Melbourne, the food capital of Australia, where multi-cultural cuisines reign supreme. You've arrived at a food blog where good food has no boundaries - be it restaurants, cafes, takeaway joints and any other eating places. Recipes to try out with successes and failures blogged to no shame. The focus is on authentic Asian (Singapore) food found right here in the heart of Melbourne. Just remember, the best dining experience could surprise your tastebuds when you least expect it. Get ready to be surprised on my food journey. Bon Appétit!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gumbo Kitchen Food Truck Review

Gumbo Kitchen Food Truck

The culinary scene in Australia has been shifting to a very interesting and multi-adaptational dynamic in the last decade. It has certainly been exciting to be partaking as an indulgent audience to all it has to offer. The latest to hit the streets (literally) is mobile dining. 

Street food now has kerb appeal in Melbourne. We are not talking about dodgy kebab vans in the wee hours of the night or the run of the mill Four and Twenty pies at the footy. No, this movement was kick-started by young culinary hipsters serving actual good food. Riding the Mexican wave in Melbourne right now, you got Taco Truck peddling delicious soft tacos quick smart. Burger joint on the go Beatbox Kitchen has people singing patty praises. But the one I'm talking about today is Gumbo Kitchen serving N'awleans (New Orleans, people) tucker. 

Look, I'm as guilty as anyone taking the easy way out and buying the instant gumbo packs and yellow rice from the USA Food Store in Moorabbin. Been cheating for years with these easy to make packs. But here we are on a Saturday arvo, out in the northern 'burbs of Brunswick, where council restrictions are more generous than most. 

The line was not terribly long although the waiting took about 20 or so minutes after the order was placed. Nice friendly blokes manned the stand. If you are looking for a cheap bite, beat it. Prices are right up there with the cafes.
 

I definitely came with the intention of having some gumbo and the soft shell crab PO' Boy (Louisiana roll with meat fillings usually). 


Chicken and Sausage Gumbo $12





The winter air was slightly chilly but not biting. So a good gumbo was really a treat. My expectations were average so I was pleasantly surprised the gumbo was served piping hot and really full of flavour. 

The rice was commendably fluffy and light (trust me, I've eaten plenty of rice in my time). What's interesting is the texture and fluffiness reminded me of basmati rice but the actual grain is medium. It also soaked up the gumbo sauce so beautifully (yes, aware this is the most overused word in Masterchef). 

The chicken pieces were tender and the chorizo was, well, chorizo. The flavours from the gumbo packs a satisfying punch, probably more than I expected but not overpowering. It had a few layers of appetising tastes. From a rich but soupy texture to a very mild hint of spiciness and ends on a slight tint of acidity, which leaves you wanting more.





Soft Shell Crab PO' Boy $15
I was for sure torn between the Fried Cajun Shrimp and the Soft Shell Crab PO' Boys, but soft shell crab wins any day for me. At first I was disappointed at the thick tempura appearance of the batter, but one bite was enough to convince the converted.

The bread roll was crusty but thin on the outside and soft and airy inside. Fans of the Viet Hot Bread rolls rejoice. The thickish batter on the soft shell crab was accompanied perfectly with a dash of the Louisiana hot sauce. The biting kick of the hot sauce cuts through the deep fried floury coat and in fact provided perfect fodder without overtaking the essential taste of the sea you get in soft shell crab. 

Combined, the textures all worked well together. The batter might have a lack of crunch but it did not have to be as the soft shell crab was all pleasant crunch on its own.  Biting into the roll in one mouthful trying to encapsulate as much as the filling and roll as possible, the sensation of juicy goodness from the crab, the zest from the sauce and the chewiness of the bread were enough to lift one's spirits. 


Now I wasn't planning on dessert. But what's the point of having a Southern meal without finishing with sweets, especially pies for which the Southerners are famous for (I geddit, we are not in the US but let's stay in the moment here shall we?). 

I can assure you this Lemon Icebox Pie is far from the shitty chocolate pie Minnie served her evil bitch mistress in The Help. And even so that pie tasted great.

The crust at the bottom was a bit too thick but the lemon curd was zesty with such strong citrus flavour it went so well with the crumble. It would be marvellous served without the bottom crust in a glass with just the lemon curd and crumble on top.

Lemon Icebox Pie $4

 Conveniently located next to Gumbo Kitchen was another Texan Southern specialty, BBQ. The moment we got there, S zoomed straight in for Smokin' Barrys. The smell of the barbie so headying, he has trouble remembering his name. Men *insert rolled-eyes icon and putting-men-in-a-stereotype icon here*

Considering he had 2 racks of melt-off-the-bone racks of pork ribs the night before, S went for the nachos with spicy salsa, avocado, grated cheese, pulled pork and beef brisket. 

Forget the superlatives, it was quite simply GOOOOOOOD!

Nachos with the LOT $10
Snow Ice Mango Dessert $8.90

To finish off our icecapade, S (I swear not I) insisted we popped into this Asian joint called Dessert Story on Little Bourke St in the CBD for this snow ice mango dessert.  

We've tried this place once before in Glen Waverley after yum cha and S was fascinated by the texture of the ice mountain. Weirdly it really isn't like shaved ice although it is. It's like frozen milk grated to the finest of snowflake texture and drenched in mango juice and puree with pieces of mango for good measure. 

Therein ends the small food crawl on an early Saturday afternoon.

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