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It’s Still Very, Very Hard to Make it as a Food Truck in LA

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Plus a vegan Cajun restaurant in the works, and more

Shao Kao BBQ
Lucas Peterson
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Food truck trials and tribulations

It seems to be the end of the line (at least in food truck form) for Shao Kao BBQ, the high-minded charcoal-grilling truck that parked for a while near USC. Chef/owner Luther Chen is selling off the rig over at Roaming Hunger, and says on Instagram that his days running the truck are over, though the concept could live on elsewhere.

The loss of Shao Kao pinpoints just how hard it still is to make a food truck viable in Los Angeles. If anything, following the initial boom from years ago, it’s only gotten more complicated as low-overhead, low-resource trucks scour for the same customers, often in predetermined areas like weekend flea markets and festivals. Of course one could go the lonchero route and just park in the same spot night after night, hoping to catch on with a local audience, but there’s no guarantee of success, stability, or an engaged fan base. In the end it’s a struggle that thousands of hardworking folks must face every day — and one that you can face too, apparently, if you feel like buying the Shao Kao truck.

How much coffee is too much coffee?

There’s seemingly no end to the caffeine wave crashing in Los Angeles at the moment, though it seems like at some point it’s going to get harder and harder for new places to stay afloat. That hasn’t kept the market from growing though, as evidenced by Melrose newcomer Basal, which is under construction just east of La Brea.

#basal #design #melroseavenue #coffeebar #espresso #losangeles

A photo posted by @basal_la on

The Smoking Korean

Speaking of food trucks, here comes a new one: The Smoking Korean, a burger truck that sources their beef from northern California. Though the menu and full details are still in the works, this rig has the backing of the Revolutionario team, and is planning a launch early-ish next year.

Peking duck at Little Fatty

Got no plans for New Years? You could do worse than an evening spent inside Little Fatty in Mar Vista, dropping $25 for half a roasted Peking duck. Grab some extra dishes, a few friends, and a drink, and you’ve got yourself a night.

Vegan Cajun in North Hollywood

Coming next year is Cali Cajun, a down-south option making its way to Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood. The all-vegan option lands at 12906 Victory Blvd. sometime in late January, with more info to be found here.

Mainland is in the works

Looks like things are coming along at Mainland Poke in Santa Monica. The place is still in construction mode, but signage is up and neighbors are already trying to keep between the cracks to check on the status of the place.