packed full of flavour, these burgers have the potential to be a hit provided the quality and price are maintained.
Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2017