Chow Town

Food Truck Friday is back! With 14 trucks and just 100 bowls of chicken pho

Bochi among trucks headed to The Star's first 2017 Food Truck Friday event

With everything from slab bacon and grits to wild salmon with ratatouille and aioli foam, it can hard to know where to start. But if you want a steaming bowl of limited-quantity chicken pho with smoked beef brisket, jump in line at Bochi Truck. Xi
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With everything from slab bacon and grits to wild salmon with ratatouille and aioli foam, it can hard to know where to start. But if you want a steaming bowl of limited-quantity chicken pho with smoked beef brisket, jump in line at Bochi Truck. Xi

The Star’s 2017 Food Truck Friday will be bigger and better when it kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday.

With everything from slab bacon and grits to wild salmon with ratatouille and aioli foam, it can be hard to know where to start. But if you want a steaming bowl of limited-quantity chicken pho with smoked beef brisket, jump in line at Bochi.

Xiong Chang is owner of the popular 4-year-old Asian-fusion food truck. He plans to offer 100 bowls of Vietnamese noodle soup pho (pronounced FUH).

Bochi is best-known for its signature rice-stuffed, boneless, deep-fried chicken wings served with a colorful Asian cabbage slaw made with pickled carrots, soy sauce and Kewpie, a mayo brand beloved in Japan.

Chang taught himself to debone the wings. At first it took him 5 minutes per bone, but he has become so adept it now takes him about 30 seconds. But he wondered what to do with the leftover piles of meaty chicken bones.

Chang, who recently returned from a visit to the famed night markets in Taiwan, decided to upcycle: “I’d used the bones to make pho at home, and my wife said, ‘This is good. You should sell it on the truck.’ 

Chang adds blanched rice noodles and tops the soup with pecan wood-smoked brisket rubbed with Chinese five spice and star anise. He adds a garnish of red and green onions, fried shallots, beans sprouts, cilantro and fresh basil. The hearty bowl sells for $12.

Diners can dig into the bowl, which is compostable, with chopsticks or a fork. But don’t be shy about tipping the bowl and slurping the broth.

If you do miss out on the pho, go for the wings.


Beauty of the Bistro

Roast on Rye, $7

Beauty of the Bistro owner Sidney Fish has been on the road since the gourmet food truck movement first hit the streets of KC. A regular at Food Truck Friday, she’s bringing back the catchy Roast on Rye. “We have had many requests for it recently,” she says via email.

The Instagram-able deli-style sandwich features thin-sliced roast beef with provolone, fresh spinach and artichoke aioli on marble rye. It’s great served cold or grilled on the truck’s panini press.


Cirque du Sucre

French Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches, $5.50 each

Natasha Goellner is the ringmaster of Cirque du Sucre, French for “circus of sugar.”

The classically trained pastry chef offers an array of confections and baked goods from her pastel-striped truck. For Food Truck Friday, she’ll be featuring her riff on the classic ice cream sandwich: handmade ice creams in a variety of gourmet flavors sandwiched between light and airy French macarons.

A quest for a traditional banana split while on a date got Goellner thinking about opening a food truck after several years and locations with her bakery Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott. Last summer, instead of opening an ice cream parlor, Goellner and her mother/business partner Vicki decided to hit the road.


ChickHoovenSwine BBQ

Pulled Pork Trash Can BBQ Nachos, $8

Eric Westervelt of Spring Hill started in barbecue competitions in 2005 under the team name ChickHoovenSwine. Five years later he started a barbecue food truck and catering service with the motto: “Where Championship BBQ Meats the Streets.”

Westervelt’s nachos include tortilla chips, nacho cheese sauce, a choice of pulled pork or smoked brisket and — wait for the kicker — they’re topped with cheesy corn.

He’ll also have burnt ends — a quintessential Kansas City favorite — on the menu.


CoffeeCake KC

Latte and frappe specials, $4-$4.50

For Food Truck Friday, CoffeeCake KC’s Michelle Ferguson and her business partner, Kimberly Niebaum, will be offering two latte specials: Peanut Butter and Jelly Latte and Oatmeal Cookie. And two frappe specials: Green Tea and Fudgsicle.

“The lattes are wonderful, but the frappes are kind of my favorite thing right now. Especially the Green Tea. It’s sweet and refreshing with a light green tea flavor. It’s great with almond milk,” Ferguson says via email.

“The Fudgsicle frappe really tastes like the frozen treat, and it takes add-in flavors really well. Try it with peanut butter, peppermint or raspberry.”

Also onboard: Pink Champagne and Carrot Cake cupcakes by Overland Park-based bakery 3 Women and an Oven.


Crave KC

Chicken Fusion Tacos, $3.25 each or 3 for $9

Street tacos are a popular food truck item. So what keeps fans coming back to Crave KC year in, year out?

The Chicken Fusion Tacos — a winning mashup of a toasted flour tortilla with melted cheddar jack cheese, marinated grilled chicken breast, salsa and Asian slaw drizzled with peanut sauce, all topped with pico de gallo.

“It’s our best-seller because it’s different,” Chris Ireland told The Star last year.


