Falling for food trucks: part two

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

For Lonely Planet’s latest book, they’ve persuaded some of the world’s most creative food truck chefs to share their recipes so that you can make them at home. From Indian-inspired paneer poutine to Lebanese spiced-chicken msakhan, the dishes feature everything from classics and family recipes to fusion concoctions inspired by travel experiences. Something they all have in common: they are very popular with a crowd.

We’ve teamed up with the travel bible to let you in on two of the world’s tastiest food truck dishes: Hawaiian garlic shrimp and Martín Argentino (aka an Argentine sandwich).

So what are you waiting for? Go on, truck in!

Hawaiian garlic shrimp with rice & okinawan vegetables

Kouri shrimp, credit: Lonely Planet


Blown away by Kouri Island’s ocean views, Yumiko Omine and Mimi Kojima moved here from Tokyo to open Kouri Shrimp in 2014. ‘It was love at first sight,’ Mimi says.

Observing the climate’s similarity to Oahu Island, they decided on Hawaiian-inspired shrimp served with rice and a side of Okinawan vegetables as their speciality. “We thought the dish could be familiar, but new”, Mimi adds.

The pink and blue-green truck sits in a parking lot steps from the beach where it meets Kouri Bridge, a 2km connection that leads to the mainland.

Kouri Shrimp’s menu includes four kinds of garlic shrimp, thinly sliced French fries and a side of Onaha beef, but the original garlic shrimp plate remains king of the truck. Pairing their juicy, seasoned crustaceans with a canned Hawaiian Sun or a cold beer, visitors can enjoy their meal with the crystal waters crashing at their feet.

How to make it



7–8 pieces of shrimp

1 tbs flour

3 tbs olive oil

3 tbs crushed garlic

1 tbs vinegar

1–2 tbs rock salt

Pinch of ground black pepper

1 tbs mixed herbs

125g (41/4oz) cooked rice

1 tbs soy sauce

For the accompaniments (optional)

Thinly sliced red onion

1 slice of goya (sometimes called Okinawan bitter melon)

1 slice of lemon

1 slice of corn on the cob

Okinawan sweet potato chips


  1. Prepare the shrimp by washing them and butterflying each one with a sharp knife. Leave the shrimp in cold water until ready to cook, then drain well, so the shrimp are as dry as possible.
  2. Dredge the dried shrimp through a thin layer of flour.
  3. Heat the olive oil and 2 tbs of the garlic in a large wok or skillet over medium heat, then add the shrimp and fry for 1–2 minutes until pink and slightly crispy.
  4. Add the vinegar, salt, pepper, herbs and remaining garlic and toss to combine.
  5. Serve the rice on to a plate, sprinkle with soy sauce and top with the shrimp and all the seasonings in the pan.
  6. Serve with your choice of accompaniments.

Martín Argentino

(Argentine sandwich)

Make mine a Martín Argentino, credit: Lonely Planet


Having spent five years in New York studying at The Culinary Institute of America and putting her lessons into practice at the likes of Eataly and Rouge Tomate, Sandra Millan found inspiration on the streets of the Big Apple. “It was a time when the food trucks were booming”, notes the chef.

After graduating, the native Colombian returned to Bogotá, where she opened her own food truck, El Vagabundo. Using local ingredients, the menu features flavours from around the world.

Easy to eat on the go, the variety of sandwiches brings new gastronomic experiences in a familiar package. From ‘Martin,’ a ciabatta stuffed with Argentine influences, to ‘Kim,’ a pork bahn-mi full of sweet and tangy layers so typical of the Vietnamese classic, El Vagabundo takes eaters on a sensory tour around the globe.

Regularly parked inside the US Embassy in Bogotá, El Vagabundo can also be found at various events citywide.

How to make it



1 tbs vegetable oil

1 tbs butter

1/2 white or yellow onion, peeled & thinly sliced

Pinch of salt

1 ciabatta roll

1/2 roasted pepper, drained and sliced

150g (5oz) flank steak

2 tbs chimichurri

2 slices of Gouda

Plantain or yuca chips, to serve

Suero costeño (or sour cream), to serve


1. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan over a low-medium heat, add the onions and salt and cook slowly for 20–25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelised.

2. Meanwhile, warm the ciabatta roll in the oven, then slice in half.

3. Add the pepper to the onions and heat through.

4. Heat a grill pan or skillet on high until on the verge of smoking. Reduce the heat to medium-high and place the steak on the pan. Cook for 3 minutes on each side for a medium finish, then remove from the pan and leave to rest for 5–7 minutes.

5. Thinly slice the steak, then place on one half of ciabatta. Top with the onions, pepper, chimichurri and gouda. Place the remaining ciabatta half on top.

6. Serve with plantain or yuca chips and suero costeño, a traditional sauce likened to sour cream that originates from the Colombian coast.

Reproduced with permission from Lonely Planet © 2019

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