Restaurant: JJ’s Trucketeria
Last Visited: February 9, 2013
Location: Vancouver, BC (Sunset/Punjabi Market)
Address: Fraser St At East 43rd Ave
Transit: NB Fraser St FS E 41 Av
Phone: (778) 898-1419
Price Range: $10 or less
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!
Food: 4.5, based on what I tried
- Since 2012
- Busy at peak hours
- Asian inspired menu
- Local ingredients
- Generous portions
- Very affordable
- Vegetarian options
- Vegan options
- Family friendly
- Budget friendly/cheap eats
- For locations/hours: @jjstrucketeria
**Recommendations: Filipino BBQ Pork Panwich with fried egg, “GFR” (Garlic Fried Rice Plate), The “Market Bowl” (Vegan)
It’s a big yellow school bus! No, not quite. It’s actually JJ’s Trucketeria, the first food truck to open in the South Hill neighbourhood last year. I consider it the underdog of food trucks. It is one of the few food trucks outside of the downtown core so it does not receive as much attention, but they do a great job. They move around on occasion, so you can catch them downtown or at the local Farmers Market.
I was invited to try them during the Farmer’s Market February Food Truck Fest and the public voted them “Best of the New Recruits” and “Best Market Menu Item” for their Market Bowl. There were only two awards and they won them both. It was a victory, especially since they were competing against Pig on the Street, Slavic Rolls, Old Country Pierogi Mobile Food Truck, ChiliTank, Crêperie La Bohème, Le Tigre Cuisine, Yolk’s Breakfast, Blue Smoke BBQ, Eli’s Serious Sausage, Taser Grilled Cheese, The Kaboom Box, Transylvania Fresh, Ze Bite, Feastro – The Rolling Bistro, and Vij’s Railway Express.
Owner and chef Jordan Oregas was raised in East Vancouver. He has always loved food, but after high school he found a job painting cars. It wasn’t until after that he realized his career path was with food and he decided to pursue a career in cooking. After 10 years as a chef in restaurants he followed his dream and opened a food truck with the help of his wife Emma. He believes the quality of food will represent his passion.
Jordan didn’t want to only cook one type of cuisine, so his menu is kind of a “hodgepodge”. Those menus don’t normally appeal to me because I tend to think “if it offers everything, it will be good at nothing”, but this was an exception. He doesn’t really offer an “Asian fusion” menu, but it is a mix of Asian comfort food and the recipes are his own. He was inspired by the ethnic and affordable mom and pop eateries in the South Hill area (his primary location). Therefore his menu draws from Filipino (his native), Vietnamese, Indian and other Asian flavours. He puts an emphasis on using local and seasonal ingredients where possible which makes it stand out from typical Asian mom and pop restaurants serving the same thing.
The menu might not look as exciting or creative as some of the other food trucks, but give it a chance. It is typical Asian comfort food that reminds you of “(Asian) mom’s home cooking”, and their potions are very generous. If you’re familiar with the many Asian restaurants in Metro Vancouver serving similar food than you might not be as excited for this, but JJ’s Trucketeria uses good quality ingredients. All sauces and marinades are made from scratch and it is one of the most budget friendly food trucks offering great value in Vancouver.
On the table:
- Toasted pandesal bun topped with coleslaw and your choice of our signature grilled meats: Filipino BBQ pork, Mumbai curry chicken, or grilled lemon grass chicken $5. Add a fried egg for $.50.
- I wish I saw that fried egg part before I ordered because I would have totally added it!
- A slider for $5 doesn’t sound like a heck of a deal until you see it! This slider was overflowing with delicious meat!
- These mini sandwiches come in a pandesal bun, a classic Filipino egg bread roll that is soft and a bit sweet – hence the name “Panwich”.
- The bread is chewy, soft and tender and lightly grilled.
- It was generously filled with savoury, salty, and mildly spicy Mumbai chicken.
