I was contacted out of the blue by Akash Kapoor, of Curry Up Now, a new Indian taco truck based in Burlingame, Calif. (near SFO airport, in San Mateo County). I haven’t had the pleasure yet of trying its wares, but boy does it sound good!
1) What’s Curry Up Now all about? How’d you get started? What’s your background in food/cooking/eating?
Curry Up Now is essentially authentic Indian street food served on the street, where it belongs. We have mixed in some burritos and tacos in the menu to keep the spirit of a lonchera.
We originally thought about this 10 years ago but other business interests kept us from getting started. Seeing the success of Kogi and other ethnic trucks in SoCal, rekindled the idea and three to four months later, here we are. We have absolutely no background in the food business. We are foodies who have a passion for cooking and sharing.
2) What trucks have been your inspiration? Why start a truck, anyway? What are your favorite local trucks and why?
The success of Kogi and other trucks in LA have been a huge inspiration.
Since our focus is Indian street food, we wanted it to be just that, street food served from a truck.
Believe it or not, we haven’t eaten from a truck, local or anywhere else as yet. One of our associates tried the Kung Fu taco truck in the city and had good things to say about them. I plan on visiting them, Liba SF and El Tonayense soon.
3) What’s been the permit process like? I see you’re operating in San Mateo County, not San Francisco. Is that any easier/harder? Is that a deliberate decision?
The permit process has been brutal. The San Mateo County permit was a breeze but most Peninsula cities have been unwelcoming. This is due to unlicensed trucks all over El Camino Real from Daly City to Mountain View. However, we are hoping Burlingame, Foster City and Belmont will work things out with us. Burlingame has been most helpful and have allowed us to be out on a weekend to weekend basis as of now. We should have the Redwood City permit in a few days as well.
Our truck is in the shop this week to be readied for Santa Clara and San Francisco permits. We will be in the city and South Bay within 3 weeks. We wanted to start with the Peninsula and have a truck each in the city, South & East Bay.
4) What’s the best thing on your menu? How did you come up with these specific items? How does what you’re offering differ from traditional Indian street food?
I’d say the chicken kathi, deconstructed samosa with meat & chana and the doubles (from Trinidad & Tobago). The chicken kathi was inspired by frequent visits to Nizam’s, Kolkatta as a kid but we have changed it a little bit. A few people in the family prefer the samosa shell to the filling, thus was born the deconstructed samosa topped with meat keema. We remove the filling from the shell, top it off with chana, meat keema, onions, jalapenos, tamarind & mint/coriander chutney. Doubles is basically chana bhatura Trindiad & Tobago style. chana bhatura figures in the top five favorite Indian street foods and we had to have this on the truck even though its a pain to make on the truck. We have tried to keep this as trini as possible and have been pleasantly surprised with the response. Since the deconstructed samosa is a home grown recipe, I would rate it as the best thing on the menu and it tastes amazing to boot.
Our food is traditional and authentic Indian Street food, however, we have ‘taco truckized’ the menu with burritos and tacos. We will be featuring a curry from a different region of India each month as well.
5) Thums Up or Limca?
None, Pepsi 0 . We will have Limca & Thums Up on the truck along with mango lassi and mint lemonade.
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