Food trucks in L.A are a regular sight, and personally, I am a huge fan of sampling out new food trucks as much as I can (the sight of a new truck makes me hungry). Luckily, I happen to live in a neighborhood where many trucks regularly make stops.
However, there is one truck that has always eluded me in the past; the Mandoline Grill truck. Word on the street has it that this red truck serves the best Vietnamese food in L.A.
Last Monday, as I was pondering where to have lunch, I caught a red truck out of the corner of my eye and was pleasantly surprised to see the Mandoline Grill logo on the side.
Mong Skillman started Mandoline Grill in February 2010. I also overheard from other guests that Skillman’s mother is a renowned chef in Honolulu Hawaii where she owns and runs Song Huong Restaurant.
Mandoline’s menu features both traditional and vegan-friendly Vietnamese delicacies. Interestingly, the recipes at Mandoline Grill are from Skillman’s mother.
Keen to finally get a first-hand experience of this restaurant I have heard so much about, I ordered a Grilled Beef Banh Mi ($6). Another interesting thing to note is that while Banh Mi sandwiches are considered a classic Vietnamese recipe, they are the result of interaction between French and Vietnamese cultures.
My banh mi sandwich consisted of some fresh and crunch vegetables and a very tender grilled beef. As a matter of fact, the beef reminded me of Kalbi (Korean barbecued short ribs).
As for the bread (baguette bread with pickled daikon and carrot), I must admit it was simply amazing. I could feel it melting in my mouth. Besides that, it was crunchy on the outside (because of the daikon and carrot) but surprisingly soft on the inside.
Having eaten lots of delicious sandwiches, Mandoline’s beef banh mi sandwich was up there among the best of them. I must also mention that $6 for such a sizeable and delicious sandwich is a pocket-friendly price.
I am used to having heavy meals but I happened to have skipped breakfast, and so I decided to order something else – to compensate for the missed breakfast. However, I didn’t want to spend much, so I ordered Crispy Spring Rolls for $2.
I will admit I was skeptical about the order (given how oily most spring rolls normally are), but Mandoline Grill proved me wrong. The rolls were light and very crunchy. Best of all, they weren’t too oily, and I could even taste the flavorful filling. The rolls also come with a very delicious sauce that compliments them perfectly.
Other items available on the menu include nachos (grilled pork with mints, cilantro, and sriracha) and tacos too.
I am glad I saw the Mandoline Grill truck when I did. The quality of my lunch from Mandoline Grill was simply amazing remarkable.
In truth, Vietnamese cuisine has earned itself a permanent spot among my best cuisines. When I come here next time (which is soon), I intend on having one or even two of their rice bowls. I also have to try out the grilled pork banh mi.