Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Battle of the Food Trucks!!

It's Japadog vs. Mariscos 4 Vientos, folks!


Japadog is Vancouver's answer to merging the Japanese culture that is so prominent in the city to a good ol' American Favorite - the Hot Dog!

Mariscos 4 Vientos is in the heart of LA and has their own unique Mexican offerings.  Which will win?  

We had a sampling of items at each truck, but I will highlight the best items and pit them against one another.  

So we start with the Yakisoba Japadog.  All of the Japadogs start with the base of a plump and juicy hot dog nestled in a soft white flour bun.  It's how they finish it off that adds the Japanese flair.  In this case, Yakisoba is layered on top, much like one would with sauerkraut, perhaps.  Yakisoba is Japan's fried buckwheat noodle dish.  It's a classic, and I spent just slightly less time in the Yakisoba shops as a student in Japan than I did in the Ramen houses I called my second home.

Here, the hot dog rivals those of New York, dare I say, even more satisfying because of its sheer size and flavorful drippings that shoot out the moment the taut skin is broken by a diner's incisor slicing through it.  And then it gets thrown down by the Asian intruder that seems to mollify the invasion and they both finally meld together into something uniquely, head-tiltingly, strangely as if they belonged together all along.  A happy fusion.

Ah, but then there is this shrimp taco dream.  I was hanging out in LA with my cousin Jake and his fam when he said, "We gotta go get this shrimp taco."  My cousin is a sales guy in LA and he does a lot of driving around, and the dude likes to eat.  I know, it runs in the family.  So without a second's hesitation, we were off, picking our way through the LA traffic for a $1.75 Shrimp Taco that he insisted all along the way was unlike any other shrimp taco I had ever had.  And indeed, he was correct.

Upon laying eyes on this smothered wonderment, I immediately thought, oh great, the whole taco is soaked in salsa.  I can't STAND soggy edibles that should be crunchy.  I was already slightly disappointed.  Underneath the salsa was a layer of sliced avocado shingled atop the taco.  And then there was this blackness on the inside.  Boy, they sure did fry the hell out of this whole thing!  And THEN I thought - how is someone supposed to eat this saturated mess?

I gingerly pinched the shell on one side and lifted, hopeful.  Amazingly, the whole thing rose.  The shell was structurally intact which promised a crispiness that I had written off.  I took a bite and it was absolutely, sublimely crunchy, while the tender minced shrimp concoction delightfully seasoned the tastebuds with its fullness.  Oh DANG this thing was good!  The disappointment I initially felt was buoyed into sheer happiness and gastronomic satisfaction.

So which one is better?  Eric would say he would rather go back to Japadog simply because it's so rare.  But in reminding him that it's not about availability, but taste, he would still go with Japadog.  I, on the other hand, was a hung jury as I thought about documenting this battle in my blog.  However, as I write this post, I have an intense craving for Mariscos' Shrimp Taco experience.  And so I must give it the edge for continuing to make such an impression.  

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