When’s the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone to try a new food? I’m sure I have driven past the Hunger Force Mobile Kitchen food truck parked on Mattis Avenue, since I work less than a mile away, but it barely registered on my radar. It’s not something I would have gravitated to on my own without this assignment. Writing for Smile Politely has allowed me to push my own boundaries.
One non-edible aspect of any business I appreciate is a quality online presence. Hunger Force is on Facebook and posts regular updates with locations and specials. They also respond to direct messages quickly and politely. The staff is very friendly and accommodating both online and in person. I contacted the Facebook page to ask when they would be arriving that day and had a response within minutes.
The menu is simple. Most days your main options are fried rice or pancit, served with your choice of meat. They offer small and large meals, each served with an egg roll. You may also order egg rolls a la carte, which I recommend because you will want more. We decided to sample shrimp pancit, chicken fried rice, egg rolls, and a special dessert egg roll.
Pancit is a Filipino noodle dish that features very thin noodles served up with meat (in our case, shrimp), accompanied by shredded carrots, cabbage, and green beans. The overall flavor was a comforting combination of saltiness and sesame. The lime wedge squeeze added a nice freshness to the seafood flavor as well. The shrimp were tiny and somewhat scarce, but plump and tender. I wish there had been more, but the noodles and veggies were tasty on their own after I devoured those little sea creatures.
Chicken fried rice served up both quality and quantity! A small felt like enough for two adults when coupled with egg rolls. I was really impressed with this dish, it tasted exactly how I imagined chicken fried rice should taste. The rice was perfect, cooked just right with a bit of firmness from frying it up. Firm enough to keep the grains from sticking together but not so firm as to be crunchy. The rice was fried with shredded chicken, peas, corn, green onions, and finely minced onions. Overall the dish was peppery, playful, and perfectly balanced.
The egg rolls were deceptively tasty, and presented in a tightly wrapped, perfectly fried, crispy, golden wrapper and filled with a peppery sausage mixed with shredded carrots, cabbage, and onion. It was a bit greasy, but that did not stop me from eating every last bite. In fact, I ate one and enjoyed it but decided I didn’t need to eat both...however the next thing I knew I was polishing off my second egg roll anyway. Paired with their sweet and sour sauce, it was a lovely complement to the meal.
As if I hadn’t eaten enough egg rolls, I had to try the dessert egg rolls as well. The same egg roll wrapper was filled with fresh bananas and jackfruit, then deep fried to a golden crisp. It was crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside. It had a whimsical flavor that wasn’t overly sweet. Topped with a light chocolate drizzle and a bit of powdered sugar that added just the right amount of sweetness, it was a delicious way to end the meal.
Hunger Force Mobile Kitchen (HFMK) is often parked in the Westchester Center parking lot, located near Mattis and Bradley across from the employee entrance to Kraft (but check their Facebook page for updates, or contact them directly if you’re not sure). It’s a large orange and yellow RV which you might mistake for a certain hot-dog looking vehicle if you don’t look closely. However HFMK has their custom logo painted on both sides, a play on a popular adult cartoon with a similar sounding name. The aesthetic is fun and inviting. They even set out a folding table and chairs underneath the shade of a nearby tree so you can sit comfortably if you want to eat on site.
In conclusion, a food truck I hadn’t even noticed near my work is now at the top of the lunch go-to list (you hear that, Parkland and Kraft people?). Friendly service, quality food, and an ambiance that is surprisingly charming for a food truck parked in a nondescript lot.
Hunger Force Mobile Kitchen
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Photos by Sarah Meilike