- The Mumbai chicken actually tasted more Asian than Indian to me, but it was tender, moist, and delicious regardless.
- It was marinated (likely overnight) in a coconut milk and tomato paste based curry that was reminiscent of red Thai curry.
- It could be too salty for some, but I have a high tolerance for salt so it was fine for me.
- The chicken thigh is a bit fatty with some chicken skin still attached, but it wasn’t chewy and gelatinous or super thick.
- I wouldn’t mind a little more skin trimmed, if not just crisped up on the flat top grill. Yes, fat is flavour, but too much can be overwhelming.
- There was a crunchy tangy cabbage slaw underneath that tasted a bit sweet.
- It was made with mayo, lemon juice and a touch of honey.
- It was a simple cole slaw and I would have liked it pickled, but they kept it quite plain because it went with everything.
- It was a very messy sandwich, but also very delicious and I would order it again.
- I ended up trying all their meats and I liked the Filipino BBQ pork best, followed by the Mumbai curry chicken and then the lemon grass chicken.
- Garlic fried rice, cole slaw, fried egg and your choice of: Filipino BBQ pork, Mumbai curry chicken, or grilled lemon grass chicken $7
- I tried this with the Filipino BBQ pork, which was my favourite of their meats although the others were good too.
- This was typical Asian comfort food and the portion was enough for two.
- The rice was pan fried on the flat top so it was nice and chewy with lots of garlicky flavour infused throughout.
- The Filipino BBQ pork was marinated in a sweet and savoury soy based sauce that was very mildly spicy.
- It was slightly tangy from some lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce, but it was on the sweeter side.
- It tasted like Teriyaki sauce meets sweet Korean Bulgogi sauce.
- It was likely marinated overnight for maximum flavour and it helped tenderize the meat.
- The pork was quite fatty with some chewy parts, but most of it was fine.
- The cut of pork wasn’t the best, but the flavour is there and there was a lot!
- The slightly sweet and tangy cole slaw was a bit gloppy with the mayo and it was the same one served in the Panwich.
- I wouldn’t mind a different vegetable side since it was a bit random with the rice, and this was just a starch switch up from the Panwich.
- It would be great to have an organic egg, but for $7 I’m not going to expect it and it was excellent value.
I also got to sample the grilled lemongrass chicken, but I enjoyed the other two meats more. This was still good, but the flavours were not as intense or memorable. The chicken thigh was again a bit fatty, but tender, moist, well marinated and grilled. I could use more lemongrass flavour and it was reminiscent of Vietnamese lemongrass chicken.
- Showcasing the endless hodge podge of great in season vegetables. JJ’s endless varieties are inspired by local produce stands and farmers markets. It is our way of showcasing that healthy and of course tasty eats are for everybody. Our staple components: brown rice, bean of the week, fresh herbs, carrots, chickpeas, and our heart warming “JJ’s” sauce.
- This “Market Bowl” features: turnips, leeks, carrots, cabbage, caramelized onions and our warm market sauce. $5
- I wasn’t expecting to love this so much, but I did. It was excellent and great value.
- It was chewy brown rice piled with a hearty vegetarian stew of market veggies which change on a daily/weekly basis.
- The carrots were still a bit crunchy, but the quality was great and the other veggies were cooked until tender.
- The sauce tasted like it was made with rich coconut milk, but it was actually almond butter (puréed almonds).
- It was creamy, smooth, rich and very nutty and made from puréed chickpeas and almonds.
- It was an Indian spiced vegan curry sauce, but it was very mildly spicy if at all.
- I would have loved some actual whole toasted almonds on top for crunch and texture, but it was still excellent as is.
- For a food truck that seems to embrace meats, this vegetarian and vegan “Market Bowl” was a pleasant surprise. It is one that even carnivores can appreciate.
- This was also the winning dish voted by the public as “Best Market Menu Item” at the Vancouver Farmers Markets.