vietnamese sandwiches, lime green street food trucks, and 70’s porn music

besides all the sxsw shenanigans and drunken reveling, it appears that my main goal here in austin is to eat myself into a street food coma. while aimly walking around south congress this morning, i randomly discovered a brand-spanking-new street food purveyor today on the corner of congress and crockett.  the ‘me so hungry’ mobile restaurant consists of an electric lime-green truck with ‘me so hungry‘ emblazoned on the side along with an alluring drawing of a scantily clad asian woman in a cheongsam minidress giving a serious come-hither look. curious about whether i might need to school some fat white redneck about propagating asian female stereotypes, i wandered over and instead met the super adorable christina and her even more super adorable mother, somchith.

christina-and-sum-chi-from-me-so-hungry

both christina and somchith were  incredibly sweet and friendly – we started chatting, and i found out that today was their third day open selling american-influenced asian fusion food. the menu included items like vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, chinese chicken fried rice, pad thai, summer spring rolls, and a choose-your-own ingredient ‘wok it out’ stir fry. i bought a barbecued pork banh mi with tender honey barbecue pork, fresh peppers, cucumber and cilantro, and an slather of sweet cilantro mayo on a buttered baguette. add a squiggle of sriracha hot sauce and you’ve got a massive torpedo stuffed full of fresh meat and veggies and sharply bright colors. assuming you manage to get it in your mouth – the sandwich is seriously ginormous – the sweet and spicy flavors joust for prominence on your tongue, with the creamy sweet mayo cutting down the fiery bite of the hot sauce.  if any adjustments were to be made, i’d suggest maybe a softer or thinner baguette to facilitate the stuffing-your-face process and make it easier to taste all the individual flavors in one bite. feast on this bit of food porn:

banh-mi-with-sweet-cilantro-mayo

while waiting for my food to be freshly prepared, i had a great time standing around and talking to christina, who has been working in food for an impressively long time considering she’s only 23. she got her start working at a sonic drive-up and was thrown into the flames at age 17 when the drive-up was robbed, the manager fired, and she was immediately called upon to step up and run shit.  she says she learned a ton about serving customers and having a ‘sense of urgency’ when providing food. girl knows how to work it – she also ran a cuban catering truck for a few years, which, along with ‘me so hungry’, speaks to her mixed cuban-vietnamese heritage.  she says someday she’d love to fuse the two sides to make asian/latin fusion food like fried rice with plantains. mmmm. sounds good to me.

while christina’s still working the management/promotion/menu-writing/cashier arm of the business, her incredibly nice mom, somchith (pronounced sum chi) mans the stove in the tiny space inside the truck. she made some straight-from-the-kitchen-to-my-eagerly-awaiting-hands-level-of-fresh summer rolls with grilled shrimp, rice vermicelli noodles, bean sprouts, romaine, and cilantro and a spicy peanut dipping sauce.

spring-rolls

check out the light sheen of the i-just-got-made wrapper – that spring roll has not been sitting in a supermarket aisle for two days and developing the hardened outer shell of a bitter three-time divorcee  – it was light, pliable, and oh-so-fresh. christina confirmed my assessment when she talked about her belief in making food to order and not letting it sit around the kitchen to quickly multiply in grossness.

i was also happy to meet somchith, who was warm and funny and told me that i looked like one of her relatives and i should come back and eat any time.  she also told me i was ‘bold’.  i don’t really know what she means, but it seemed like a super sweet mom compliment.  to top off the family friendliness,  they hooked me up with a few samples of dishes they’re working on, and i’m honored to be the first customer ever to try the chicken baow wow sandwich, described as ‘chicken shreds of goodness stirred in our sweet cilantro mayo.’  words that could have come straight out of my mouth, describing a sandwich that went straight into my mouth:

chicken-baowow-sandwich

great flavors and really delicious chicken, although my only suggestion would be perhaps a little less mayo. however, i need to remember that this cart is in texas so maybe it’s the exact right amount of mayo. i was a little confused by the name when christina mentioned that she wanted to call it something kind of sexy, but was wrestling with the baow wow because it sounded too much like they were getting a little too authentically vietnamese and serving dog in the sandwich.  about an hour later at smitty’s barbecue (yes, i got all this food while waiting for a ride to eat barbecue, because i have the appetite of an entire starting offensive line of a pro football team or something), chris realized that she was probably going for the ‘bom chicka wah wah’ sound of 70’s porn music (or the band from this frighteningly bizarre video).  hmm. how to best replicate the sound of a cheesily staged sex scene and also evoke the taste of shredded chickeny goodness in a hoagie?  (is that something one would even want do?)  i’m kind of into ‘bao chick-a wow wow’ if you’re looking for suggestions, christina.

speaking of sex and food (which i do often), i know you want to see the ‘me so hungry’ logo cause you’re dirty like that. i’ll indulge you.

me-so-hungry-sign

daaaamn, girl. she’s winking at you with her finger in her mouth like you’re covered in barbecue sauce and she is just dying to lick it off you (yeah, i had great barbecue today. more on that later. she’s also got her legs spread just enough to signal that she really wants…i don’t know, a sandwich, probably. to me, the drawing screams thai-prostitute-me-love-you-long-time-sex-slave and it wouldn’t have been my choice of decoration. however, i spent all weekend organizing a bevy of naughty schoolgirls to run around the sxsw convention center (and donned a schoolgirl outfit myself for a day), so clearly i can’t really throw stones from my glass house at food trucks with pictures of sexy ladies. we all know the captain obvious understatement of the year –  sex sells.  scantily clad women are good at making you do things like play games and buy asian fusion food.  i applaud christina and her moms for making a go of it, promoting their brand and their business however they can, and making some seriously delicious food.  i’m all about the family styles and this entrepreneurial mother-daughter business combo totally won me over.  go check it out – this smiling duo and their tasty, fresh, home-cooked food will win you over too.

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6 thoughts on “vietnamese sandwiches, lime green street food trucks, and 70’s porn music

  1. Chris says:

    I’ll second the great food and fun vibe of these guys.

    Also, you are bold. Bow chicka bow wow.

  2. dammit, Logan went back there today for lunch and they appear to have moved! We’ll have to go back to their new spot. I like your food porn shots. Texas is like Belgium – there’s never too much mayo on anything.

    BTW, you’ve been linked on their website: http://mesohungry.biz/AboutUs.html

  3. Hey girl,

    I went back to M.S.H. and you are like a rockstar there! Somchith asked where you were and when I told her you went back to Cali in preparation for a move to London she said, “No she isn’t! She’s moving here! You call her and tell her I love her and she will move here and come work with us!”

    She seemed very serious. So if you need a back up plan…

    • mei says:

      hahaha. thanks for passing on the message. i’ll go move into the electric green truck and eat banh mi all day. mmmmmmmmm. tell her i love her and her spring rolls too.

  4. Isuzu says:

    The dishes look mouth watering, I love this type of food.

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