What a difference from last month's experience, where I spent a month trying to win over my Grouchy Chef (by the way, I took the hat he gave me to Singapore and took a photo...a true test of whether or not he likes me will be if he posts it in the restaurant! To be continued...).
As Kamala and I started talking we quickly found a connection. Like most stories go when they relate to connections with Hawaii, we found our link immediately. Turns out Kamala grew up in Aiea, Hawaii, which is where my family farm is located. We discovered that her grandparents were friends with my grandparents, and she remembers running through the watercress fields as a kid. It was as if our paths were meant to cross.
My article is a little teaser to the many posts to come relating to our amazing, food-fantastic extravaganza in Singapore. I hope you enjoy it!
Emi's Eats: Marination Mobile
In Singapore, it is hard to walk a block and not run into a hawker centre—a large, open air market that houses dozens of street vendors, all offering delicious bites for less than $3 a pop. The aroma that envelopes you is a food lover’s dream: spicy Indian soups stewing in what looks like a witch’s cauldron; fish steamed in grilled banana leaves; pork, both barbequed and roasted, hanging from hooks and ready to be topped over fragrant jasmine rice; fresh lime juice, that is both sweet and refreshingly tangy.
My recent trip to Singapore left me with a deep hunger for street food. Luckily, Seattle is home to a world class food truck where I can get my fix, and for a couple of instant gratification moments, drift back to my gluttonous and heavenly trip to Singapore.
Voted “Best Food Truck in America” by ABC’s Good Morning America, recently Zagat rated, and featured in nearly every national and local news outlet and magazine, Marination Mobile has truly differentiated itself from the growing fleet of food trucks that are taking over America.
My first bite at Marination Mobile was on a rain drenched day. Despite the dreadful weather, there was a line nearly fifteen people deep that was constantly replenished with hungry customers throughout the lunch hour. Between my husband and me, we shared a kalbi taco, spicy pork taco, kalua pork slider and a spam slider. This $8 meal ended up being the highlight of our day, far surpassing the meal we later had that evening that was ten times more expensive.
Kamala Saxton and her business partner Roz Edison are all about serving their customers an all around good value. Their delicious bites are served up by a friendly crew that makes you feel like you are grabbing lunch from your friend’s kitchen, not a hugely popular truck that serves over 200 customers a day.
“If you don’t love people, don’t get in the street food business,” Kamala tells me sincerely when we meet at Marination Mobile’s kitchen in Seward Park. While their food itself warrants an official Fan Club, it is their service that also brings the masses back for more. Kamala tells me her passion for the business lies in service: serving families and kids, serving communities. It is the age old act of “breaking bread” with your neighbors, “I get to break bread with 200 people a day.”
And this number will grow when they open their new brick and mortar shop this summer in Capitol Hill. Fans of the truck, who loyally show up at the many lunchtime locations around Seattle will now be able to feast on spam sliders that transform ordinary “lunch meat” into something holy for dinner, too.
What makes these sliders, and all of Marination Mobile’s offerings so unique is their secret sauce, which Kamala tells me is probably one of the most expensive sauces in the taco truck industry. Developed by a trained chef and friend who helped to start the business, it is the rich and creamy binding agent that brings the diverse Korean/Hawaiian flavors together in a harmonious blend. It is this perfect combination of great service and great food that makes Marination Mobile such a well-oiled machine.
So as my Singapore jetlag wears off, and I return to the daily grind of Seattle life with a coffee in hand and a light rain jacket on, I find great pleasure in knowing that I can stop by Marination Mobile for my street-food fix. And at the end of the day, Marination Mobile and all that Seattle offers, is a reminder that while you can travel the world over, there is no place like home.
What are your favorite eats from travels abroad? Share them with me at twitter.com/EmisEats or EmisEats@napost.com.
You can find Marination Mobile by visiting marinationmobile.com or twitter.com/curb_cuisine. Catering available.