Our First Look: Sweet Chili Chicken in Thaietnamese Flavor

(credit: NYSF)
(credit: NYSF)

Last month we told you about yet another food truck trying to raise money on Kickstarter, although they already had the truck purchased.

In this case, the goal wasn’t even close to reached, but miracle of miracles, they were at Lent Space yesterday for their 2nd day in business. When you’re a Top Chef Finalist, there are other ways to raise money for opening.

The new food truck is named Sweet Chili. The chef and owner, Lisa Fernandes, serves what she calls Thaietnamese cuisine, which takes aspects and ingredients from both Thai and Vietnamese cuisines.

(credit: NYSF)
(credit: NYSF)

You’ve heard us complain about all the food trucks with “create your own” menus that lack imagination. You get whatever they serve in tacos, burritos or rice bowls. That’s not too original.

Sweet Chili has a “create your own” concept too, but it’s not tacos, burritos or rice bowls, and the food is very interesting.

You choose a protein and a salad, and they are served with jasmine rice for $9. We arrived late (1:30) and they were out of miso-glazed tofu, iced Vietnamese coffee and coconut candy, but we still had 3 proteins and salads to choose from.

Our main selection was Sweet Chili Chicken. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times – when a chef names their truck or restaurant after a dish, order that dish first.

The salad we chose was Green Mango Salad.

The Sweet Chili Chicken was very moist and tender, almost like it was stewed. There was a combination of white and dark meat in the dish, but it was the sauce that got our attention.

Of course there were chilies, but the sweet, spicy sauce also contained tamarind, which is one of our favorites.  Scallions were included in the dish too.

(credit: NYSF)
(credit: NYSF)

Sweet Chili describes this dish perfectly because it was definitely spicy, but had that sweet heat we enjoy so much. Scooping up some sticky jasmine rice and sweet chili chicken in the same bite worked great in balancing the heat.

Towards the end, we also got some vinegary sauce in our bites, which had come over from the mango salad. That mad each bite even more interesting.

We thought finishing with the mango salad would cool things down a bit, but we think the mango salad might have had a little kick too. At the end of the meal, it was kind of hard to tell which heat came from the sweet chili chicken and which came from the mango salad.

The tingle on our tongue lasted half the subway ride back to our office. We’re talking Canal St to Columbus Circle on the A train, not a short distance. Lovely!

Speaking of the mango salad, it had julienned mango and jicama, along with Vietnamese nuoc cham sauce and chili salt. Even though there was a little spiciness in the mango salad, it was still a refreshing counterpoint to the sweet chili chicken.

(credit: NYSF)
(credit: NYSF)

We really enjoyed lunch at Sweet Chili, and look forward to trying their other dishes. To clarify, the spiciness of the meal wasn’t overwhelming or brutal. It was a moderate heat, but had some lasting power.

Lisa told us they will be at Lent Space (aka Hudson Square Food Truck Lot) Tuesdays and Fridays. They are still working out their schedule, so we put in a plug for Mondays on Broadway between 55th-56th St. Here’s hoping!

You can follow the Sweet Chili food truck on twitter here and on our Mobile Munchies twitter feed. Their website is here and facebook is here.

In our opinion, Sweet Chili is one of the better food trucks to hit the street in 2013. Give them a try and we think you’ll agree.

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