El Tenedor

Hojaldre de Salmon (Wild Salmon Over Puff Pastry With Ratatouille and Aioli Foam), $12

When El Tenedor chef Carmen Cabia had some leftover puff pastry in her refrigerator, she started experimenting and wound up creating a pastry stuffed with the French vegetable stew known as ratatouille and topped it with grilled salmon. She then uses an ISI whipper equipped with a nitrous canister to create an aioli foam garnish.

“I love ratatouille,” says Cabia, a native of Catalan in Spain. “I eat ratatouille with eggs, with fish, with rice.”

She introduced the dish to her menu at last year’s final Food Truck Friday, and it developed a cult following. It’s delicious anytime, but is perfect for anyone observing Lent. Cabia is also in the process of adding a third truck to her popular fleet


KC Pinoy

Sisig, $10

KC Pinoy hit the streets last spring. Owner Chrissy Nucum features traditional street foods from the Philippines.

“Pinoy” is an affectionate term for the people of the Southeast Asian country made up of more than 7,000 islands.

Nucum will be featuring traditional sisig, a dish that translates to “snack on something sour.” The hearty, rustic dish of grilled, diced pork shoulder and pig ears is finished with a citrus sauce that has a hint of spice. “(It’s) perfect with a fried egg on top,” Nucum says in an email.

Nucum’s food is comforting, but notice the whimsical carved carrot petals and other garnishes she adds to her dishes.


Little Italy

Meatball sub, $7.50, and calzones, $8

They say good things come in threes, but two seems to be a lucky number for Little Italy, a food truck featuring images of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Colosseum.

Owner Michelle and Jeff Franke own two food trucks, Little Italy and Street Wings, which alternate throughout the season at Food Truck Friday events.

This year at Food Truck Friday, they’re offering two new menu items: a toasted meatball sub and a mighty fine looking calzone.


Monk’s Roast Beef

The Big Royal, $8

Monk’s Roast Beef is owned by Ken DeBenedictis and features, yes, “killer roast beef sandwiches.” But also poutine, a French-Canadian specialty featuring french fries topped with cheese curds and a hearty ladle of brown gravy.

Now, Monk’s has created a delicious hybrid of the two: The Big Royal features slow-cooked, thin-sliced, tender roast beef laid on a layer of french fries, provolone cheese and drizzled with homemade brown gravy. It’s served on a butter crisp, seeded roll.

DeBenedictis calls it “Sunday dinner on a bun.”


Moose Truck

Slab Bacon and Grits, $8

Moose Truck is a roving extension of the popular brick-and-mortar Blue Moose by KC Hopps with locations in Lenexa, Prairie Village and Overland Park.

In recent years, Moose Truck has been adding weddings and other private functions to its busy docket.

On Friday, chefs will be whipping up chili- and coffee-rubbed slab bacon served atop a white cheddar cheese grit cake with tomato-bacon jam and a red-eye port wine sauce.


Pie Hole

Brisket Sausage Roll, $4

Pie Hole specializes in Australian meat pies.

“We’ve decided to debut our brisket sausage roll to celebrate the kickoff of Food Truck Friday,” write stay-at-home dads, neighbors and food truck co-owners Chris Knowles (an Aussie) and his business partner Tim Moore via email. “At $4 this delight packs quite the punch to one’s hunger!”

The sausage rolls contain ground pork, 12-hour smoked brisket and a bit of onion wrapped in buttery “blanket-y” layers of puff pastry.

Torched Goodness

Creme Brulee, $4-$5

There are single-subject cookbooks on meatballs or ramen. So why not a dessert truck that serves only creme brulee?


Lawrence-based Torched Goodness, owned by Julia and Eric Ireland, specializes in the rich, custard-and-egg pudding with a sugar topping. The sugar is set ablaze with a blow torch to create a crust hard enough to crack — even with a plastic spoon.

Flavors include traditional vanilla, sea salt caramel, chocolate and more. Toppings: toasted coconut, Oreos, s’mores, salted caramel sauce.


Wilma’s Real Good Food

Wilma’s Pork Belly Slider ($8)

Brett Atkinson of Wilma’s Real Good Food is a culinary thrill seeker.

Over his many years at Food Truck Friday, he has featured a series of memorable specials, including Redneck Sushi, Fried Chicken Salad Po’ Boys, Bone Marrow and Lobster Croquette and, last year’s sensation, the Meat Pickle, aka “a reverse-engineered cheeseburger.” (Last year, he showed us how to make one.)

For The Star’s kickoff, he’ll have braised pork belly covered in a maple-praline glaze accompanied by a Napa cabbage sesame slaw.

Food Truck Friday at The Star

Our kickoff Food Truck Friday of 2017 will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 7.

This year marks our seventh season hosting the popular event, and we’ve invited more trucks, representing more cuisines, than ever before. For April, there will be 14 trucks offering a curated list of treats, sweets and fun eats. The lineup will change with each event.

Our hand-picked, chef-driven trucks will be parked inside our parking lot at 18th and McGee and around the southern perimeter of the building.

Food editor Jill Silva will also be hosting a Chow Town Live! Facebook Live show at 4:30 p.m., so if you can, stop by to learn more about the stories behind the unique menu items.

Ollie’s Local will be tending bar and there will be live music by the School of Rock, a music school. You can also make a food or money donation or sign up for volunteer activities with Harvesters.

Can’t make it this week? Save these future Food Truck Friday dates: May 5, June 2, Sept. 1, Oct. 6 and Nov. 3.