A breezy evening and a lawn full of people crowding around trucks and stalls, while the earth reverberated with music, was what the Chennai Food Truck and Music festival all about. A two-day event organized by Chennai Food Guide at the VGP Universal Kingdom saw 13 food trucks from all over the city come together along with 30 other food stall to give the people of Chennai a good dose of the ‘food truck trend’ that is already popular in other parts of the world. This was Chennai’s first food truck festival and it took four months to plan and execute the event, say the organizers.
A platform for emerging food trucks
” The response was tremendous even before the event began. We did not want the usual food fest environment with tables and chairs. We wanted the people to come, sit on the grass, enjoy the food and relax and that was why we chose this venue,” says K N Karthikeyan, from Chennai Food Guide. “Chennai is seeing a lot of food trucks emerging in the past few months and it’s their passion towards food and hard work that keeps them running. We wanted to give these guys a platform to see if there’s a bigger opportunity in store for such a concept here,” he added.
The event also saw the launch of a couple food trucks like Wagon 007, a cart with a ‘chicken in a waffle cone’ concept and FoodVandi.com, a concept of selling biryani in a cart. Among the stalls, there were Sun Sand Saivam that served vegetarian coastal food, Boganvilla Patisserie and Café that sold desserts and pastries, FoodKart that sold varieties of sizzlers and Idli Dosa Factory which dished out pure veg varieties of idlis and dosas.
The west to the south
Speaking to Barath from The Tickle Truck, one of the most popular trucks in the event, he says that he and his partners Jesvin Prabu and Shanmuga Pandian wanted to bring to Chennai the concept of the ice cream truck, something that Chennaiites have only been seeing in movies. “When we decided on ice creams, we felt that parlors are too mainstream so we went for the truck. We’ve incorporated spicy and salty flavors into our ice creams which is something that turns heads and the response has been tremendous, especially with a lot of repeat customers coming back for more and giving great feedback,” says Barath.
Southish, a food truck by SPI Cinemas sold traditional South Indian fare from your basic idlis and dosas to popular snacks like the crunchy Keerai Vadai and summer drinks like Rose Milk with sabja seeds. “We’re just about three to four months old and we focus on authentic south Indian cuisine like the name says,” says Chef Muthukumar from Southish.
“Purely for the experience”
Sunny Bee had its truck as well, selling farm-fresh fruits and vegetable that are sourced directly from farmers all over India. There was also a stall by Parikshan, a food safety service that had experts demonstrating the methods by which food can be tested for adulteration. Burmese delicacies like atho, Arabian dishes like grills and kebabs, barbeques, ice cream rolls, waffles, gourmet teas, you name it and the event had it. It was a delight to feast on so many varied dishes in the same spot and the lively music by popular bands and a live DJ make the evening all the more upbeat and worthy of a weekend.
“People have come purely for the experience. We have made entry free for those who visit because the idea behind the event was not to make money but to see how many people we could bring in to tell them that such food trucks exist and to help the guys with the food trucks to see how they can take their businesses to the next level,” says Karthikeyan who hopes to make the festival a yearly event, only bigger and better.