Thursday, January 6, 2011


LOS ANGELES ( - Eight food trucks are already serving lunch on a business street in Santa Monica, Calif. Yet when India Jones Chow Truck cruises to the curb, a line forms quickly. The Dosa Truck is parked, along with two others, on the UCLA campus. Students and staff amble over to grab a dosa or samosas and walk away with their lunches. Sumant Pardal and Leena Deneroff, owners of the two businesses, respectively, serve Indian fare from their trucks at locations around Los Angeles to as many as 100 to 300 customers daily. The line, Pardal says, is sometimes 50-70 people deep. The two are among a handful of “gourmet” mobile Indian eateries in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas that are part of the food truck phenomenon that has gripped metropolitan areas across the country (USA) in the last two years.

Gourmet trucks proliferated after Kogi’s Korean Barbecue Truck became a sensation in Los Angeles. It raised the bar of street food with its Latin-Asian fusion tacos at a time when only traditional trucks roamed constructions sites and other blue-collar work areas. Creative marketing has rendered gourmet trucks hip, an experience propelled by social media that, many say, is not to be bypassed. Los Angeles, where their following is tremendous, has nearly 3,000 including 200-300 “gourmet trucks.” These are a new generation of food trucks that serve ethnic and off-beat fare; most are traditional “taco trucks” serving burgers and Mexican food. Gourmet trucks have lately grabbed a new clientele: the tech-savvy middle-class, corporate crowd and university students.

Food trucks are mostly popular in cosmopolitan urban areas such as Silver Lake, Downtown, Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Culver City and Santa Monica in Southern California. They park at different locations every day for lunch, their most important meal. On weekends, they cater to private parties or work public events that have a potential for large sales. Most menus feature street food that owners loved eating in India and traditional north Indian fare. Items are tweaked to appeal to their largely non-Indian client base, packaged niftily for easy handling, and given intriguing names. The food is mostly prepared on the truck, assembled per order and served within a couple of minutes. We love Indian food!

Recently a group of eminent doctors called the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), themselves members of the American Medical Association, have decided to change the US consciousness on human nutrition, particularly among the medical community. Armed with decades of nutritional research data, the PCRM - which is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. consisting of doctors and laypersons - frankly says: “The fact is, it is very easy to have a well-balanced diet with vegetarian foods. Vegetarian foods provide plenty of protein. Careful combining of foods is not necessary. Any normal variety of plant foods provides more than enough protein for the body’s needs. ... Excess protein has been linked to kidney stones, osteoporosis, and possibly heart disease and some cancers. A diet focused on beans, whole grains and vegetables contains adequate amounts of protein without the ‘overdose’ most meat-eaters get.”

“What Is Hinduism?” :
Chapter 43 - “The Meat-Free Life”
“Five Reasons to Be a Vegetarian &
Ten Arguments Against Eating Meat”
Hinduism Today Magazine - Himalaya Academy, India - USA - 2007

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