The Los Angeles-based food truck Komodo Truck made it to number 71 on our list of 101 Best Food Trucks in America 2013. The truck has gained fame and a following while serving a menu aimed at highlighting LA’s diversity with Asian-Mexican fusion burritos.
We caught up with the truck after the release of our list to learn more about their story and future plans.
When did you launch your truck?
We launched in late 2009.
What was the inspiration for going into this business?
Chef Erwin was a fine dining chef at Hotel Bel Air for years and the hotel went on a renovation hiatus and furloughed everyone. Originally, chef Erwin wanted to do a hot dog cart that we would wheel out in the middle of the night after concerts. He had love for late-night snacks, growing up in East LA and eating delicious tortas and tacos at night. After much investigating, he discovered that going into a food truck business was pretty affordable during the recession (when most people are terrified of starting a business). He gathered a few partners and friends to back his idea of fusing good restaurant-style dishes into an approachable, affordable, accessible format and bringing them to the streets. There it was — Komodo was born. His inspiration was all about fusing his Southeast Asian background of home cooking, his classical French training, and his past work experience dabbling in coastal California cuisine. The menu is truly reflective of a melting pot of idea that is Los Angeles.
What's the story behind the origin of your truck's name?
Chef Erwin's dad grew up near the Komodo island. The Komodo dragons are an endangered species existing in Indonesia. Chef Erwin wanted to honor his heritage by naming the truck Komodo. The Komodo dragon is truly a suitable mascot for our business. As a lizard, it is large, fast-moving, and incredibly unique. They are essentially blind, possess poor hearing, and heavily rely on their tongues to hunt and get around their environment. Their sense of taste is their arsenal for survival, the compass to their everyday.
How did you come up with your truck's design? Is there a designer you'd like to give a shout-out to?
It was truly a collaborative effort between the partners. We wanted to keep the truck simple, sleek. At the time, all of the loncheras were white and we wanted something stark, graphic, and effortless. Hence the simplicity of our truck design; we wanted it to crossover to appeal to many different types of clienteles, whether super high-end or street food patrons.
Does your truck have a vanity license plate? And if so, what does it say?